The head lice cometh! When little bear was picked up from förskola today we were told that there had been an outbreak of the dreaded lice, argh!!! HEAD-ITCHING-RIGHT-NOW…

I’m not really bothered by lice or nits, they don’t carry diseases or illnesses and they ONLY live on your head. It’s just that they are so DAMN hard to get rid of and the process takes WEEKS.

I was coming home from work when I got the call from Mattias that there could be lice on the way so I headed straight to Apotek to stock up on supplies. My mind was blown, so many products, so many combs, so many preventative solutions, so many everything! Back in the day, I am sure my mum just used a nit comb and a bottle of Dettol or some equivalent? No? Blimey…anyway double the mind explosion that everything was in SWEDISH…vad!?

I did two things, immediately text my mother-in-law for the insiders scoop and also search Dr Google! I can tell you now there was diddly squat in English about head lice in Sweden and the best products to treat it. So, here I am…writing this marvellous ditty.

What are head lice

Head lice are small white or light brownish insects of the Anthropoda genus (check me out!). Essentially they are parasites who LOVE human hair. What you might not know is that a nit is actually the egg of the head louse. I can assure you, they live exclusively on the HEAD.

Head lice are also much more prominent in children between the age of 4-11 … looks like we’re getting a head start then (pun totally intended).

What are the symptoms of head lice

Because they are more usual in older children the first symptoms are when the child says…”Mum my head really itches” or “I think there is something moving in my head”. In younger children you have to get that detection comb out. You might also notice small white eggs hiding behind their ears or at the bottom of their hairline. Sometimes a rash may appear on the back of their neck.

How to treat head lice

In Sweden there are LOTS of options of products but from what research I have done anything that has dimeticone (4%). Because little bear is under 4 the pharmacist recommended using Paranix Sensitive. It’s oil based solution that you put directly onto dry hair and leave for 8 hours (overnight). They also recommended we use Linicin Prevent. However, from what I’ve read preventative treatments are just a waste of money.

Other treatments available in Sweden:

How to treat head lice naturally

The best method of treating head lice naturally is using the wet comb detection. Methods such as using tea tree oil, menthol oil and lavender oil are not advised to be used.

Wet combing

Wet combing involves removing head lice with a special fine-toothed comb. It’s suitable for everyone and is relatively inexpensive.

A number of lice removal combs are available to buy. Combs with flat-faced teeth spaced 0.2-0.3mm apart are best for removing head lice, although combs with smaller gaps can be used to remove eggs and nits (egg cases) after treatment.

The comb may come with instructions outlining how to use it. A commonly used method is described below.

  • Wash the hair with ordinary shampoo and apply plenty of conditioner.
  • Use an ordinary, wide-toothed comb to straighten and untangle the hair.
  • Once the comb moves freely through the hair without dragging, switch to the louse detection comb.
  • Make sure the teeth of the comb slot into the hair at the roots, with the edge of the teeth lightly touching the scalp.
  • Draw the comb down from the roots to the ends of the hair with every stroke, and check the comb for lice each time – remove lice by wiping the comb with tissue paper or rinsing it.
  • Work through the hair, section by section, so that the whole head of hair is combed through.
  • Do this at least twice to help ensure you haven’t missed any areas, until no more lice are found.

Repeat this procedure on days five, nine and 13. Detection combing  should be done on day 17, to check for any live head lice

The sad truth is it won’t be the last time you have to do this.