Head lice infestation also known as Pediculus humanus capitis, are parasites that infect the head and feeds on your blood. They lay eggs at hair shaft base, where they get attached. Head lice mostly affects children in elementary or middle school, but anyone can get affected. Lice spread by direct contact or by sharing bedding and pillows with someone who is infected. These tiny mites can trigger intense itching and may even create a rash if left untreated. It is not just disgusting to look at, but embarrassing as well, which is why it is important to treat them immediately. Here are some home remedies to get rid of head lice effectively.
Treatment for head lice is recommended for persons diagnosed with an active infestation. All household members and other close contacts should be checked; those persons with evidence of an active infestation should be treated. Some experts believe prophylactic treatment is prudent for persons who share the same bed with actively-infested individuals. All infested persons (household members and close contacts) and their bedmates should be treated at the same time.
One of the best ways to get rid of head lice is to suffocate them. Smothering treatments will stun the lice and make them slower, which will make it easier to catch them on the comb. Neem can help you do that. Neem has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that can help to improve blood circulation and reduce itchiness.
How to use: Make a paste of neem leaves and apply it directly to your head. Cover it with a shower cap and leave it overnight. Rinse your hair with water in the morning and use a nit comb to catch the remaining lice. Do this twice a week for effective results.
Tree Tea Oil
While essential oils are good for your hair, in general, tea tree oil is one of the most effective remedies to get of head lice. It contains ovicidal and insecticidal effects, which means it kills lice and its eggs.
How to use: Apply a few drops of the oil to the affected scalp and leave it overnight. Comb your hair the next morning to remove all the dead nits from your hair.
Just like neem, it smothers the lice and helps to comb them all out from the hair. It is believed that it can ease the itching and scalp irritation caused by nits.
How to use: All you have to do is rub mayonnaise directly on the affected scalp and cover it with a shower cap. Keep it covered until the next morning and rinse. Don’t forget to comb all the lice out. You can do it again if required.
The presence of acetic acid in vinegar will help extract all the moisture in order to eradicate head lice. You can use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar as a home remedy for this.
How to use: Mix 1-part vinegar with 1-part water and apply on the scalp. Cover it and leave for about half an hour. Now, comb the hair to get rid of the lice and its eggs. Following this, rinse your hair with water.
Petroleum jelly too suffocates the lice and kills them all. While this an effective remedy, you may have to wash your hair repeatedly to get petroleum jelly out of your head.
How to use: Apply a thick layer of petroleum jelly onto the affected scalp and leave it overnight. Apply a bit of baby oil on the nit comb to remove the jelly along with the lice. Wash the hair to completely get rid of jelly as well as lice.
Head lice do not survive long if they fall off a person and cannot feed. You don’t need to spend a lot of time or money on housecleaning activities. Follow these steps to help avoid re–infestation by lice that have recently fallen off the hair or crawled onto clothing or furniture.
- Machine wash and dry clothing, bed linens, and other items that the infested person wore or used during the 2 days before treatment using the hot water (130°F) laundry cycle and the high heat drying cycle. Clothing and items that are not washable can be dry–cleanedORsealed in a plastic bag and stored for 2 weeks.
- Soak combs and brushes in hot water (at least 130°F) for 5–10 minutes.
- Vacuum the floor and furniture, particularly where the infested person sat or lay. However, the risk of getting infested by a louse that has fallen onto a rug or carpet or furniture is very small. Head lice survive less than 1–2 days if they fall off a person and cannot feed; nits cannot hatch and usually die within a week if they are not kept at the same temperature as that found close to the human scalp. Spending much time and money on housecleaning activities is not necessary to avoid reinfestation by lice or nits that may have fallen off the head or crawled onto furniture or clothing.
- Do not use fumigant sprays; they can be toxic if inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
Source: Healthsite.com, CDC
The views expressed in this article should not be considered as a substitute for a physician’s advice. Always make sure to seek a doctor or a professional’s advice before proceeding with the home treatment plan.