Advertisement

The Insider's Guide to Healthy Hawaii: Getting Rid of Ukus

The Insider's Guide to Healthy Hawaii: Getting Rid of Ukus

Lice are an undeniable nuisance, especially as kids head back to school.

Now that children are back in school, there’s more opportunity for them to get something many parents dread—head lice, or ukus as we call them in Hawaii.

If your child has ever come home with ukus, you know the anxiety this four letter word can cause. They make your head itch just thinking about them. After my first and only experience with these uninvited guests, and after trying almost every suggested remedy I could find online, I can confidently share what I found to be an easy way to get rid of these itchy pests.

We tried it all: over-the-counter medicines, prescription medicines, tea tree oil, peppermint oil, mayonnaise and even petroleum jelly. After 24 (I’m not exaggerating) unsuccessful washings to get the petroleum jelly out of my daughter’s hair, I finally stumbled on a method that worked.

What you’ll need:

  1. Mouth wash – This kills the ukus.
  2. Vinegar – This helps dissolve the “glue” that sticks the uku eggs to the hair shaft.
  3. Spray bottle – This is usually in the travel size section in stores.
  4. Plastic shower cap – The kind your grandma may have used.
  5. Uku comb – I used the metal comb, but you can also use plastic or bamboo.

What you need to do:

  1. Pour mouth wash in spray bottle and spray hair from root to tip until soaked.
  2. Cover hair with the shower cap and wrap in a towel.
  3. Wait one hour, remove towel and shower cap. Shampoo and condition hair.
  4. Pour vinegar in spray bottle and spray hair from root to tip until soaked.
  5. Cover hair with the shower cap and wrap in a towel.
  6. Wait half an hour, remove towel and shower cap. Shampoo and condition hair.
  7. Use the uku comb on small sections of hair and comb from root to tip.
  8. Make sure to comb every section.
  9. Wash all bedding and clothing in hot water and use a clothes dryer.

Using the uku comb will pull all the nits away from the scalp. Nits use the heat from your scalp to incubate and hatch. If they’re too far from the scalp, they won’t get the heat they need and will eventually fall off. Wait a few days, and repeat the entire treatment, just to be sure. And if you want to be extra sure, do it again a week after the original treatment.

Technically, that’s all you need to do. It sounds easy and if you’re like me, you’ll want to hand pull out all the nits from your child’s hair under sunlight outdoors. Nits are clear, light brown and shine just a little. They’re very different from dandruff. You can tell what they are because you can’t just dust them off—you have to pull them all the way down the hair shaft.

One more word of advice: make sure you don’t repeat the treatment too often. Your scalp will become dry and you won’t be able to tell if the itch is from dry scalp or from ukus. Good luck!

***Disclaimer: Mouth wash that contains alcohol is not recommended for oral use in children. Please take this into account if you are treating a young child.

This content originally appeared on Well-Being Hawaii.

Medically reviewed in July 2018.

The Insider’s Guide to Healthy Hawaii: Unfiltered
The Insider’s Guide to Healthy Hawaii: Unfiltered
According to Instagram, life is beautiful. We see people with toned bodies and sun-kissed tans hiking lush valleys, jumping into crystal-clear pools o...
Read More
The Insider’s Guide to Healthy Hawaii: Boxing for Better Well-Being
The Insider’s Guide to Healthy Hawaii: Boxing for Better Well-Being
A year and a half ago, something didn’t feel right to Jesse Masuda of Mililani. He knew that his unhealthy lifestyle was contributing to being overwei...
Read More
The Insider’s Guide to Healthy Hawaii: Listen to Your Heart
The Insider’s Guide to Healthy Hawaii: Listen to Your Heart
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), cardiovascular disease, like heart disease and stroke, is the leading global cause of death, with o...
Read More
The Insider’s Guide to Healthy Hawaii: Good Friends for Better Health
The Insider’s Guide to Healthy Hawaii: Good Friends for Better Health
How much time do you spend with friends? Work and family take up so much of our lives that it sometimes feels impossible to make time for fun. But sci...
Read More