Getting rid of head lice is something you will have to do sometime in your life. Even numerous times in your life. To have lice in your head is frustrating and the instant relief that itching gives you is actually making matters worse. We know that, but it never stops us from itching and scratching at it. That is until we can’t take it anymore and just want to get rid of it. That is when this article will come in handy. We will help you with 7 home remedies that will help you get rid of this problem.
About Head Lice
Head lice are parasitic insects that live off of human blood. They are very tiny, and they house themselves on our scalp and wreck havoc. Fortunately for us, they are not filled with diseases. They are just a constant inconvenience once you catch them. They lay dandruff-sized eggs called nits. These nits are white, brown or yellow in color and are attached to the hair about an inch from the scalp where the environment is just warm enough for hatching. These nits are made up of waterproof and glue-like substance that ensures that they are not blown away. They also cannot be washed out or brushed away with the comb.
Head Lice Life Cycle
They hatch about in about 1 or 2 weeks after they are laid. A baby louse (louse is singular for lice) is called nymphs and they take 1 to 2 weeks to become an adult. They are greyish-white or tan in color. They feed blood from the scalp several times a day and can survive up to 1 or 2 days away from the scalp.
The itching may be mild for most people but if it is not, it could lead to a bacterial infection. If you think that your child is scratching excessively, then take him/her to a doctor to treat the infection. Lice are more commonly found in children. A lot of the lice can be found at the neckline and also behind the ears, so that’s where you should start looking.
Types Of Lice
There are 3 types of lice that humans catch. They are – body lice, pubic lice, and of course, head lice. There are all different and getting one type of lice does not mean that you will get others or that head lice will start living on your body or go into the pubic area. Now that’s a scary thought!
Head Lice Symptoms
The primary symptoms of head lice include the following-
- The ticklish feeling on the scalp
- The sored you get by scratching when you feel itchy
- Sleep deprivation caused due to discomfort and itching as the lice are most active when it’s dark so they will be more troublesome at night
Not every child will have these classic symptoms of head lice. They may seem symptom-free as well. Only the doctor will be able to tell if your child is infested with head lice or not. So if you see any of the above symptoms, frequent scratching and ticklish feeling in the scalp, then take your child to the doctor and get them checked. It may require treatment, depending on how bad it is.
How Do You Get Head Lice
Lice don’t have wings to fly off from head to head. Neither can they hop. So they usually crawl from 1 head to another. Lice cannot survive for long when they are not on a scalp. There’s a chance you may get lice from using someone else’s hair brushes, scarfs, or hats. But usually, the lice found on these belongings of the person infected with head lice, are all injured. So they might not be able to reproduce on your scalp even if it gets transferred to your head.
Children below the age of 10 are most likely to catch head lice. One of the theory for this is that children make the most head to head contact during these years. So now you know where lice come from, you can take some precautions so as to prevent catching them.
How Do You Know You Have Caught Head Lice?
The diagnosis of catching head lice is made after spotting a louse or nits. They are tiny and they move very quickly so you will need a keen eye and even a magnifying glass to spot them.
7 Natural Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Head Lice
Now we will show you some ways to kill head lice at home without using over-the-counter medication or products. Some of these remedies include smothering the lice by coating them in oil. This makes their pace slower and makes it easier for us to catch.
1. Olive Oil For Lice Treatment
You will need to apply olive oil all over your scalp so as to drown them in it. Apply generously. Wear a shower cap on it and let it work its magic overnight. You will be able to spot lice much easier the next day. Use a fine-tooth comb and try removing lice and nits by hand that you can see. Wash your hair and repeat this procedure every other day. You might need to do this 3-4 times before you are completely rid of lice. You should buy the lice comb for this. It is a very fine tooth comb that can help you remove lice. You will need to keep your scalp saturated with olive oil for at least 8 hours. This procedure is helpful mostly when you need to remove the live lice. You will have a difficult time removing all the nits with this procedure.
The drawback of this treatment is that olive oil is expensive. This procedure takes a few days even weeks to remove all the lice. Despite the benefits of the olive oil, it is the lice comb that does most of the work. So make sure to use the lice comb all over your scalp several times before washing off your hair.
The advantage of this technique is that olive oil is a completely natural product. So no chemicals are harming your scalp. It does not leave a bad odor. And it nourishes your hair in the process.
2. Coconut Oil for Lice Treatment
This is similar to the smothering effect created by olive oil. People usually prefer to use coconut oil instead of olive oil, as it is less expensive and available everywhere.
For this treatment, you will need to wash out your hair and let it dry. Then apply this oil generously on the scalp. Repeat the procedure of going through your hair with the lice comb. If the problem persists after repeating this procedure a few times, then you should consider going to the doctor.
3. Listerine for Lice Treatment
Remove lice by using Listerine can be very easy and effective. You just have to douse your hair in Listerine and keep it cover for a couple of hours. It will kill the lice on your head in some time. There might be some lice left, so use a lice comb after you have left Listerine on the scalp for a few hours. Make sure that Listerine does not go into your eyes and ears while you are applying on your hair.
4. Vinegar for Lice Treatment
For this procedure, you will have to dilute the vinegar with some water and then apply on your scalp. You will need to wait an hour at least for this to work so you should cover your head with a towel or a shower cap. This removes lice and nits from your head by separating them from your hair and scalp. It makes it easy for you to remove them using the lice comb. Thoroughly wash your hair after this so as to remove all the dead lice and remaining nits.
5. Baking Soda and Hair Conditioner for Lice Treatment
Take a spoonful of baking soda in a bowl and add a generous amount of conditioner to it. Make a paste and apply it on your scalp. Leave it untouched for an hour so that the mixture can work on the parasites. After that, you will have to comb your hair with lice comb with the mixture still in your hair. Wife off your comb after combing each time and you will notice that all the lice and nits are coming out. The lice are unable to breathe when this mixture is added to the scalp and they immediately come off. Make sure that you only apply it to your scalp and not anywhere else on your face. You might have to repeat this process 2-3 times more.
6. Petroleum Jelly/Vaseline for Lice Treatment
Apply petroleum jelly to your scalp and let it work overnight on the lice. It will create an environment that will not be habitable for the lice. So the next morning, when you comb through your hair with a lice comb, the lice and the eggs will easily come off. The drawback is that it is difficult to remove petroleum jelly with just 1 wash. But that’s a small price to pay as this method has been found to be the most effective in getting rid of head lice permanently.
7. Salt and Vinegar for Lice Treatment
This is the easiest procedure and takes the least amount of effort as you don’t have to comb your hair with a lice comb. All you have to do is mix salt and vinegar into a spray bottle and spray the mixture on your head. Be careful not to spray it in your eyes. Wash off this mixture after keeping it untouched for a couple of hours. Salt will naturally kill all the lice in your head which can be removed after a thorough hair wash. This is the best lice cure of all the 7 home remedies as it is the most easily available and you don’t have to do much here.
Other Working Remedies
There are several other oils that you can use instead of just coconut and olive. You can use eucalyptus oil, neem tree oil, baby oil and even vegetable oil. You can even use alcohol to cure head lice problem. Using mayonnaise is also said to help remove head lice but it leaves a very bad odor and it is very difficult to wash off.
How To Prevent Head Lice
There is really nothing you can do to completely prevent head lice. No vaccination can be taken to avoid it permanently. But you can take certain precautions to reduce the chances of being infested or reinfested by lice. You can explain to your child to avoid head contact with anyone. They should be warned not to use someone else things that have been on their head, like scarfs, hats, caps, combs and brushes. If your child has just been disinfected from head lice, then make sure to wash all of their bedsheets and clothes in hot water so as to kill all the remaining lice. Clean out the lice combs and the other brushes that they used.
When you are infected with lice-
- Don’t keep scratching at it; it will only make things worse.
- Don’t immediately go for over-the-counter medication. First, try wet combing through your hair. Try any of the above remedies and then ask your health care provider to prescribe you medication if the problem still persists.
- Don’t keep using the same medication if it hasn’t shown improvement after a while and make sure not to use more than 1 medication at a time.
- Don’t use essential oils on your head to treat lice as it has not shown to be an effective treatment.
- Don’t shave off all of your lice infested hair. It is just an inconvenience for a few days. No need for drastic measures.