*******************DISCLAIMER: This is my personal story. I am NOT a doctor or medical expert. So, don't take my word for it. Consult a doctor before using these remedies or trying anything on the internet.
LICE!!! Aack!! It's a nightmare I remember well from my own childhood. Now, with 4 children of my own, I was quite panic-stricken when the the children's director at church told me that they found lice on my little baby's head.
We went home and checked heads. We found lice in all the boys' heads. None found is R's head (my one princess.)
I know standard procedure is run out, buy some Rid, shampoo, and comb a million times with a lice comb. But, I was very concerned about putting chemicals in my little baby's head. Not to mention, with me being pregnant on top of that, I try to stay as far from chemicals as possible. Still, I had to come up with something. So, I researched home remedies, and did a combination of several.
First, I want to back up one of my remedies with a source. This is an article about it from Medpage Today: http://www.medpagetoday.com/pediatrics/generalpediatrics/4452. I found from several reputable sources that blow-drying can be particularly effective in killing BOTH lice and eggs! This is really great, because not even RID kills the eggs, hence re-infestations. But, use caution and discretion, and consult a pediatrician before trying this on kids. Kids are more sensitive, and there is a risk of heat burn. The other important info worth mentioning is a) some lice are resistant to products like RID, and b) ***VERY IMPORTANT**** YOU STILL HAVE TO NIT-PICK. Okay, onto my methodology.
Here's what I did, and I did NOT have a re-infestation. Nope, we rechecked heads periodically over 2 and a half weeks, and got nothing. It's been several months since they've had it, and still no lice.
1) After checking heads, we decided to home buzz-cut all my boys' heads. We used the size 5 comb on them all. The picture at the top was a commemorative picture of the post-lice buzz-cuts. R did not get a haircut, but her hair happened to be short already (another story for another day, but let's just say her brother decided to play barber.)
2) I invested in a lice comb, and started combing out bugs and nits. (This is a must-do.)
3) The next day, we put olive oil on all the boys' heads. (Again, R avoided this, since she had no lice present.) The theory is that the oil is supposed to smother the live bugs. Some people swear by mayonnaise, but that really grossed me out. I also read that you can use baby oil. So, you leave this on their heads for several hours. Some say you should do it for most of the day. I think I did at least 5 hours.
4) Clean out the oil (rinse), comb out the lice. (I did NOT shampoo their hair afterward, because leaving a little oil theoretically keeps it a hostile environment for lice.)
5) Nightly nit-picking. Every night for at least 3 nights, I checked heads and nit-picked. Be sure you check the crown of the head (where girls would wear a fashion headband), because that's where lice are most comfortable temperature-wise.
6) Speaking of temperature, that brings me to blow-drying. I blow-dried my own hair, and I did mine on the highest setting for the a long period of time. I didn't have major issues with heat-sensitivity. Having long hair, I didn't wanna take any chances. As for blow-drying kids' hair, check with your doctor to make sure it's safe to do it. Kids are more sensitive than adults. Plus, blow-drying can cause a heat burn. They also make a dryer that is supposed to be safe for kids and made especially for treating lice, The Louse Buster. Here's a link about it, if you're interested: http://www.remedylice.com/lousebuster.html. I don't have one, so I cannot comment on its effectiveness, quality, or safety. Research these methods further on your own.
That's basically it. I think I did re-apply the olive oil to the baby, because he had it the worst.
****But this is super important:
7) Maintenance: Of course, I washed all the linens, packed away stuffed toys and certain pillows, and all that. But, the main info I got on putting away stuffed toys was that you really don't have to do it for weeks. The lice can't live outside the body for more than a few hours, because they need to feed and they need the proper temperature.
YOU MUST RECHECK HEADS AGAIN TO MAKE SURE THAT NONE OF THOSE EGGS HATCHED!! The worst thing about lice is that it's easy to miss an egg here or there. Then, they are notorious for hatching a week and a half later. So, it's important that you recheck. I checked mine a week later, then again like a week after that.
There were a few things I forgot to wash, but they didn't use them for a few days, and nothing happened when they did.
I had read online that some people use tea tree oil, and it works as a repellant. But CAUTION: I also read that one lady poured it all over her daughter's head and while it actually did remedy the lice, it ended up putting her daughter in the E.R. Turns out her daughter was allergic to it. So, rather than use tea tree oil, I found a shampoo that contained a very small amount of tea tree oil, and I have been using it for the older kids' hair. It's Herbal Essences Tea-Lightfully Clean.