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Omg… they have head lice – What do I do now?

Jessica Bosco

Jessica Bosco

Jessica is a writer, editor and professional wrangler of two boys. Working in women's lifestyle publishing for over 15 years she has written about everything from fashion and beauty to royal weddings and true crime. These days she loves helping parents navigate pregnancy and the early years of raising little ones...
Created on Oct 23, 2023 · 5 mins read

Head Lice are one of those inevitable parts of growing up. Most of us can probably still remember the horrible, itchy feeling of having it as a kid… and now that we’re on the flip side as parents we can appreciate what our parents must have gone through when they got the dreaded letter home (no emails back in those days!).

When you’re actually faced with those nasty little bugs, it can be a bit overwhelming! So what do you need to do when you receive that dreaded head lice email?

To help parents navigate this icky milestone with ease, in partnership with MOOV, we’ve pulled together a step-by-step guide for dealing with head lice. We’ve got you covered from the products and tools you will need to some first-hand real parent hacks as well as tips for preventing it next time!

So first things first, what exactly are head lice?

Head lice, or nits as they’re often called, are tiny insects that live, feed and breed off the human scalp. Gross.

They are about the size of a sesame seed, with six legs and little claws which they use to attach themselves to the hair. Their eggs are usually white, around the size of a pin-head, and attach themselves to the hair shaft. They take around 6-10 days to hatch which is why it can be so hard to get rid of them.

For more on head lice visit MOOV.

They don’t have wings and they cannot jump but they’re damn good crawlers so they are spread by direct head-to-head contact – which is why they run rampant at daycares and schools because little children don’t yet know the concept of personal space (social distancing, anyone?). They can also spread by sharing hats or hair brushes.

What are the signs and symptoms of headlice?

The most obvious, telltale sign that nits are running rampant is itching. (Anyone else’s scalp suddenly feeling itchy, or just me?) If you notice your little one is furiously scratching then that’s a pretty clear sign, however, not everyone will experience itching from head lice. So it’s important to know that if you’ve had the dreaded email telling you they’re present – you’re not out of the woods yet.

Inspect your child’s scalp closely, and keep watch over the next few days.

How to treat head lice

Once you’ve confirmed the worst it’s time to act. Fast.

The key to treating head lice is to break their life cycle, because if you don’t manage to remove every single egg, then you can guarantee your little one is going to be itchy again in 6-10 days. They can survive for 6-24 hours away from the scalp and live anywhere from 32-35 days after hatching.

To treat the lice you’re going to need to choose a natural pesticide treatment such as MOOV and follow the instructions on the pack perfectly. MOOV offers three different types of treatment so you can find a product that works for your whole family.

3 steps to tackling head lice head on

1. Kill them

Treat dry hair with a shampoo or solution. Divide their hair into sections and apply the product behind the ears and neck first and then work through the remaining hair. You should apply enough of the solution that the hair is thoroughly soaked.

Place a shower cap on their head and leave the solution on for 10 minutes. Then remove the cap and then wash and condition hair as normal.

This should be repeated 7-14 days after the initial treatment to break the life cycle of the lice.

2. Remove them

Once the head lice have been treated, you can use the MOOV Head Lice Removal Comb to remove dead head lice and eggs. Make sure you get rid of all those eggs!

It’s a good idea to check for lice every few weeks as part of your routine – especially when you know there has been an outbreak at daycare/school.

Tip: Don’t forget to wash the comb thoroughly after and between uses.

3. Prevent them!

Prevention is always better than a cure! Thankfully, MOOV have created an 8-hour defence spray that works like a leave-in conditioner that you can spray on your child’s hair in the morning before school or daycare. The spray makes hair unpleasant to lice and also conditions their hair. Win-win.

[Insert MOOV social video here]

What do the parents say?

We asked some of our Kiindred parents who have faced their fair share of head lice and lived to tell the tale what their top tips are for removing nits. Here is what they had to say:

  • Once they make it into your home – wash everything! Sheets, pillowcases, hats, soft toys, scrunchies etc. There’s no evidence that says this helps – but better safe than sorry!
  • Check siblings (and yourself) asap and treat them too
  • Investing in a good lice removal comb [link to moov] is essential
  • Put the child in front of the TV or a device so they sit still while you comb out the lice
  • Don’t send them back to school until you’re sure they’re gone for good or they will just keep coming back.
  • Teach your kids not to share hats or scrunchies with the other kids
  • Tie long hair back or in plaits
  • Don’t wash your child’s hair every day because lice often prefer clean hair *(research says those pesky little nits don’t discriminate between clean or dirty hair so this might not necessarily help but who has time for washing kids hair every day anyway!)

Head lice are one of those parenting milestones they don’t prepare you for and people don’t talk about. Not exactly Insta-worthy amiright… But it’s a right of passage all the same and just one of those things we all go through as parents. Thankfully now with clever products on the market, and some solid advice on how to tackle them and rid them for good they don’t have to spell absolute disaster.

Always read the label and follow directions for use. Consult your healthcare professional before use on infants under 6 months. For external use only. Keep out of reach of children.

This is a paid partnership between Kiindred x MOOV.

Related links

The importance of teaching hygiene to kids

Why does my baby suddenly hate the bath?

What to do every morning before sending your little one off to daycare

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