UPDATE (2019): my kids have now had nits. My daughter was 7, and my son was 5 when they got them. Sadly my daughter had Chicken Pox at the same time so we missed them until it was quite bad. Her Chicken Pox was on her head so we had no idea. Needless to say it was a rough time for everyone, so I have updated the post to reflect what I’ve learned.
Right, let’s just tackle this head on (LOOL). My kids are 4 and 6 and haven’t had nits (head lice) YET … HOWEVER I am expecting them to happen anytime because let’s be honest – most kids get nits.
I run a parenting group (as well as my Facebook page) on Facebook, and so many people want to know how to treat nits. Some of the responses range from the usual to the down-right crazy.
Let me be the first to say: DO NOT TREAT YOUR KIDS, or yourself, WITH FLEA TREATMENT!
Flea treatment is designed for animals and for FLEAS, and is NOT tested on humans. I don’t even care if “it worked for your parents”; it is poison when administered to a human and is designed for animals only.
As well as the appropriate treatment you will also need a nit comb.
Here’s what you can do if your child (or you) has nits:
Here are some ways to treat nits, most of the linked treatments can be bought from your local pharmacy:
- Your doctor can prescribe you some decent treatment
- Parasidose (or you can get a script through your GP)
- Thursday Plantation
- Good Bye Nits
- Home remedies including:
- Shaving the child’s head
- Vinegar (rub white vinegar into the hair and scalp, cover the head with a shower cap, wrap in towel and leave overnight. Next morning rinse, shampoo and comb out with a nit comb. Repeat 3 times).
- Tea tree oil or use Thursday Plantation (as above)
- Bicarb soda (rub into the hair, add vinegar; leave it on for an hour and then comb out with a fine comb)
- Coke (wash hair normally; then slowly pour a litre of Coke over their head and let it dry. Once hair is dry, then wash it out and wash again with normal shampoo/conditioner the nits should fall out)
- Conditioner (apply conditioner heavily, leave for 10 minutes and then using a nit comb get the nits out. Rinse and repeat as necessary)
- Coconut Oil (same as the vinegar instructions)
- Listerine (same as vinegar instructions)
- Hair straighteners
- Hair spray
- You can get a really good nit comb from KidsCan (my daughter got given one from them through her school)
If you’re in New Zealand / Australia, I highly recommend checking out The Chemist Warehouse as they have quite a comprehensive range of products.
Our personal favourites (for my kids) were the Moov range, Licener, Nitwitz and Nitenz. These were not only recommended to me hundreds of times, but also we had success with them.
Please note, I do not advise using Flea Treatment on your child to treat nits (or fleas or anything). I have written a statement here about this.
2. NOT JUST THE CHILD
Everyone in the household will need this treatment (whatever you use), and you will need to wash all bedding, hair ties, hair brushes and possibly car seat covers (if your car seat manual says you can do so; and continue to comb the child’s (and everyone else’s) hair regularly to ensure all nits AND eggs are removed.
Again, to find out more information about what exactly nits are, visit the Ministry of Health.
Also check out Kiwi Families for some excellent all-round information about what you should / shouldn’t do when it comes to head lice.
If your child still has lice 2 weeks after you started treatment or if your child’s scalp looks infected, call your doctor. As above in the list of treatments, they may be able to prescribe stronger treatment.
If you have any suggestions on what can help with nits (that has actually been tested on humans) then let me know in the comments below!