My family has experienced reoccurring head lice this school year and so I’ve become familiar with what works/doesn’t work with lice treatments. And when it happens for the first time, the temptation to run out and buy the strongest agent is almost overwhelming but it is not necessary or more effective. I haven’t played around with organic treatments such as smothering lice with mayonnaise overnight but I have attempted coconut oil and tea tree and in my opinion, these should be used more as preventative treatment or to sooth irritation from bites or scratching.
There is a treatment on the market that is not a neurotoxin and doesn’t contain pesticides like the over-the-counter shampoos and it’s called NYDA. Remember the 4 letter name because if you experience a lice outbreak and need to treat it quickly – this more natural (by no means organic) solution truly works. And one of my biggest concerns with lice treatments was dousing my children with strong chemicals. I was so thankful to have this information confirmed by my girlfriend who I trust and is also a pharmacist regarding the NYDA product. The high rates of lice this year might have to do with lice becoming resistant to pesticide treated shampoos – keep this in mind when your pharmacist give you the options for how to treat lice. NYDA will probably be the most expensive but because it’s not a pesticide or neurotoxic based treatment, but is super effective I highly recommend it! If you are treating 1 child (unless they have super long hair) one bottle will complete the two part process. I wonder if parents know there is a two-part process for getting rid of the lice. You need to repeat the process of lice treatment 9 days after the first treatment to ensure any missed nits haven’t hatched. Here are some steps that will help you treat lice one time with an effective solution.
- Purchase NYDA. Budget time in the evening to complete the process properly. This will take 1 hour for short hair up to 3 hours for long hair.
- Apply the NYDA treatment to dry hair. Make sure short hair is fully covered with spray. Longer hair, make sure upper half of hair is really wet with treatment. Leave spray in for 1 hour – cover with a shower cap.
- After 1 hour, remove shower cap and start sectioning hair. If there are live louse they will be coming to the surface of the hair because they are suffocating. Look for live lice and using a metal comb, start brushing small sections of hair to pick out nits and eggs.
- After hair has been combed and live lice (black in colour), eggs (whitish), and nits (white and super tiny, strong hold to hair) have been removed, cover hair with shower cap and let the child sleep with it overnight. In the morning wash hair with organic or regular shampoo because the oil is still thick on hair.
- Process needs to be repeated 9 days later. Use the same instructions as listed above.
It’s a good idea to put the NYDA in all your kid’s hair even siblings that don’t have nits or live lice to the naked eye. Because NYDA isn’t toxic it’s worth it to at least do the first treatment in all your kids, even those that you can’t see nits or lice by checking. I have four children and with our last round of lice I could only make out nits in 2 of my kid’s hair. I decided to apply the NYDA to all four of them and sure enough lice could be found in the other 2 children. The silicone agent in the NYDA starts suffocating the lice as soon as it’s applied, so they bubble up to the surface quickly. The other part of using NYDA I really appreciated was that it kills nits. It’s a very difficult process to make sure all the tiny little nits are removed from a big head of hair so during the 8 hours your child is sleeping, the NYDA penetrates the nits and kills them.
So I’m completely sold on using NYDA. For a family only treating one or two children, the cost isn’t too bad…but for a large family the cost is very high. Each bottle of NYDA is approx. $35 so double treatments for multiple kids starts adding up but avoiding pesticides always costs more so we are used to it. Another place for improvement would be if the NYDA kits contained metal lice combs rather than plastic. I would recommend buying a metal comb in addition to the NYDA kits. And lastly, it would be handy if each NYDA kit came with a plastic shower cap. You really need one for this treatment and regular readers will be surprised to hear me recommending purchasing anything plastic but you need it so purchase it separately if you don’t already own one. For an adult you could get away with wrapping your hair in plastic but I wouldn’t recommend this for children. The shower cap is a safer option if it slips during the night although caution is always required with younger children.
For someone that had never dealt with lice before, this has been a very eye opening experience. There is stigma surrounding lice. I have felt the judgement and I know my children have too. That has been disappointing. There is also the disappointment with how lice is handled in the schools because I’ve learned it’s been an on-going issue all year. I think a more pro-active approach needs to happen so that it’s not reoccurring. I write this article hoping that I’m saving parents time and money long term with only using one effective treatment rather than toxic shampoos that aren’t going to work as well. Dealing with lice isn’t the huge, disgusting ordeal I always thought it would be. It’s actually a fairly straight – forwards process, but it’s SUPER time consuming and for families with busy schedules it takes a toll with bedding washing, hair maintenance, and clothes.