The head lice being found today in schools are becoming resistant to the poisons found in most commercial head lice products. So not only does using them expose the child to dangerous toxins, the treatment frequently doesn't work. This is extremely frustrating for the parent trying to rid the child and the house of head lice. There are several alternative treatments, mayonnaise being one of them.

Applying mayonnaise, olive oil or crisco to the hair is a popular method of killing off head lice. I have seen nits survive this treatment, however. It is almost impossible to completely cover every inch of the hair and scalp thickly enough to smother the nits and lice. It's important to follow this treatment with a careful, time consuming session or two with the nit comb. This is an extremely fine toothed comb that is designed to comb the nits off of the hair shaft. This isnt 100% effective either, though. The best method of removing nits, in my opinion, is by sitting with the child and carefully and completly examining every portion of the childs hair and manually picking the nits off with your fingernails. A follow up shampoo with tea tree oil either added to the shampoo or applied to the hair makes you that much more sure that all the critters are dead. As a final precaution, blow dry the hair on the hottest setting.

The house, clothing, car seats, stuffed animals, hats, and any other item the child's hair might have come in contact with have to be treated as well. Heat is one way to kill lice and nits. The easiest and best way though is to just go somewhere else for 3 days. If there is no human host for 3 days, all of the nits and lice found in the house, clothing, and car will die off. Go camping, check into a motel, visit grandma and grandpa. Starve those lice, and you don't have to worry about missing killing any of them. Time will take care of it.

Head lice become established in the host's hair, where they feed on the host's blood once a day. The females lay about six eggs a day, which hatch in eight days. The baby louse reaches adulthood in nine to 12 days, and the cycle continues. Although lice raise a shudder in most of us, and conjure images of dirty, infected people, head lice are not a significant health hazard, and public health officials consider them much less of a problem in schools than pinworm, ringworm, and colds.

The fact is that lice are rather common in today's schools, even among "clean" kids. Some recommends the use of mayonnaise, though as the good zgirll points out, any edible oil will do. However, another way to eradicate lice is to break the reproductive cycle by removing the live lice before they have a chance to lay eggs, and removing the eggs before they have a chance to hatch. One simple, safe, and effective way to do this is wet combing daily with a fine-toothed louse or nit comb for up to two weeks or until no live lice or eggs are found. It's not the instant cure parents may be hoping for, but it works. Children with curly hair will have to have their hair straightened first.

There is a great deal of useful information on lice and their removal at http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/headlice.html. Wet combing is recommended as the first line of louse management there.

search with a fine toothed comb

Did you go to a public elementary school when you were growing up? Most likely, if you did, then you are very familiar with the technique of having your head checked with a fine toothed comb.

Elementary schools can be prone to outbreaks of head lice- lots of kids in crowded places make it easy for lice to spread. Thus, elementary schools often make a practice of doing head checks at least once a semester, in order to help prevent and control the spread of lice.

Searching through the child’s head with a fine toothed comb is the easiest way of doing the checks (as compared to bare eyes or using straws). The teacher or school nurse will just simply sit the child down and run the comb through his hair, looking at the scalp for signs of lice. The method allows the checker to separate hair into parts easily and also keeps the child calm because combing their hair is normal.


To do a lice check with a fine toothed comb, start in the middle of the head. You'll want to make a part straight down the center from front to back. Then take the comb and pull the hair away from the scalp slowly, looking at the skin for the bugs, nits and other signs of lice.

If the area is clear, take the comb and run it around the crown of the head, bringing the all hair that grows out of the area onto the top of the head. Make sure to comb through it lightly before you pile it on top. Then take a look at the scalp exposed on the part line again for any signs of lice.

If this area is also clear the last places you should be sure to check are behind the ears and at the nape of the neck. You should run the comb down the neck line lightly again.

A large toothed comb is a completely useless tool for this procedure, because the fine teeth will usually separate any lice from the hair, or at least make them spring (they're jumpers!) off of the head. It also makes it much easier to make parts in childrens' hair because their hair is much thinner than an adult’s. Obviously, it's not a fail proof method but it works most of the time.

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