Lice are parasites that feed off human blood. They are tiny; an average louse isn’t any bigger than a sesame seed. Lice can live up to thirty days and lay four eggs a day.
Lice are passed from person to person by sharing brushes, ponytail holders, hats, pillows, and putting heads together.
Most lice shampoos and lice-killing products contain some form of pyrethroids, a chemical that comes from a small white daisy-like flower. However, pyrethroids don’t always kill lice.
In an article from Medicaldaily.com, Dr. John Clark and his research team from the University of Massachusetts have discovered that lice are becoming resistant to the drugs that are used to kill them. ‘…nowadays these insecticides may kill as little as 25 percent of lice during treatment.’
Lice aren’t yet resistant to hand sanitizer or Listerine. Both products can kill lice quickly, sometimes in one go.
The primary ingredient of many hand sanitizers is ethyl alcohol. It kills adult lice and loosens the substance that holds the eggs, or nits, on the hair; Listerine, with its multiple ingredients, boasts the same effects.
In order to effectively use either product, you’re going to need to take a few precautions first. Hand sanitizer and Listerine shouldn’t be used together. Choose one and use it exclusively.
Both products are stinky and put off fumes that can irritate the eyes and nose. Make sure to cover your child’s eyes and nose and take care not to get any product on their face. If you can, do this treatment in a well-ventilated area.
Before you get started, here are a list of products you’ll need:
- A big bottle of Listerine or alcohol based hand sanitizer
- A lice comb
- A shampoo hat like this one on Amazon
- Shampoo and lots of conditioner
- A large towel to drape around your child’s shoulders
- Extra clean towels for covering your child’s eyes, nose, and mouth
If you’re using hand sanitizer, put enough on to soak the child’s head down to the scalp. Pay extra attention to areas such as behind the ears, on the sideburns, and at the back of the neck. You’ve got to work quickly because after a few minutes, the sanitizer is going to turn from a gel into a liquid and put off fumes that are irritating to the nose and eyes.
If you’re using Listerine, you can pour or sponge it directly over the child’s head. Again, be careful about the liquid and fumes, both of which are irritating to eyes and noses. If your child is very young, have someone help you make sure no liquid gets into their eyes.
After you’re done, put a plastic bag over the child’s hair and tape it shut. You want to keep the hand sanitizer or Listerine on the child’s head for five minutes. After five minutes, take off the plastic bag and wash the child’s hair and condition it. Leave the conditioner on and use the lice comb to comb out the eggs and any remaining lice.
Because a lice comb’s tines are so close together, having hair combed with one can be painful -a gentle hand and patience goes a long way here. Work through one small clump of hair at a time, holding each firmly but gently at its roots. Start at the bottom of a clump of hair and work your way up. If the hair is hard to comb through, use more conditioner; too much is better than not enough.
Get out as many of the nits and lice as possible, wiping the comb on a paper towel as you go. When you’re done combing, wash your child’s hair with shampoo and conditioner one more time. Next, delouse your own hair and other family members’. Don’t worry about pets; lice that live on people stay on people.
Afterward, wash brushes and cloth ponytail bands with hand sanitizer. Be sure to wash all cloth things that could’ve come in contact with the lice. This includes bedding, hats, clothing, stuffed animals, blankets, and pillows. Once everything is dry, seal the washed items in garbage bags and put it all away for up to two weeks. This ensures that any remaining lice or eggs die off.