Three Things Parents Need To Know About Smothering Lice

Nit combs are very fine combs that are used to remove lice and eggs from a child's hair, but if your child has very curly hair, using a nit comb may be difficult or even impossible. Fortunately, nit combs aren't the only way to get rid of lice. You can also smother the lice with liquids like olive oil. Here are three things parents need to know about this treatment.

What liquids can be used?

A number of liquids can be used to smother head lice, and the great thing is that you probably have some of them in your home already. Oils, like olive oil, are a good option, as are any other products that have a lot of oil, like mayonnaise. Petroleum jelly is also suitable for this purpose. Stick to safe products that are meant to be eaten or applied to your skin and steer clear of dangerous oils like motor oil.

How do you smother lice?

Smothering lice can be a messy process, so it's best to perform this treatment in the bathtub. Thoroughly coat your child's hair with your oily product of choice, making sure that all of their hair strands are smothered in the product. You may want to use a wide-toothed comb to help spread the oily product throughout their hair.

Lice can survive without oxygen for a lot longer than a human can, so you'll need to leave the oily product on your child's hair. The product should be left in place for more than 12 hours to be sure that the lice have been deprived of oxygen for long enough. To hold the oil in place—and keep your child from making a mess of your house or their bed—place a shower cap on top of their treated hair.

How well does smothering work?

Smothering lice is reported to be a very effective method, and it's considered to be the best way to get rid of lice on curly hair. However, you may need to repeat the treatment as needed until all of the lice and eggs are gone. Smothering reduces egg hatch by suffocating the eggs, but since some may still hatch, you'll need to keep checking your child's hair for adult lice and re-treating as needed.

Not being able to use a nit comb on your child's hair doesn't mean that you can't get rid of their lice. Try smothering their lice with olive oil or another greasy product.