There it was, the two words that I had been dreading since my daughter started school: HEAD LICE. Big, bold and sent home in a letter of notification that she had squeezed into her tiny little zip-up dress pocket. My daughter had head lice.
I remember when I was a kid and was sent home a number of times from primary school after it was discovered in the assembly line that I had head lice. The teacher who was marching up and down the rows of fidgety kids lightly tapped me on the shoulder, motioned for me to follow her, and told me that I had bugs in my hair and had to go home. I was humiliated and horrified, in equal measures.
Since becoming a mum myself, my memories of these itchy little buggers have come flowing right back. But what I’ve learnt is how not to hit the panic button – in my daughter’s latest head lice encounter, I simply looked at the situation at hand and rolled out my plan of attack.
The process, which I now swear by, went a little like this.
Step one: Get educated.
I consulted the experts. I went to the website of the best head lice busters I know, MOOV, and learned the following about head lice:
- Head lice is super common among children. In fact, 50 percent of Australians are affected by head lice in their lifetime.
- Although it may feel like a task ahead, it’s easily treated and there are many great pharmacy products available.
- One treatment is not enough! You need to treat the hair THREE times to effectively kill all lice and their eggs.
- Prevention is better than a cure - MOOV has a preventative spray to protect your children when they’re back in the playground (the MOOV Defence Spray).
- The truth is, head lice won’t make you or anyone else sick. They’re not deadly or infectious, they’re just uncomfortable.
Step two: Pre-treatment prep.
OK, I might've gone a bit overboard here. I washed all linen, hats and other items that could've come into contact with an infected head. I felt better in myself knowing that she would have new sheets and pillowcase and that her hat, if it accidentally ended up on someone else’s head at school, wouldn’t share the itches and scratches.
Until I found out that lice doesn't spread through pillowcases...so I didn't have to bother with all of that. Can't blame a mama for trying!
Step three: Apply treatment one.
If there is one time that I am a huge advocate for planting my daughter smack-bang in front of the TV, it is when I am treating her for head lice. I feel no shame about this whatsoever, I would much rather her be singing along with Barbie than her combing her fingers through the cool, wet solution that eases the itchiness on her scalp.
Treatment was easy. After wrapping her small shoulders in an old towel and clipping with a peg, I applied the MOOV Head Lice Solution (it's clinically proven and uses essential oils) by following the clear and easy instructions on the pack.
Once all covered, I secured her long hair in a little bulldog clip so as to keep it off her face and out of her mouth. And once done, I washed out as per the directions.
Step four: Get combing.
Two or three days after the first treatment, I used a steel head lice comb with conditioner to comb out any dead lice and eggs. I knew that eggs that survived the first treatment would soon hatch, so combing before the next treatment just allowed me to remove some of them before they decided to hatch and start laying new eggs.
I combed while she was again sitting on her little chair, however, you could probably do it while you’re both in the shower too. If you decide to do it outside of the shower, just be sure to keep some tissues or towel next to you so you can easily wipe the lice and eggs on it and dispose of them easily.
Step five: Apply treatment two, comb again.
Seven days after the initial treatment, I did it all again. My daughter was happy to go through the process for the second time as she knew it meant she could have a little screen time - and I was OK with it. Funnily enough, she instructed me through the process, telling me what to get and what to do next! Who would have thought that head lice treatment could be such a wonderful bonding exercise?
I also combed again - not only were there some dead lice present, but it gave me peace of mind that I was assisting in the eradication process. My daughter’s hair was also silky smooth after doing it, making it easier to brush in the coming days.
Step six: Third and final treatment, two weeks later.
Another seven days after the second treatment, we did it one more time. My daughter's scratching had subsided. Her previously red and bite-riddled neck had eased and her scalp looked healthy and white.
Step seven: Her turn to comb.
My daughter took a massive liking to the little head lice comb, so she did the final comb with some conditioner in the shower while I supervised. She proudly announced that "there aren’t any bugs mum" and that her hair felt nice.
Now, after the treatment was successful, I am all about defence. And not just for my daughter but for the whole family. That's where MOOV's Defence Spray came in - we just sprayed onto our hair when dry (as per the instructions), and it gave us eight hours of head lice protection. This is a huge winner when your kids are in school. And the best thing? It's low irritant and has no odour, so no-one will would know that we'd applied it.
I was anticipating it to be a big deal, but I have come to learn that head lice is in fact super common and really easy to treat. It’s nice and quick for the kids - and the biggest plus for mums is that the kids can go straight back to school after treatment. Winning!
Haven't answered all your questions about handling head lice? MOOV's Head Lice Education facts and myths section of their website is helpful.
What's your head lice experience? Give us a scratch in the comments below.
This content was created with thanks to our brand partner MOOV Head Lice.
Always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist please contact your healthcare professional.
Looking for Defence against Head Lice?
MOOV Head Lice Defence Spray is a leave in conditioner, sprayed onto children’s hair daily for proven 8 hour protection against head lice.
Visit moov.com.au for more information on the head lice life cycle, the best products to use for your family, handy treatment tips and more.