Nix and R & C have long been the lice shampoo of choice to kill the tiny, pesky insects that live and breed in the human hair. As effective as those chemical solutions may be to prevent and treat lice, they’re a cause for concern. A pesticide applied to the skin isn’t a good thing.
Treat Lice in Children Without Pesticide Shampoo
What’s a poor parent to do if their offspring brings a headful of these critters home? Plenty. And to put it bluntly, this is one time a parent has free license to “nit pick.” Fortunately, head lice can be treated manually at home using special shampoos such as Nix, which are available over-the-counter at drugstores. The procedure, however, is rather tedious. And since lice are easily spread, Renz urges a family and household members to get treated.
How to Find Nits Hidden in Hair
First, you have to find the little suckers. “We don’t look for lice on the head,” she explains. “They’re too small and you can’t see them. We look for the eggs, or nits, instead.” Their favorite hiding spots, incidentally, are on the crown, behind the ears, and at the back of the head. The minute, oval-shaped nits sometimes look like dandruff, but Renz has a sure-fire way to tell the difference. “If you flick dandruff, it’ll fall off. Flick a nit and it sticks to the hair. You really have to pull it to pull it off. You have to pull all the way down the hair shaft.”
How to Manually Remove Nits and Lice Using a Lice Comb
Nits can be removed from slightly damp hair with fingernails, tweezers or with a special nit comb — available from a pharmacist — whose metal teeth are less than a pinpoint apart. After 7 to 10 days — when remaining live nits will have matured and can reproduce — reinspect for viable lice and nits. If evident, treat with lice shampoo. (Do not re-treat with shampoo on basis of itching alone because treatment itself can cause an itch).
It may be necessary to rid the house of lice and nits. To do so:
• Machine wash clothing and bedding in 150 degree water for 10 minutes, machine dry on the hot cycle or dry clean to delouse items.
• Soak combs and brushes in very hot water for 10 minutes. furniture, mattresses, pillows
• Vacuum all stuffed animals and toys (and the family car) to pick up living lice or nits attached to fallen hair. (Lice will die in a few days without a blood meal). Do not use either personal or environmental insecticide lice sprays often sold in pharmacies in tandem with pediculicide shampoos.
Both the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and the NPA have taken strong stands against their use. Exposure to uncontrolled doses of the vapors, through repeated inhalation of sprays on furniture, bedding and skin, may be far more harmful to the eyes and lungs of family members and pets than the actual lice.