It is every mom’s nightmare to hear from the school nurse that she (he) has found lice in your child’s hair. Fortunately, I escaped that with both of mine, but it is very common and my experience is not the norm. Remember, it has nothing to do with how clean your children are. It’s just that lice like to move from one head to another and kids share hats, sports helmets, headphones, hairbrushes, hair accessories and lockers…lice heaven!
Now, here’s what NOT to do when your child comes home from school or camp with head lice. Do NOT use a shampoo that contains lindane or any other chemical pesticides, such as permethrin. Lindane (sometimes listed on labels as Hexachlorocyclohexane or HCH) especially, is highly toxic to the brain and has also been linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, immunological effects and liver toxicity. Animal studies show that young animals have a greater sensitivity (or are at greater risk) than adults when lindane is applied to the skin. Our scalps are the thinnest skin on our bodies and chemicals are easily absorbed into our bloodstreams via this route. Lindane also contaminates drinking water supplies once it is released into the environment. For more information click here.
The safest and most effective treatments are home remedies using oil or even mayonnaise. A fearful child can be calmed by telling them that not only will this do away with the lice, but it will make their hair feel soft! Look here for step by step directions for using this home remedy. If this seems like too much for you, there are safe shampoos and treatments. One of my favorites is Clear Lice.