July 18, 2017

The lice-repellent routine every teacher should do before school

In my first year of teaching, I had two students who continually had lice/nits ALL YEAR. This created three large cases of lice throughout my classroom, with at least half the class affected each time.* As a naive teacher never encountering lice before, I figured I'd be safe because it's not as if I was rubbing heads with six year olds all day like they do on the playground. But as many of you know, lice is INCREDIBLY contagious and if someone around you has it (let alone in a small classroom), chances are very likely that you will have it, too. After having lice three times in one year- which meant endless tears, spending hundreds on lice supplies, and bagging up everything I owned- I was determined to find a routine that worked.

*Note: All pillows, stuffed animals, and fabric of any kind were removed after the first case. So although many might like to blame the teacher for the continual outbreak (I received plenty of those fun emails and phone calls), we immediately removed anything the critters would've clung to within the first month of school.

I began this routine in February and did it every day until the end of the school year. During these last 4 months of school, there were ten students in my room still bringing in bugs, but my hair was protected and stayed lice-free! As frustrating as my classroom situation was, not getting lice myself that time around is a true testament to this amazing lice-repellent routine.

I recommend all teachers start this on the first day of school. Speaking from experience, it is MUCH better to spend a little time and money on being proactive than going through the unbelievable stress in the middle of the school year hearing those 3 awful words: "You have lice." Follow this routine and you will be grateful to have one less thing to worry about as the kids come into your classroom this year!

Supplies needed:
- Tea tree oil
- Peppermint oil
- Clove oil
- Lavender oil
- Distilled water
- Spray bottle
- Hairspray

1. Create your DIY Prevent Mixture
After a lot of research, I found my favorite DIY lice prevention spray here and modified it to make a large mixture for my very long year!

32 oz. spray bottle
Distilled water to fill most of the bottle
120 drops of tea tree oil
60 drops of peppermint oil
40 drops of lavender oil
60 drops of clove oil

2. Spray the Prevent Mixture at night and right before school
I use this spray right when I get out of the shower and also right when I wake up before styling my hair. In my opinion, you can never use too much of this heavenly spray!

3. The higher the bun, the better
Here's a quick video of me twisting my hair into a high bun for the day. It has now become my trademark at my school and I am definitely okay with that! It's super simple, my hair is out of my face all day, and I never have to worry about it coming in contact with any critters from my students' hair.

4. Hairspray, hairspray, and more hairspray
This acts as a nice shield to any lice throughout the day. It's awful to think about, but with all the hugs you get in a day, you never know if a bug may crawl on your clothing and work its way up to your hair. AHH! Any kind of hairspray can guard against that, but I particularly love Fairy Tales hair spray on Amazon with the rosemary scent that lice also hate. Click here to find it!

Extra facts about lice:
- They don't like dirty hair. The dirty hair means it's extra oily, which makes it hard for them to cling onto the hair, so try not to wash your hair during the week if lice is going around your school.
- Lice do not jump or fly. They crawl quickly from one head to the next, and can hide in cloth or fabric for up to 48 hours.
- They cannot live without the human scalp after 24-48 hours. While some say to bag up your clothing or bedding for 2 weeks, if a louse is on a piece of clothing for longer than 2 days, it will die because it needs the warmth of a human host. Ridiculously gross, I know. :(
- Lice lay eggs (nits) very quickly and in clusters. These nits are wrapped around the hair follicle as if almost glued to it, usually about 1/4 inch from the scalp. If you see a cluster of white specs in your hair, try flicking the strand of hair and if they stick or do not move, they are most likely nits laid from a louse. Ask someone to examine your head for any more clusters to be sure.

For any questions or tips on lice/nits, feel free to leave a comment here or send me an email! I hope this routine helps you stay lice-free for a successful school year. :)

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