child with lice, treat lice, olive oil to overcome lice,

Just think about the word lice for a minute or two and the chances are good your head will start to itch. Mention the word in polite company and some people will start to move away from you.
When looking for lice products in the drugstore many distraught parents search silently, too embarrassed to ask the pharmacist for help locating an effective remedy.
Part of the problem is a mistaken association of lice with a lack of hygiene. There remains a myth that poor people are more likely to have lice. But in truth, lice do not discriminate. They feast on blood, regardless of cleanliness or economic status.
When it comes to remedies, people get very emotional about what works and what doesn’t. We recently shared a story from a teacher who recommended suffocating the lice with a liberal application of mayonnaise.
Several other popular remedies include drenching the hair with olive oil or moistening it with Cetaphil and then using a hair dryer to create a hard coat for overnight treatment. We mentioned that only coating the hair with petroleum jelly has held up in placebo-controlled trials. The trouble with this approach is washing the goo out of the hair.
One woman was very upset with such advice:

“I can’t believe your irresponsible article about lice. The ONLY WAY to combat lice is combing, combing, combing until every louse, egg and nit is gone.
“Mayonnaise? Olive oil? Cetaphil? You are perpetuating the problem by promoting these so-called treatments. They will put kids back in school with live lice and eggs still in their hair, where they will spread them to other children like mine. I’ve gone through this for years with my daughter and I’m sick to death of all the misinformation.”

There is no doubt that killing lice and then combing out the nits hair strand by hair strand is a time-honored and successful approach. It requires patience and persistence. Many parents just don’t have the time to spend hours combing through several heads of hair several times a week.
For those who are so inclined, there are tricks to spotting nits. Some use a black light, which makes the white eggs glow. One mother suggested dying the hair with pink Kool-Aid:

“My blonde daughter came home from summer camp with lice but since she’d dyed her hair pink with Kool-Aid the last day of camp, I was able to spot the nits. They had soaked up the colored Kool-Aid and looked pink in her hair.”

Less patient parents may wish to consider Listerine:

“When my kids came home with lice, I spent a lot of money on lice shampoos. We tried the mayonnaise treatment, too. I scrubbed the house, cleaned the carpets, boiled the combs and hairbrushes and put pillows and stuffed toys in bags.
“I took my kids outside on the deck, swathed them in sheets and combed their hair and eyebrows out with that tiny nit comb. After all that, I read in your column about using original amber Listerine. We drenched our hair and left the Listerine on for two hours. That was the END of the LICE! Not only did Listerine bring relief; we didn’t have any nit problems after treatment.”

Although there are no scientific studies of this approach, the combination of alcohol and herbal oils found in Listerine might well kill lice and loosen nits for easier comb-out.

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  1. Dr. Lori Reid

    That’s great. Cepaphil works when you know how to use it AND manual removal, daily checking and combing is the key.
    Also, lice don’t like peppermint. Adding peppermint to shampoo, and/or using a peppermint hairspray, if you know your child may be going into a situation where there may still be an active case of head lice.

  2. rw

    My daughter got lice and we used the pesticide treatment and combed her hair it worked but they came back two weeks later. We didn’t want to use the pesticide again so we tried the Cetaphil and it worked like a charm!
    I know that someone got a little excited about this and other remedies so to clarify we used the Cetaphil but I still combed her hair for days. I have heard that rosemary shampoos will keep lice away from your child’s head and we have been using rosemary shampoo ever since. There is even a whole brand of rosemary hair products advertising their use in preventing and treating lice.

  3. bd

    I have a problem with book lice. They are in my hair and all over my body. Would the treatment be the same for all types of lice?

  4. Mac58

    I can vouch for the Listerine treatment, have used it for years with good success. For a really heavy infestation, it’s especially great to stop the spread until or unless you want to use another method.

  5. elke

    I have written to you before, PLEASE tell people using mayo and oil to get rid of lice
    to apply shampoo LIBERALLY and work through hair BOFORE rinsing or wetting hair. You may only have to shampoo one more time, it works really well. Please post this for the
    relief of all the “grease heads” out there.
    Thank you.

  6. a.b.

    Another great use for Listerine…..I need to share that when I had shingles last year (68 years old), Listerine mint, applied to body was very soothing to pain….used generously……

  7. RC1956

    I don’t know what makes some kids “immune” and others magnets. My kids were lucky enough to skip the lice ordeal even though the day care had problems. I would try the Listerine approach and would have tried the prescription treatments too. Good luck.

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