Natural Remedies for Lice - Ted's Q&A

Browse Ted's Q&A

Serious Head Lice Issue in Indiana

Posted by Carrie (Indiana) on 01/28/2008

HI there. We just moved to Indiana from California, and we are fighting head lice for the first time. My daughters are 5 and 10, and I am at my wit's end after spending close to $1000.oo on product. The nurse keeps telling me to get the nits out, and we comb out every morning and night, as well as treat their hair every 7 days with whatever I have not yet tried. We have a beautiful 4500 sq ft house with many new furniture pieces and newly painted walls, yet the school nurse says that the "house" may have had lice when we moved in. The 10 yr-old house was empty in August when we moved in, so I cannot fathom how there could have been lice in it. Please help me if you can. I have tried all of your suggestions, but we cannot get rid of this insipid creature. My 10 yr-old has gorgeous clean thick blonde hair, and my younger girl has straight blonde shoulder length hair, and I comb them out every morning and every night. I am going insane and broke with this. I pick the nits with my fingernails as my baby screams. The school nurse treats me like a terrible mother because the girls still have nits, and they are the "only ones" at school, in both the Kinder and 5th grade classes. Also, it is against school policy to send a note home stating that lice has been discovered at school, and the nurse doesn't have time to check all the kids. So my gut says the kids got the bugs at school, yet the school is not equipped to check all the kids. I even offered to get a parent group to check, but apparently that is against the law too. In California, I was on my friend's committee to check all the kids for lice. She was a non-working doctor, and the committee got it done in one day. I suggested that here in Indiana, and I was laughed out of the office because of the laws. What am I doing wrong?

Replied by Ted
Bangkok, Thailand
391 posts

Dear Carrie:

I don't know which remedies you tried, but the most common way to rid of head lice is saturated borax in 1% hydrogen peroxide, no rinsing, done in late evening and rinse in the morning. This is done for about at least 3 days in a row. Most reinfection comes from the eggs, but if the bed, carpet is sprayed with peroxide and borax solution (no borax precipitate is added), then they should dry of the rest of the eggs and small lice in area. Lice tends to have hives in the bed, so disinfection with this solution as well as all pillows is important. They may also exist in the closets, rugs, and unused combs. Reinfection is the real problem on stubborn lice condition. If it is very serious after shampooing with borax and some hydrogen peroxide, of 1% or less, a child should not sleep in the usual room if it comes to the extend that nothing was successful.

Finally, once this is used for 3 days in a row, a DEET spray is sprayed every 12 hours (such as OFF!), in small amount lightly around the bed and clothes and area of the head to prevent reinfection of the head lice.

It should be noted that school quarantine does help prevent further spread, but they may have not used any natural pesticides sprayed in the school premises and this may render quarantine ineffective and hence reinfection is still possible in school on issue of mites longer than expected. Most head lices seem to spread in school lockers and other places where students are held close to each other.

Replied by Cory
Lima, Oh

How much Borax and how much Peroxide do you have to mix for the spray and to put on your hair?

Replied by Ron
Round Rock, Texas USA

Thanks Ted for the simple and effective treatment for eliminating lice: I wanted to confirm the borax & hydrogen peroxide; tea tree oil lavender oil treatment works well. Thanks for sharing the knowledge.

Ted from Bangkok: "... Try shampooing in just a saturated solution of borax with 1% hydrogen peroxide solution. Apply tea tree oil plus lavender oil generously overnight.

Replied by Eileen
New York

If your children keep coming home from school with active lice and no notes are being sent to other parents, there is quite possibly an epidemic. You should see your pediatrician. He/She will notify the Department of health. The frequent treatments are NOT healthy for your girls.

Replied by Steven

Can someone answer this question on the correct way to mix the borax and peroxide? kind of important.

Replied by Tamara

Is it a 50/50 solution?