After the excitement of going back to school begins to wear off, then comes the reality of all the nasty bugs that the school setting can bring. Classrooms and playgrounds are breeding grounds for a host of nasty ailments, including lice, rashes, impetigo, scabies and more.
Luckily there is help…and much of that help can be found in your essential oil collection. As a matter of fact, if all you have are the “essentials” of essential oils (ie. Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, and Tea Tree) you can deal with almost anything the classroom can dish out!
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to one in four elementary school children in the U.S. get head lice each year. A child can catch head lice from another child during play, or by sharing items such as combs, headphones, towels and beds.
Essential oils are a non-toxic and safe alternative for getting rid of head lice compared to traditional pharmaceutical solutions. A number of essential oils have been shown to be effective—along with combing—in eliminating head lice: Tea Tree, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Thyme, Lemon, Rosemary.
Mix 2 ounces of a carrier oil (olive oil or jojoba are two good choices) with 15 to 20 drops of your preferred essential oil. Apply to the scalp using cotton balls. Leave this mixture on the scalp and hair overnight—at least 12 hours. Comb out and shampoo, rinse, and repeat. An alternative approach is to mix the 15 to 20 drops of essential oil in 4 ounces of rubbing alcohol. Place the mixture in a spray bottle and saturate the hair with it. Again, leave it on for at least 12 hours. Remember—combing out the hair is absolutely essential to remove the lice!
Pink eye (or conjunctivitis) is caused by a virus and results in redness and swelling of the mucous membrane that lines the eyelid. It is very common and very contagious. Most cases of pink eye run their course within a period of 7-10 days. But because pink eye can be irritating and uncomfortable, most people are eager to find a remedy.
- Diffuse near the person affected, especially at bedtime
- Rub oils on the boney area that circles the eye, avoiding direct contact with the eye
Because pink eye is contagious, it is good to take preventive measures by washing hands and refraining from sharing towels or wash cloths.
Impetigo one of the most common skin infections among kids. It can be spread by contact with infected skin, or touching things like clothing, towels, and bed linens that have been touched by infected skin. It usually starts as a red area, which can be painful and itchy. After a day or so, the infected area may become crusty with a characteristic golden color. If not treated, the infection becomes more widespread.
Treatment with essential oils is especially effective because bacteria cannot form a resistance to an essential oil like it can to an antibiotic. Two oils that are typically used to treat impetigo are Tea Tree and Lavender. Both of these oils are strong antiseptic oils, they are also non-toxic and non-irritating as well.
Mix Tea Tree and/or Lavender essential oil half-and-half with a carrier oil (such as jojoba oil, or olive oil) and apply to affected area. Other essential oils that help heal the skin and diminish the condition include Lemongrass, Eucalyptus, and Helichrysum.
Ringworm is not a worm, it is a fungal infection of the skin that grows outward from the center and develops a red ring appearance on the skin. It is most common on the scalp but it can also appear on the body. It is contagious and can be stubborn to treat.
Scabies is caused by small mites that get under the skin and lay eggs which leads to skin irritation. The skin irritation can also develop into an infection.
Adding Lavender to a bath will also help speed the healing process. Draw a warm bath and add about five drops of Lavender oil to the water. This will help soothe the skin and provide some relief from the itching.
Over 2 million children have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), leading to extensive dosing of prescription medication to control symptoms. Parents are frustrated with medicating their young children, while teachers struggle with the growing number of cases, and worry about the demands placed on the classroom environment.
Adequate sleep is also vital for attention and focus. The body obviously needs sleep to build up its energy for the next day, but this is also a time of significant repair. Keep the bedroom a dark and comfortable sleep sanctuary. If your child wants a night light, try to turn it off once they are asleep. Keep electronic gadgets such as televisions and video games outside of the bedroom, as they can become major sleep disruptions.
Here’s a neat trick my sister Dori does with her kids: place several drops of Lavender essential oil onto your child’s favorite stuffed animal and when they snuggle with it in bed they will soon be drifting off to dreamland….naturally.