The constant scratching of head lice is enough to drive a person nuts. What's worse is that lice are easily passed from person to person. Although they can't fly, they do crawl, so anything that comes in contact with an infected person holds the ability to spread the lice to someone else.
Rather than having to battle a lice infestation, -- washing linens, bedding and clothing in hot water and scouring every room -- why not go on the defensive? Prevention can be worth a pound of cure, and in this case, it may be worth even more. Here are 10 ways you can help prevent lice from taking up residence in your hair.
1. Hair tie. Because lice like to climb and they don't fly, EVERYDAY HEALTH recommends keeping long hair tied up so that it's not available. Pony tails are fine, but buns and braids are the best.
2. Avoid head contact. Sklice states that teaching your children to avoid head-to-head contact may keep them from bringing the little pests home.
3. Don't share. EVERYDAY HEALTH reminds parents to tell their children to not share things that touch the head. Keep your hats, helmets, hair ties, scarves and brushes to yourself
4. Separate belongings. If it's at all possible, Healthline recommends keeping your belongings out of common areas. If you have a private locker or can hang bags on a hook, that's best. Otherwise, have a sealed plastic bag to place sweaters and jackets in and wipe down backpacks as they come home.
5. Avoid sleepovers. If your school is having a lice outbreak, Sklice says that nixing sleepovers until the outbreak is done would be best.
6. Spot checks. A piece of practical advice, WebMD says that you should periodically check your child's head for lice, even if no outbreak is occurring. The sooner you catch the lice, the better off you will be.
7. Tea tree oil. The Mayo Clinic states that some herbal essential oils may help repel lice, and tea tree oil is one that appears to be effective. According to whole new mom, you can make your own repellent by placing 12 drops of tea tree oil in a 2-ounce bottle of water. Fill the bottle the rest of the way with water. Shake it well to thoroughly mix the oil and water, and spray this on your hair daily.
8. Lavender oil. Another oil that whole new mom recommends is lavender oil. Mix 2 ounces of water, 10 drops of tea tree oil and 6 drops of lavender oil in a spray bottle. Spray the hair daily to act as a repellent.
9. Rosemary oil. The Mayo Clinic states that rosemary oil may also work. PASS health foods makes its repellent from 10 drops tea tree oil, 5 drops lavender oil, 5 drops rosemary oil and 5 drops eucalyptus oil. Spray the hair daily.
10. Hot water. If you should find out that lice have made it into your home, Sklice says to wash all the linens, bedding, clothing and anything that may have come into contact with the infected person in hot water and dry it on high heat. This should kill any lice and keep them from spreading to the rest of the family.
Lice are no laughing matter. Trying to rid your home of them is so much work that taking preventive measures just makes sense.