Checking For Lice While You’re On The Road

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Even though we’re a traveling family, we still have to deal with many of the same things that we deal with back home. One of those things is checking for lice. As much as it bugs us (you’re welcome for the pun!), many of the annoying things we deal with at home, we also have to deal with on the road. In fact, sometimes it’s even more important to deal with them when you’re traveling.

We recently suffered a lice outbreak in our family. We think we may have gotten it from one of the buses we rode recently. So this week, our attention has been consumed with figuring out ways of getting rid of lice while we’re travel. And of course, we’re also concerned about how to keep lice away, especially when you’re traveling like us!

Checking hair for lice (February 2019)

Why checking for lice is important when you’re traveling

When you’re traveling, you don’t always have control of the environments that you put your bodies in. Occasionally we find ourselves riding in buses or on airplanes that may be contaminated. Since hiring a private car every where we go or carrying around a portable vacuum to clean every place we go is not feasible, we just have to make do. That’s why checking for lice is so important when you’re traveling.

Back home in the United States, it was a bit easier to prevent our kids from getting lice. Whenever there was a lice outbreak at the school, we were notified by the teachers, and my husband and I would be vigilantly checking for lice in our kids’ hair.

Out here on the road, there’s no school to notify us of lice outbreaks. We don’t know that something’s contaminated with lice until we find it in our kids’ (or our!) hair. Regularly checking for lice as you travel, then, can be really helpful in catching the lice when they’re still small. It can help prevent full-blown outbreaks in your family while you travel.

Unfortunately, we’ve been pretty lax in our lice checking habits lately. Blame it on all that time we spent on the beach in Puerto Escondido! We were just too busy enjoying the laid-back lifestyle of southern Mexico. So when we found lice in my daughter’s hair the other day, we realized we needed to get serious about getting rid of lice. A quick check in everyone else’s hair showed that we had all been contaminated too. This was a full on attack on our family!

Checking for lice in kids
Prepping our daughter’s hair for a lice check (February 2019)

Tips for getting rid of lice when you’re away from home

The challenge of getting rid of lice while you’re traveling is that the usual methods of treatment back home may not be available to you on the road. As soon as we found out we had lice, I reached out to a mom’s group I’m part of on Facebook for their favorite lice remedies.

Use Lice Clinics of America, one of them suggested. Others suggested ordering Nix or Rid on Amazon.

These are all great suggestions for getting rid of lice, except when you’re not in the United States. Since we’re in Mexico, we had to figure out what was readily available for us in country. Fortunately we found a local pharmacy nearby where they sold lice treatment. We picked up a few different bottles, along with a bottle of conditioner, and took them home.

A quick Google search can return all sorts of remedies for getting rid of lice. What’s currently working for us is a combination of treatment with the lice shampoo, along with daily combings with a fine toothed head lice comb. We coat the hair with conditioner and run the comb through to pick out any of the bugs hanging out in the hair. It’s a long tedious process! But after diligently checking for lice every day for the last five days, we are in the homestretch for being lice free. Five more days of our conditioner-combing regimen, and one more treatment of the lice shampoo, and I think we’ll be in the clear!

Treatment for checking for lice
Lice treatment available in Mexico (February 2019)

How to keep lice away while you’re on the road

The best method for staying healthy is prevention. And this is absolutely the case when it comes to lice. Being vigilant about checking for lice is the best method for how to keep lice away when you travel. Don’t be lazy like us! It’s a hassle to have to figure out treatment for lice once you get it. You’re better off not getting it at all.

As I mentioned before, it can be hard to control the environments that your bodies are in when you travel. So on thing you can do is have a routine of checking for lice every night. Pack along a head lice comb in your toiletries, and do a quick check every night before you go to bed. Be sure to get the fine tooth combs with the long metal teeth, so you can get really close to the scalp.

Another useful tip for how to keep lice away is to put a few drops of essential oils in your shampoo. We’ve used lavender essential oil in the past, as well as rosemary oil. Other oils that work include eucalyptus oil and peppermint oil. The oils work as an insect repellent, repelling lice from your hair. Just a few drops in one bottle of shampoo can go a long way to keeping lice away.

Tools for checking for lice
Tools for checking for lice (February 2019)

Making a plan, and keeping a cool head

Even if you do end up getting lice while you travel, the best thing to do is to keep a cool head (figuratively and literally! Lice love nice warm heads). Checking for lice doesn’t have to be a big ordeal, and can be the one thing that can save you from hours of painstaking treatment.

Have you experienced lice when you traveled? Share your methods for getting rid of lice on the road in the comments!

Checking For Lice While You're On The Road | The Wandering Daughter |  Tips for preventing a lice outbreak during travel. Why checking for lice when you travel can help prevent you from getting lice. #travelsafety #lice #health #traveltips

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6 Responses

  1. It helped when you mentioned how you should look for what methods are available to you in your area when trying to get rid of lice. I can see that doing some research beforehand can help you find the best way to avoid these parasites and make sure you stay healthy. We went to Panama last month and think we got lice, so I wanted to learn more about how to get rid of them.

    1. To be honest, we’re still finding nits in my daughter’s hair, even months after that initial outbreak. The most important thing is just to vigilantly combing through the hair with a fine tooth comb, and picking out nits when you see them.

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I'm a travel-loving mom of three from Seattle. Join our adventures as we explore the Pacific Northwest and the world!

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