Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Natural nit treatment

Our family doesn't have a lot of experience with nits. I remember getting them myself in the past - that hideous itchy feeling in my scalp and the overwhelming smell of the nit treatment shampoo - but my kids remained blessedly nit-free until last week when my eldest daughter, L, caught nits off a friend. The friend's mum helped me treat L's hair, meticulously working to clear away all the nit eggs and I'm so grateful to her for that.

Luckily we caught the nits early, while L had lots of unhatched eggs in her hair, so were able to deal to them quickly and effectively before they spread to the rest of our family.

Here's what we did:

1. Mixed up a small bowl of olive oil with several drops of tea tree oil. (Nits hate tea tree oil. I often brush it through my girls' hair before I send them to school and I think that has helped us avoid nits until now.)

2. Sectioned L's hair to work from the bottom up.

3. Brushed the oil mixture through the first section of L's hair with a regular hair brush to coat all the strands in oil.

4. Combed a nit comb through the oiled-up section, looking for eggs and pulling them off the strand, either with the nit comb or with finger nails. We wiped the eggs onto tissues, which I threw into the fireplace. Something we didn't do at the time, but that I thought of later was to dip the nit comb in a cup of boiling water after each stroke to kill any eggs on the comb.

5. Repeated steps 3 and 4 on all the sections of L's hair, working from the bottom to the top.

6. Once all the eggs had been combed out of L's hair (we didn't find any live nits), I rubbed the rest of the oil mixture into her hair, coating her scalp with it to suffocate anything we might have missed. Then I put L's hair up in a bun and left the oil mixture on all day.

7. While L's hair was up, I soaked the brush and nit comb in hot, soapy water to kill any nits or eggs on them.

8. I also washed and dried all the clothes L had been wearing along with her bedding.

9. Before bed I washed the oil out of L's hair with a couple of regular shampoo washes in the shower and then braided her hair to keep it tucked up tight in case any nits wanted to try and find their way onto or away from L's head. Her hair was still a little bit oily from the olive oil, so I didn't worry about conditioning it. (It was so luxurious the next day from the oil treatment!)

10. I kept checking and rechecking everyone's heads for days: In the morning I checked all of L's hair with the brush and the nit comb, but didn't find any eggs. This time I did dip the nit comb in boiling water after each stroke, just in case. I re-braided her hair to discourage any lurking nits from traveling back to her. I also rubbed tea tree oil into all our heads for the next few days to ward off nits. We all remained clear.

So that's how we got rid of nits, naturally.

I did have the option of washing L's hair in a chemical nit treatment my friend had bought and was using on her own children, but decided to try the natural option first because I've heard that chemical treatments are losing their effectiveness since the nits that survive them go on to breed immune nit babies. I thought suffocation and physical removal of the eggs was worth a shot, and am so glad it worked, especially since a disclaimer on the chemical treatment box said persistent use could cause neurological issues. Eek!

What are your nit treatment tips?

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