Parenting, Toddler & Preschool

Lice Ewww It’s That Time

Lice. At your school. And you got a note sent home.


There, we said it.

Every parent’s fear.




It’s ok. We promise.


We did the research for you. Got the willies, but got the facts, too. We’ve got your options covered. From the heavy artillery to organic solutions.


There is an outbreak in town, perhaps an epidemic, perhaps I exaggerate. But lice are on the loose and I’m freaked. Not so much about lice stigma. If you knew me better you’d know that doesn’t concern me. We’re all grown ups here and should know that lice can and will get every child – so if you DON’T get lice, well that just might mean your kid is homeschooled. My problem is, and this my friends and husband can attest to, is I’m inherently lazy.  And lice, lice my friends, they are not for the lazy. They are WORK.

So, I’m quickly learning, in preparation, how to fight the lice. How to conquer the lice. How to make them beg for licey mercy. I’m going to fight the louse and win. I am ready- because I know its just a matter of time… the outbreak has reached my school- and I’m circling the wagons as we speak.

So, here are some products from local moms who are currently in the trenches, and who have found ways to fight and win the battle- but here’s the great part. These tips will make it: cheaper, less toxic, and faster than ever. Take that you little bastards.


These first two I’m doing- as preventative measure (crossing fingers) because there is an outbreak at our school. The third I will do if we ever get lice. I like that it’s not a harsh chemical, its not expensive, and it’s easy.

Robi comb- think outdoor bug zapper marries a comb, and there you have it. It’s about $25 and avail at Rite Aid, CVS and Walgreens. A good regular check: run it through hair before and after school during those ‘outbreak’ times. It will ‘bzz’ through the hair. If it stops bzzing, that means it found and killed a louse.  Finds and kills lice without harsh chemicals. Also, a money saver.

Quit Nits Preventative Spray– Completely organic (it uses eucalyptus oil as main ingredient), this spray is meant to prevent lice from walking (lice don’t ‘jump’) onto your child’s hair. It last approx 8 hours, so a good thing to spray in before school.
Cetaphil treatment – (Nuvo for head Lice) I
nfo from this website is specific in saying it cannot be relied upon for medical or health decisions and to consult your physician, but we have moms tell us they swear by it. Basically, you coat your child’s head with standard Cetaphil cleanser, comb most of it out, and then blow it dry. It coats any lice with a ‘shrink wrap’ effect and essentially suffocates them. The benefit? It is not expensive, and it is not a harsh pesticide/insecticide. Read down the web page and you’ll see instructions, FAQs and more.

Neon Nit Spray- Cool! Nits can be VERY hard to find/see. But spray this on and they’ll ‘light’ up in pink or white (optic orange coming soon). It is non toxic, washes out with any shampoo, and can be used with any lice removal treatment. It almost makes it sound fun. Almost. (update- user reviews do warn that its harder to use on long hair (naturally) and for blondes, well, it may take more than wash to get the neon pink out!) .

Rid or NIX– probably the treatments you’ve heard of. Shampoo, condition, comb out lice and nits (their eggs). Spray down bedding etc. RID uses Pyrethrum (natural insecticide extracted from the chrysanthemum flower ). NIX uses Pyrethroid (synthetic insecticide) . These treatments are effective yes, but are more costly, and are insecticides, which you may object to. or

Essential oils and foam-

 Whole Foods has a lice and nit removal foam. It is non toxic, but should be used in conjunction, not as only treatment.  Search and destroy nits by hand, and try this oil shampoo combination after nit removal and foam treatment
you can try a combination (and we’ve heard everything form a few drops to a ton) of coconut oil and tea tree oil. Leave it on, wrap head in shower cap overnight, shampoo in the morning.  Always check and remove nits…

Some will say you need to wash bedding ( pillowcases etc) in hot water and then dry on high- very labor intensive. We’ve heard that 10 minutes in the dryer alone- on high heat- is more than sufficient.
Now here is an option, that in face of being completely overwhelmed, or you simply don’t want to deal with lice, will help. A service that will come to your home- completely discreet and confidential, and remove the lice for you. Yes- you heard that right. Nitpicking in NOLA will come to you and handle
And finally, some facts:

Adult head lice that are off of their human hosts will generally not survive for more than 24 hours.  The National Pediculosis Association ( is the most up-to-date on lice information.

They are harmless and, unlike fleas, they harbor no disease.

They can’t jump or hop from head to head, only walk or run. So direct contact is needed.

Nits ( lice eggs) are laid and attached firmly to the hair shaft approx 1 cm from the scalp. They often are mistaken for dandruff. They take 8-9 days to hatch.

Lice can move very quickly and rely on human blood for survival.

About 80% of schools have at least one outbreak per year.

They can hold their breath (so nice try, trying to drown them).

Weekly re-treatment is necessary to stop the life cycle.  3 weeks is recommended.

Personal hygiene has nothing to do with getting lice.

Head lice are most often transmitted with head to head contact. They can be transmitted through clothing, etc- but its uncommon.

For more information you can visit the CDC:





  As the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) puts it in a clinical report on head lice released in July 2010, “Herculean cleaning measures are not beneficial.” So, while scrubbing the house from top to bottom and boiling the bedding may make them feel heroic, it won’t help get rid of an infestation.  I recommend that their efforts should be on delousing the child and not cleaning the entire house.  Parents should spend 80/85% of their time combing/treating and 15/20% on cleaning. 


   When parents receive the “lice notes” from school they should be proactive and check their child’s hair.  Preferably after a shower/bath and then comb through the child’s hair while wet with a METAL lice comb.  Lice go into a state of suspended animation when wet and remain firmly attached to the hair shaft.  This makes them easier to catch.





( my disclaimer- I’ve provided several websites to help you in your quest for knowledge. This article is not meant to be used as medical advise, consult a physician, especially when treating young children or if you’re pregnant)

By Ann Bower Herren

PLEASE comment below if you have anything to add- that way, future readers will benefit from our shared knowledge!

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