But what if you cannot? What if your vision/dexterity is poor and you are not physically able to do this? What if you are all alone with your head lice and have no one to remove the nits? Call me! OK, what if you can't?
First, let me say, you can still comb. If you are able to comb your hair every day, you are able to comb out some head lice. You can get an effective lice come, or you can just simply wet comb with a very fine toothcomb. Comb your wet hair from root to tip in one continuous motion and clean out your comb between strokes. Put some conditioner in your hair to keep it wet during the process. If you keep doing this everyday, a couple of times a day, you will have dealt with most of the problem
When adults get head lice, most people resort to the pesticidal shampoos. You know that I am against this, especially since lice are resistant. So, you may wish to revert to some home remedies. I am not officially endorsing these "treatments", as they have not been proven to be the most effective. However, there is some evidence that suggests that they will kill some of the lice/nits, and it is highly unlikely that they hurt you.
1. Apply a suffocating agent such as olive oil and/or mayonnaise.
Good News: Some people at Harvard threw lice into olive oil. After one hour, the lice were still alive. After two hours, the lice were dead. (They also threw the lice in water - and the lice survived for 24 hours.) You can read claim after claim on the Internet where people swear by the use of olive oil or mayo to kill head lice. I've done it myself with my own family; I once coated my son's head with olive oil AND mayo for about 4 hours and all the lice I combed out afterwards were dead.
Bad News: No formal studies have been done to show the true effectiveness of this treatment. Even those people at Harvard say that throwing lice in oil is not real research. So, all the evidence is anecdotal. It is an extremely messy process (my son's head was wrapped in plastic wrap and towels - it was during daytime hours. Don't do this and put your child to bed!) It is difficult to wash out these oils and my son's scalp was quite dry afterwards (probably from the mayo and the extra washing after). Mayo and oil may irritate the lice bites on your head and, as with every food product, there is the chance of an allergic reaction. Also, I have no idea of the effectiveness on these suffocating agents on the eggs. I still picked every egg out of my son's head.
2. Use a hair dryer.
Good News: Researchers from The University of Utah did a great deal of research and discovered that nits can be dried out with the proper use of a hair dryer. The following is taken from the results of their study that was published in the November 2006 issue of the publication Pediatrics:
"A handheld blow dryer was used to apply directed heating. Hair clips were used to divide each child’s hair into 20 sections. The dryer was held still for 30 seconds to heat one side of each section, then held still another 30 seconds to heat the other side. This method killed 55 percent of lice and 98 percent of eggs."
They say the drying effect is more from the blowing than the heat so use a "cool" setting if your blow dryer has one.(And don't try to kill lice with a curling iron!)
Bad News: The nits won't dry up if the hair dryer is not used properly. With live lice, only approximately half of the bugs are killed with this method - that means 45% are still crawling around, laying more eggs. Also, hair dryers can burn! You have to have constant movement of the air flow to ensure even drying and no burning. This is why this method is NOT recommended by the researchers at the University of Utah.
You may ask, what about "natural" treatments, like tea-tree oil or salt-based treatments? Even these "natural" treatments can have some harmful side effects if not used properly, and I have seen people use them with disappointing results. Therefore, I would rather you save your money and go for the solutions that are more readily available.
Or, just give me a call.