Lice infestation is one of the most frustrating experiences one can have.
Lice are tiny parasitic insects that can live on any part of the body where hair is present in large amount such as the pubic region, eyelashes and, of course, hair on the head. In this article, we will be discussing five home remedies that can help you get rid of head lice infestation.
How to tell when you have lice
You may experience the following if you have lice in your hair:
- Uncomfortably itchy scalp. This may be the result of adult lice sucking blood from the scalp
- Feeling of moving insect in the hair.
- Sores on your scalp. If you have lice, you may find yourself scratching your scalp frequently, and this repeated scratching may cause injuries. The lice themselves may injure you while they are feeding, leaving you with scalp sores.
- You may notice alive or dead lice falling from your hair while combing.
- You may also notice tiny dandruff-like particle on your hair strands; those are louse eggs (nits) which are typically located inches away from the scalp.
Lifecycle of a louse
Adult lice are wingless brown or grey colored insects with 6 legs. The female lays 6-10 eggs daily.
Nymphs are young, immature lice
Nits are oval-shaped eggs which are often yellow or white in colour. Attached to the hair shaft, about 1-2 inches away from the scalp, with natural glue-like substance
To fully get rid of an infestation, all these different forms of lice must be removed from the head.
Home remedies for lice infestation
1. Wet combing
An easy way to get rid of lice is by combing wet hair carefully, from root to tip, in order to dislodge adult, nymph or nits in the head.
- Wash your hair to get rid of dandruff and other dirt that may obstruct your vision
- Be in a well-lit area
- Part wet hair into small sections
- Use a wide-toothed comb to detangle section and comb out adults and nymphs
- Use a nit comb, special type of comb aimed at removing hard to remove nits from hair scalp
- Divide into more sections and repeat.
This method is as time consuming as it sounds and it has to be repeated every few days to completely eliminate lice.
2. Try Olive Oil
The bottle of olive oil sitting in your cupboard could save you a lot of itching. Olive oil is heavy and greasy enough to suffocate head lice. One research listed olive oil as one of the most effective natural home treatments for head lice.
- Divide hair into sections
- Apply a generous amount of olive oil to both the scalp and hair strands
- Cover with thick shower cap for at 6-8hours or overnight to suffocate adults and nits
- After covering hair, you will cut off the lice air supply. This will agitate them and make them move all over the hair in search of air. Thule rapid movement will make you uncomfortable, but endure. It shows that it’s working. You must leave the hair covered for long enough, if not the stubborn creatures may not die.
- Comb out nits
- Wash hair thoroughly to get rid of oil residue on hair.
- You may have to repeat this process every week for month.
3. Coconut oil
This is another staple that can be used to treat head lice at home. Coconut oil can be used in the same way as olive oil. However, may not be as effective for everyone.
Just like olive oil, coconut oil not only suffocates the bugs, the grease may also soothe the scalp and reduce itching sensation.
4. Dry heat
Did you know that your blow dryer can get rid of hair lice? Direct heat can dessicate and dehydrate all lice in every state of its life cycle.
- Part clean hair into sections.
- Use hand held blow dryer to direct hot air on the exposed scalp and hair shaft.
- Repeat for every section until all hair has been covered.
5. Try over-the-counter medications
Try over-the-counter medications like permethrin or anti-lice shampoo and follow instructions to get rid of head lice at home.
Precaution for head lice infestation
Dealing with lice infestation? You should keep these in mind:
- Remove all clothes, beddings and household items that have come close to a lice infested individual, and keep in an airtight container for about two weeks.
- Wash all bedding, scarfs, etc with hot water
- Avoid using conditioner when treating lice. Conditioner can create a barrier that prevents medications from penetrating properly
- Soak all combs and hair care items in hot water for 5-10mins
- Never use snipper or any insecticide on the hair
- Lice is spread via contact, so pay attention to close contact with infected persons. Also avoid sharing combs, pillow cases and other items that have come in close contact with the affected person’s hair.
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