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Preventing Head Lice

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When you receive notice that head lice have been detected at school, you want to keep the lice from adhering themselves or their eggs to the hair shaft. This is a guide about preventing head lice.


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February 18, 20170 found this helpful


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It requires a lot of work to get rid of head lice, so prevention is vital. This page explores the idea of using hairspray for lice prevention.


July 27, 2010

If you let your kids use those headphones at media centers or music stores, it is the same as sharing a comb with all the people who have used it before. Lice can climb into their hair this way.

Also, here are tons of natural and nontoxic, tried and true tips on lice treatment and prevention. Some of these I have never heard of. Here is the link:

There are a lot of good ideas here on lice prevention.

By Robyn Fed from Hampton TN

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July 29, 20100 found this helpful

Robin, this is very timely advice. Kids will be starting back to school any day now in many areas. I only wish I'd had this kind of reminder when my kids were young and we were fighting the "lice battle!"

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By 2 found this helpful
September 22, 2011

I had a terrible time with lice when my son first started school, they were so bad I had to cut his hair to a quarter inch long! These three tips worked to prevent them.

  1. Wash your children's hair every night. Lice need approximately 24 hours to feed and lay eggs. This washes them out and you never get the eggs. Yes, I know children hate to wash their hair, but they hate lice treatments even more.

  2. Use some kind of hair product on your children's hair. I used mousse and hairspray and they both work. Any kind works, I just used the dollar store ones. If you put it into wet hair it won't get stiff. Just make sure that the hair is fully coated. It takes a lot less product than you might think. This works to keep the lice from adhering themselves or their eggs to the hair shaft.


  3. In winter, when you get the notices from school that lice have been found, have your children put their outerwear into the dryer for about 10 minutes every day after school.

I did all three of these things and my children never had lice after that first year.

Source: My son's K-4 school nurse.

By Jen from Lancaster, PA

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September 22, 20110 found this helpful

Good advice. Also if they do get it use hair dye. It beats all the high priced stuff on the market and kills them. I raised 5 children and this was my best item to solve the problem. Also folks forget to clean their bedding and furniture where they can spread from one person to another rapidly. Each time you find a single lice you have got to clean everything until the lice are gone.


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June 30, 2011

Children's hair can easily transfer lice when they are sitting close together, on rides such as carnival rides, such as roller coasters. Going through the hair with a lice comb should take care of any potential problems.

Metal nit combs and long toothed lice combs are best. The plastic ones do not work as well. Putting conditioner on hair before slows them down and lets you see them better.

By Robyn from Tri-Cities, TN

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

March 14, 20070 found this helpful

When a child gets head lice often, what can I do?

Sharon from Bolivar, MO

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 23, 20070 found this helpful

I had the same problem for 3 1/2 months last year. It was a complete headache. I just kept taking out the eggs and nits. Because you can't keep using lice shampoo. It's not healthy. Also there is an easy home remedy, which actually works very well. Mix vegetable oil & vinegar together. 1/2 & 1/2.

You don't need very much to cover hair. Then you put some type of plastic cap over the head for 2 hours, then rinse and wash with shampoo only...NO conditioner.

Good Luck with that!

I know exactly how you feel.

leeb67 AT

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March 26, 20070 found this helpful

3 times my child has had this stuff this year! I tell the school, but they do nothing! What should I do? This is killing my wallet and tiring me and my daughter out severely! Also why am I not catching it from her? I'm greatful for this! But it makes no since! What kind of shampoo has this tea tree oil in it or where can you buy it?

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By guest (Guest Post)
July 8, 20070 found this helpful

Does Spray kill the eggs? Like on a couch or in a car. If not how the heck to you treat a carpet, couch or car? HElP

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June 21, 20160 found this helpful

Amber listerine kills live lice and vinegar softens nits so they can be removed more easily. You can buy tea tree oil at any hair product supply store I use it as a preventative by using water and oils in a spray bottle after they shower. You can also add drops to their conditioner. This is also what's in the lice treatment shampoos. So much more inexpensive. You can add coconut and or lavender oil too.

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By 0 found this helpful
March 19, 2008

My boyfriend has a two year old daughter he gets on weekends and he brings her over to my house with my two young children. Every time he brings his daughter back to her mother, her mother claims she has head lice. My boyfriends ex wife also claims it's only the nits that she comes home with, but my kids have never had head lice and neither have I or my boyfriend. Plus my daughter gets checked at school every week.

My boyfriend's daughter has also in the past several months come in contact with other children and his ex wife has still said that the every other weekend he does have her, she calls and tells him that his daughter has head lice. So, is possible for only one child to get nits in her hair when no one else in the household or any one who has come in contact with his two year old daughter has it?

Sunnie from New Orleans, LA

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March 22, 20080 found this helpful

Kids at my sons school got that all the time so as a preventive measure my mother would give my son a weekly treatment of RID to help keep him from getting it too.He never once had head lice.

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June 5, 20080 found this helpful

Years ago head lice were spreading through my kids' school. My daughter caught them but my son didn't, and neither did I even though I worked in my daughter's classroom as a teaching assistant every day. It took a lot of trying to totally eradicate them, and in the meantime I kept her in head scarves when she was at school (but not at home). My husband, son, and I never got them. So it definitely is possible for one family member to have them and not the others. But in your case I think there's something else going on - either the child has something else and not lice, or the ex is just making it up to make trouble. If the child supposedly has nits (eggs), she would also have whatever laid the nits. If there is something in her hair that looks like nits, it could just be flaking from dry scalp. Maybe it's whatever shampoo she uses when she's with her father.

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 17, 20080 found this helpful

Honey, I know how you feel. I am going through this exact same thing as we speak. My daughter started scratching her head and when we checked it out, she had the nits. We treated her immediately and sprayed down all the furniture and bedding.

I watch kids all day long, so we started checking everyones heads. My daughter had even just recently slept over at the house of one of the girls that I watch.

Suprisingly, no one else had any nits.

I washed all the linens from the beds and put all the stuffed animals in the dryer for 30 minutes on high heat and everything was fine.

Your problem is a little different though. I had the same problem with my boyfriends ex years ago. He always claimed that if the children had head lice then it was her fault. It was actually a mixture of both of our faults.

If the child comes to you and they have nits and you do a treatment and send her bacvk to the mother, it will not do any good.

The linen, stuffed animals and upholstery need to be treated in both homes as well. If you do a treatment on the child and the mother does not wash all the linens in hot water and put any stuffed animals in the dryer for 30 minutes on high heast, then the infestation will reoccur.

As far as the treatments like RID, you can only do them so many times. I would reccomend the mayo treatment for a child that age. You can find the mayonnaise treatment on any website about head lice. It would be cheaper and safer for a 2 year old.

Hope this helps. Oh, by the way. I have 7 kids in my house pretty much all the time, and only 1 had the head lice.

God Bless.

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August 7, 20080 found this helpful

I know this was posted a while ago, but I wanted to give my 2 cents.

First, if you are a lice-free web surfer who is reading this, there is an entry below me written by a mother who used RID on her child to PREVENT him from getting lice? Don't do it. You do NOT use a product that fights an infection when the person does not have an infection. Lice are becoming resistant to RID. Why help speed it along? Plus, they are pesticides. Why subject the person (in most cases, a CHILD) to pesticides when they don't need it? Just use the essential oil shampoo repellent method like tea tree oil.

*sigh* There is a reason why most anti-infection medications are prescription-only.

Back to the original question:

I agree with the posters who said you need to clean BOTH homes and make sure everyone is checked and treated if necessary. Anyone who doesn't have lice should still use the repellent methods.

I can't see how her head would be swarming with lice after one weekend. Maybe the mother is trying to use the lice excuse to get back at you two. Can you take the child to the doctor before returning her to her mother so that the doctor can confirm she doesn't have lice? Can't hurt to have proper documentation so she doesn't try to claim neglect or something silly later on. Good luck!

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July 10, 20120 found this helpful

My daughter's friend was at our house playing for several hours. Later that night her mom called to tell us that she found out she has lice. I have checked all of our heads thoroughly several times and washed, cleaned, and vacuumed the entire house. I bagged up any toy that she could have even came in contact with. The pediatrician said it could show up for a couple of weeks. Do I need to keep my daughter from activities and other friends just because she was exposed? I feel like I'm just punishing her for no reason.

By Jen R.

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July 12, 20120 found this helpful

The latest Lice info is really not to worry about it. Used to be kids with lice are sent home from school, now they are not. Your daughter should be fine, let her play, keep checking for lice and relax. I supervised a group home for years and we had 12 girls, every now an then a girl would come who had lice. We treated her and bagged up stuffed animals for a few days. We NEVER had the lice spread to the other girls even though they lived in the same house and shared bedrooms. We did a couple of times get girls with resistant lice who were treated eventually with Malathion (a really strong chemical). Even those girls' lice never spread to the others and these girls had their lice for months.

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July 12, 20120 found this helpful

Jen, I work in daycare who has a summer program for school age kids and we have been going through this. There is a shampoo out now that will prevent kids from getting lice if exposed to it. I would go get it just to be safe. Also make sure everything is washed in hot water this information was giving to us from a doctor.Tigertame4 I don't know where you are at but here kids are sent home when they are discovered with lice. After they have been treated they can come back. We have never had head lice to spread to other kids until this year. First time in almost 18 years that we have had several girls come down with head lice, not at the same time but week or more apart from each other.

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July 12, 20120 found this helpful

Jen wash everything in hot water. I work in a daycare and we have a summer program for school age kids and we are going through this now. There is a shampoo out now that can be used to prevent lice on kids who have been around someone who has head lice. I would go get it and use it. First time in almost 18 years that we have had several girls get lice. We have not had it much in the past but the few cases we did only one child would have it.

Tigertame4 I don't know were you live but here kids are sent home from school if they have head lice but may return when they have been treated. Head lice is just a pain because you have to treat everything that that child has come in contact with including carpet. Carpets if child has laid on them needs to be steam cleaned! Stuffed animals can be put in dark bags and put in a dark room for 24 hours if you can't wash them.

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July 16, 20120 found this helpful

If her friend has/had head lice just keep your daughter from playing/seeing her till she get rid of them. Don't treat her like its her fault that her friend has nits couse its not and theres nothing you can do.

Just wash all the bed linning each day and replace them each day. Turn over mattress and vacum them every second day. Dose your heads in stink free, grease free nit stuff and send them on there way. Check heads before they go to school, after and before they go to bed and dose when you check. Vaccuum all the time, wash toys after there finish with them and be calm. If they are going to get them there going to get them and it dosent matter how you try to stop them it aint going to work so stop trying.

Just relax.

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By 0 found this helpful
July 1, 2009

Can you get head lice from swimming pools?

By going_nuts from TX

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July 2, 20090 found this helpful

Probably not. When head lice are deprived of oxygen, as when they are in water, they cling to the hair shaft and their system shuts down. They do not let go and float to someone else's hair.

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July 3, 20090 found this helpful

If someone get head lice there, it was more likely from the close contact with others. Lying on a towel at poolside with heads close by, or from towels, clothing being thrown in a pile together, or near each other.

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July 14, 20090 found this helpful

The most common way to get head lice is direct head to head contact, as when little girls with long hair are playing together. Lice can also be on headgear, and travel from one person to another when things such as combs or caps are shared, or stored in really close contact. Head lice prefer clean hair, and are not a reflection on your personal cleanliness any more than getting bit by a mosquito is.

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By 0 found this helpful
September 18, 2009

Where do head lice originate?

By Lisashom2 from Vista, CA

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September 22, 20090 found this helpful

http://www.dhpe  infect/lice.html

http://cipm.ncs  8/lice/lice3.htm

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

September 18, 20090 found this helpful

Children will soon be starting back to school and unfortunately head lice are a fact of life. But I learned that putting hair conditioner (the cheaper the better) in the hair every night prevents the critters from laying their eggs, they prefer clean hair. So hair conditioner every night and wash it out in the morning and you should keep the cooties at bay.

By Cheaperthancheap from Boston, MA


Hair Lice Prevention

My hairdresser said to put a little bit of gel or hairspray in my children's hair everyday, because the lice can't "breathe" because of the stickiness of the products. Since I have been doing this, we haven't had any problems. (08/01/2006)

By buffalogal95

Hair Lice Prevention

A good trick is tea-tree oil. Put some in a water spray bottle with the water, and spray it in each morning when doing your childrens' hair. I used to work in an outback community where they were on all the kids. They would cuddle me and sit all over me, play with my hair. The spray stopped me getting them. It also made me wonder about the "nits only like clean hair" theory. I washed my hair with conditioner every morning, and didn't get them. Yet the Aboriginal kids all had them, and they didn't wash their hair at all. (08/02/2006)

By katvn

Denorex Shampoo!

When our kids were in school (we now homeschool and don't have lice problems any more) we washed their hair daily with Denorex whenever we got the note from school saying someone had lice. Denorex extra-strength contains coal tar, an old-time remedy for lice. Apply to hair as a normal shampoo, let sit for ten minutes, then rinse and style as normal. The coal tar kills any lice and breaks the laying cycle of the eggs (nits). It is also much safer for your kids than that icky pesticide shampoo, which can be absorbed through the skin. (08/02/2006)

By Susabelle

Hair Lice Prevention

Each morning before school spray Listerine water and comb or brush hair. Take spray bottle, fill with water and a couple caps of Listerine. You cannot smell Listerine after it dries, but the lice can.

By Autumn

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