For the good part of a decade I’ve had to deal with head lice.
The kids scream. I scream… and I want those pesky lice to scream.
In the past I’ve gotten them under control with conditioner, tried most over the counter treatments, some worked some didn’t. I feel like I’m deserving of a university doctorate in head lice considering the amount of time I’ve spent studying them at close range.
I can tell you with absolute certainty head lice love to hide behind the ears and at the back of the neck but without a human host they cannot survive more than 48 hours.
Female lice lay their eggs close to the scalp where they remain firmly stuck to the base of the hair shaft until they hatch a week or so later. Often nits are mistaken for dandruff but if you run your finger along your hair a nit will often feel like a little knot on a piece of string.
Parents need to be prepared by regularly checking their child’s head for lice as only about 30 percent of people actually itch their head so sometimes it’s not obvious.
But when I get them in my long curly hair... it’s nightmare central. Dad’s try to help but let’s be honest a quick comb through and the she’ll be right mate attitude doesn’t cut it and it’s not like I can see where the lice are crawling around on my head so I can’t get them out easily myself and the kids are too grossed out to want to help.
LISTEN: If you have a nanny, is it appropriate to ask them to deal with nits, or is that job solely a parent’s? We discuss, on our podcast for imperfect parents (post continues after audio...)
It’s never ending. Just when you think you’re in the clear they’re back again and with children taking selfies and crowding around mobiles to watch YouTube that’s when head lice crawl on to someone else’s head and to the next person.
They’re getting strong too. Some have built up a resistance to chemicals and with school back they are spreading quickly.
But I have found my saviour: a new heat treatment which takes between 30-60 minutes depending on the hair type and length. There are no chemicals or pesticides, it is basically warm air at a temperature of 59.1 degrees blown onto the hair through a unique applicator, dehydrates the eggs so they can’t hatch and they are simply combed out.
Globally this technology is used in over 38 countries from the UK to the West Indies and everywhere in between but it’s only just found its way to Australia through Lice Clinics Australia.
Michael Lawless, the Managing Director of Lice Clinics Australia says it’s important parents get educated about head lice – for example he says they don’t jump like many parents would believe, they need two heads of hair together to climb from one person to the next.
He urges parents to check their child’s hair weekly to catch any sign of head lice early, encourage girls to wear their hair up in a ponytail and most importantly treat head lice straight away to stop any infestation in the house.
Education is key which is why I want to educate other mothers about the options available to them to rid their children of head lice.
I only recently learned about this new heat treatment recently and it’s saved my sanity.
I sit, catch up on emails and flick through a magazine while my child is having the heat treatment, which is available nationally. It doesn’t hurt at all, and it’s just like sitting in a salon chair getting a long blow-dry.
You only need one treatment and you can be assured all the critters are gone. This doesn’t mean my children will never get head lice again but it does mean if they do, I can be assured of an hour’s down time while my child gets treated for head lice with little fuss.
Best. Invention. Ever.
You can find out more about this treatment at liceclinicsaustralia.com.au.