hot water only for killing head lice?

beanwabrMay 11, 2010

My daughter (9 yr old) has had an on and off battle with lice since February. I thought we had it whipped, but guess what? They're back! I had used hot water (and high heat in dryer), but have since switched to Tide Coldwater (fresh scent - I love it!). So I guess that I need to buy some all temperature detergent so I can re-treat all of her clothing, bedding, etc, right? Thanks!

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You will need more information than you'll get here. 130F for five minutes min. is required to kill lice and nits. However there's much more you need to know.

Google "head lice treatment" or go here:

Here is a link that might be useful: Head lice treatment info

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 12:27PM
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On the detergent question -- I think you can use the Tide Coldwater with hot water washes. It's been formulated to work on grease and other tough stains in cold water -- i.e. get out tough stains DESPITE the fact that you're using cold water -- but there's nothing that says you can't use it in warm or hot water.

From the FAQs on the Tide website:

Q: What happens if I use warm water by mistake?
A: Tide Coldwater can also be used in warm and hot water washes.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 12:43PM
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Take some advice from a doctor: forget the laundry and focus on your daughter's head. That's "where the money is" as far as the lice are concerned. Go ahead and wash her sheets, but nothing else. Contrary to popular myth, lice do not jump off heads and lie lurking on furniture or bedding hoping to pick up a new host. They just don't move well on anything but human hair; leaving for anything other than another head would be a very poor gamble. The two main reasons why kids get recurrent head lice are that live nits have been left in the hair, or that the kids were reinfested by putting their heads together at school or camp. There was a study done looking at bedding of 20 people with untreated head lice -- only one immature bug was found on a single pillowcase; everything else was free of lice. (The immature ones don't grip hair as efficiently as adult bugs, so apparently one fell off). Also, the nits need the warmth of the scalp to hatch, and they're firmly glued to the hair -- they won't just fall off and hatch in your house.
My two daughters had lice at the same time. I got rid of them in 10 days by shampooing with nix, then combing for nits every day with a metal lice comb (I used Licemeister -- the best metal comb -- a good 45 minutes per head per day), then re-shampooing after 10 days. The bugs were clearly somewhat resistant to nix, so I think without the combing we would have had problems. I continued to comb for about 5 minutes each twice a week for a month after that to make sure there were no new bugs. (With the lifecycle of lice, if you have missed nits you will have a noticeable new population after about a month.) For a nontoxic alternative to Nix, check out Nuvo for Headlice -- wasn't around when my kids had it, but it seems to work. I would use it in conjuction with combing, however. Also check out www.headlice,org for a video demonstrating how to comb thoroughly. Also for comic relief and some very good info, check out this article from the Atlantic Monthly:
Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 10:44PM
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I agree with kgiov. You don't need to kill eggs. egss that are not attached to the hair on the head are not going to hatch. they are not the problem.

The ONLY eggs you have to worry about are those within 1/2 or less inch of scalp currently attached to your child's hair.

If you have a caucasion girl in school betwen 4-12 years old they are prime target for head lice. First keep in mind that head lice do NOT transmitt diseases, they do NOT infest homes like bedbugs do so you want to be caeful and AVOID any pesticide, especially pesticide shampoos.

The best and safest methid is patient machanical removal. that means an eXCELLENT proper metalic lice comb, and a $50 investment in a good florescent (much cooler) large mangifying lamp, a comfortable chair with perhaps a dvd for your kid to watch while you spend four one hour sessions every four days to remove any eggs and live lice.
live lice die off of the head after a day, and eggs cannot hatch when not attached to hair on the scalp.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 9:54AM
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The only things that are likely to carry adult lice from one person to another are hair care instruments (brushes and combs), hats, headphones, sports helmets (batting helmets especially), and hair decorations like headbands, pony tail holders and fancy barrettes. Teach her to not share these things!

Head lice don't live long off the body - time reported is 2-7 days. Anything that's been in storage for a week - even if it's just sitting in the linen closet - is really unlikely to be infested.

it's the HEAD and the HAIR that need careful attention. And let all her classmates and friends and playmates parents know. Either someone is re-infesting your daughter's head or you never got 100% clear of them. It only takes 2 missed nits and the cycle starts over.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 1:41PM
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@ kgiov

Hysterical! Thanks for sharing.

We went through an infestation about 4 years ago. I just saw a few nits and 2 black dots in my daughter's hair and a 2 nits on my son. I am treating all of us like it's an infestation so that it doesn't BECOME one!

The things that worked best for us last time were:
washing all bedding and clothing in hot water and drying on hot heat;
putting stuffed animals and such in bags in the garage for 3 weeks;
Using LiceGuard Robi Comb. It "zaps" anything in the hair. LOL! I found it at Walmart near the eye-glass section, and they are sold them online, too.

What killed off the live lice for us was a combination of what a pediatrician recommended and a home remedy a friend recommended. The pediatrician recommended that we follow-up treatment by putting an excess of Dippity-Do in the child's hair, letting it dry, and leaving it in overnight in order to suffocate whatever live lice were left. The home remedy that was recommended was saturating the hair with mayonnaise and then wrapping it tightly with Saran Wrap to suffocate whatever live lice were left.

We couldn't find Dippity-Do, but we found a similar product at Rite-Aid (although I've seen it at Walmart, too) called La bella Styling Gel. It's in a tub and is light yellow color. We used the "Ultimate Hold" type. We parted the hair in little sections, saturating the roots first. [After the La bella, we used mayonnaise, too, "just to be safe." But, we won't do that again. The mayo melted once warm on the head and dripped.] Once we were done with the saturation, we combed the hair up at all the hairlines, and wrapped the head tightly with a great plastic wrap called Press 'N Seal, with the sticky side IN, pressing out the air bubbles as we went.

Without a pillow (so they wouldn't slip down and pull off the plastic wrap), we lay them down on their bed on top of a towel for the night. [I've heard to leave the head wrapped "12-24 hours" since then. We'll probably do 12-14 hours tonight.]

This did the trick. We wished we had done this (without the mayonnaise) and used the Robi Comb during from the beginning, as the Nix didn't do anything anyway.


    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 6:49AM
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"It only takes 2 missed nits and the cycle starts over."
Therein might lie the problem. A friend who teaches in the local public schools tells me that they can no longer do anything, when they see nits on a child. They cannot report it to the school authorities; only lice themselves are reportable.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 2:09PM
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Several years ago, my young daughter caught these too. Funny thing is, I never got them. It's funny because my daughter and I always have our heads together. Unlike my daughter, I blow dry my hair every single day. I have always wondered if this prevented them from thriving and have further wondered if putting a child under a hair dryer for 30-60 minutes might work (didn't think of this until too late to try)...

For us, we eventually had to get a prescription shampoo - nothing else worked over the several month battle we had. My daughter has very long, very thin/fine hair (just like mine) - and short of shaving her head (if she was a boy, I would have done that!), I finally went to the Dr. for help.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 2:54PM
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Well, I hope the OP finally got rid of her pesky problem. I, like jeri, had to result to a strong prescription from the pediatrician. They are most definitely resistant to OTC cures.

I also agree -- don't waste your time washing sheets and bagging up stuffed animals -- cure what is on the head! Lice are practically immobile off the human head and soon die.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 2:03PM
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