Every school child knows the feeling of the school nurse checking his or her head for lice. And every parent certainly knows the dread of learning a child in the school, or his or her own child, has been infected by creepy, crawling lice. But what exactly makes these creatures such menaces? Kids Health explains head lice are tiny insects that make human hair their homes and feed on blood drawn from the scalp. Yuck!
Lice are mostly harmless. Unlike ticks, they do not spread disease. But they are incredibly irritating and highly contagious. When lice bite, they release saliva. This saliva is what causes itching. The biggest danger with head lice is that scratching opens wounds and leads to bacterial infection. If you notice your child itching his or her head, be sure to check for lice and don’t hesitate to use these home remedies to get rid of those creepy, crawling critters!
1. Olive oil. Olive oil suffocates and kills lice on the spot, says Health.com. The best method is to comb the hair to remove eggs and then massage olive oil into the scalp. Put on a shower cap and let the olive oil seep into the hair and scalp overnight.
2. Mayonnaise. Health.com and moms alike love this home remedy. Coat the full head of hair and massage it into the scalp. Cover the head with a shower cap and let the mayonnaise sit overnight. Wash it out with a mild shampoo in the morning and then using a comb, remove any left-over eggs.
3. Apple cider vinegar and coconut oil. Mommy Potamusrecommends rinsing lice-infected hair with apple cider vinegar. Once the hair is dry (don’t wash out the vinegar!) coat the scalp and hair with coconut oil. Put on a shower cap and let the mixture soak in for a minimum eight hours. Repeat this home remedy once a week for three weeks to make sure you get every last bugger.
4. Salt and vinegar. This combination is effective in dehydrating and killing lice, says Mommy Potamus. The easiest way to use this home remedy is to pour 1/4 cup salt and 1/4 cup warm water into a spray bottle. Spray the hair and scalp and then allow the mixture to sit until the hair is completely dry. Next, coat the hair and head with coconut or olive oil. Again, this treatment works best if kept in overnight or for a period of eight hours or more.
5. Tea tree oil. Studies have shown that tea tree oil is amazingly effective in treating lice. To use this home remedy, Mommy Potamus suggests mixing about 20 drops of tea tree oil into 2 teaspoons of your regular shampoo and using the mixture to wash your hair.
6. Hot coconut oil. Beyond Disease says coconut oil is especially effective in treating lice because it contains lauric acid, which is anti-microbial and protects against secondary infections. The fatty acids in coconut oil are also helpful in suffocating the lice. To use this home remedy, heat coconut oil in a pan or in the microwave. Make sure the oil is hot, but not scalding. Use your fingers to massage the warm oil into the hair. Let it sit for 30 minutes and then use a comb to remove the eggs.
7. Hair dryer. The heat from a hair dryer is effective in killing 55% of live lice and 98% of lice eggs, claims Beyond Disease. Starting from the scalp and working your way to the ends, hold the dryer on small sections of your hair for 15- 60 seconds.
8. Onion. Onions are high in sulphur, a chemical thought to effectively kill lice. Beyond Disease, therefore, recommends making a paste out of blended onions. Put the paste into a sieve and extract the juice. Use this liquid to massage your scalp. Cover your hair with a shower cap for at least two hours and then shampoo and dry using a hair dryer. Use this treatment for three days and then once a month for the following two months.
Lice can be a total pain. And even though they seem to never go away, these home remedies prove that the annoying pests can be defeated!
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RESOURCES KID’S HEALTH, HEALTH.COM, MOMMY POTAMUS, AND BEYOND DISEASE