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Stacey Solomon: My itchy head turned out to be a NIT infestation – and I had to have my hair extensions removed


I REMEMBER the time I had nits. It all started with an itchy head. I assumed I had a dry scalp and that maybe my extensions had grown out too long.

But then I noticed I wasn’t the only one itching. The boys were scratching, too.

 Our Fabulous columnist Stacey Solomon recalls the time her and her boys tackled pesky nits

Stacey Solomon

Our Fabulous columnist Stacey Solomon recalls the time her and her boys tackled pesky nits

I thought it might be a new shampoo or washing powder. But then the penny dropped – HEAD LICE.

“How could this be..?” I cried. Having to dig the nit comb out and pull it through my thick, wiry, extension-clad hair made me want to cry.

Also, who’s supposed to get rid of nits when you’re an adult? Do you go to the hairdresser? Call your mum? Make Joe do it?! I knew I’d have to tackle the blighters on my own.

I covered me and the boys in nit shampoo and started combing my hair through.

 Stacey says she caught nits from her boys when they attended primary school

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Stacey says she caught nits from her boys when they attended primary school

Fortunately for them, they had just a few big ones and a couple of eggs.

I, however, was infested. I had to get my extensions taken out and comb through them again. And again.

It seemed as though they’d used Zach and Leighton to get to me. My hair must have been a nit Mecca or something because I had a whole city’s worth in there.

It’s as if the nit population had been plotting, ever since I left primary school, to get back onto my hair.

 Stacey once had a bowl cut to help tackle the head lice

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Stacey once had a bowl cut to help tackle the head lice

I used to get nits all the time as a kid. I was six when I first encountered the egg planting hair vermin.

I vividly remember sitting in the bath while my mum yanked through my thick, course hair with a nit comb. It was hell.

My mum spent a fortune on fancy bug-busting shampoos and hours combing them out one by one.

In despair, she once even gave me a bowl cut. But they still found a way of hopping straight back onto my head.

 Stacey with her boys Zach and Leighton and boyfriend Joe Swash

INSTAGRAM, @staceysolomon

Stacey with her boys Zach and Leighton and boyfriend Joe Swash

What are nits and how do you catch them?

Nits are very common. They are small (adult lice are the size of a sesame seed) grey-brown insects that live only on human scalps. They cannot fly or jump; neither can they burrow into the scalp. They can affect anyone, with long or short hair, no matter how clean the hair is.

They are usually picked up by head-to-head contact; it takes about 30 seconds for a single louse to transfer from one scalp to another. Less often, sharing hats, combs or pillows can spread them. Head lice live only on humans and die in a day or two away from the human scalp. They cannot be caught from animals.

Head lice and nits can affect anyone, but are:

  • Most common in children between the ages of 4 and 11
  • More common in girls than boys
  • Most often found at the start of the school year

I used to refrain from itching my scalp at all costs. If mum clocked I’d be sent straight to the bathroom for an inspection.

It’s embarrassing how much I hate having my hair brushed. I even wince through blow-dries at the salon.

I have such a low pain threshold I think people are baffled how I even manage to get out of bed in the morning, let alone go through labour twice.

My hair is like horse hair. Honestly, each strand is so ridiculously thick it wouldn’t fit in the teeth of the nit comb.

 Stacey and her sons have just moved in with Joe

INSTAGRAM, @staceysolomon

Stacey and her sons have just moved in with Joe

I finally managed to rid myself of nits by the time I got to secondary school.

After living a nit-free life for so long I’d completely forgotten they existed. I certainly never anticipated having them again as an adult. Oh, how wrong I was.

The boys contracted them when they went to primary school. They’re home schooled now and haven’t had them since.

After that one infestation – I don’t have them anymore – I’ve become hyper vigilant of those pesky human fleas.

I check the boys regularly and I’ve totally turned into my mum – if I see them itch, it’s straight to the bathroom and out with the comb.

My hair seems to be such an appealing environment for nits so I have to be on my guard.

There’s not a lot you can do to prevent nits. It’s annoying that nit shampoo is so expensive, anything up to £13, it’s not a viable option for everyone.

I was saddened to hear that doctors have been banned from prescribing ‘Bug Buster’ kits as health authorities look to save £100m a year.

How to treat nits

Lice and nits can be removed by combing wet hair. This method should be tried first.

You can buy a special fine-toothed comb (detection comb) online or from pharmacies to remove head lice and nits.

It usually takes about 10 minutes to comb short hair, and 20 to 30 minutes for long, frizzy or curly hair.

If wet coming doesn’t work there are medicated lotions and sprays available fom pharmacies, supermarkets and online.

When my mum refused to buy the shampoo, because it was so outrageously expensive, she turned to natural remedies. She tried everything – tea tree oil, Vaseline, garlic, and even mayonnaise at one point. Nothing worked.

Ultimately it was a collective effort and the best method seemed to be combing through our hair strand by strand.

I’m always on nit patrol and try and keep a safe distance when I spot someone giving their head a good scratch.

 Stacey is disappointed the NHS have stopped issuing 'Bug Buster' kits
Stacey is disappointed the NHS have stopped issuing ‘Bug Buster’ kits

Schools have been warned there could be a head lice epidemic this winter after the NHS has axed treatment for children.

The itchy bugs may spread rapidly between pupils as families low on cash will struggle with the cost of repeat treatment.

Frances Fry, a spokeswoman for The Community Hygiene Concern charity said: “Not everyone can afford to repeatedly buy head lice treatments, which are very, very expensive and can be ineffective.”

She added: “Children whose parents cannot afford the treatments will be victimised and bullied, and all the judgements and stigmas will return.”

In her last column Stacey revealed why she would NEVER get the Kardashian-favourite treatment – anal bleaching. 

And she previously revealed she has tried Botox and why she would never do it again.

Stacey Solomon dances with her kids in the back garden to Drake’s ‘In My Feelings’

 



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