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Effective Ways To Deal With Head Lice

Updated on December 30, 2014

Head lice are parasitic insects, which, when caught, live on the human scalp within the hair. Head live can't fly or jump so they are only contagious when people (mainly children) put their heads together and the lice will then crawl or climb from one head to the next.

Symptoms

  • Tiny yellow or brown dots on the scalp.

These are the eggs, or nits, and they are embedded into the scalp. The way to tell whether these are eggs or dandruff is to try to brush them out. Dandruff is easily removed whilst the eggs will stay.

  • Scratching or sores from scratching.

Whilst you may not actually see your child scratching their head manically, there could be signs of irritation through rashes and small red bumps. What causes the itching is a reaction to the saliva of the head lice as they bite into the scalp.

Treatments

Contrary to what many say, you don't have to dose your child's hair in vinegar daily or shave their head to the bone. Here's a list of safe treatments:


  • The infamous nit combing

Yes, it's tedious - but it's effective too. Comb your child's hair into sections and run the comb through and through, removing any eggs and head lice you come across. For the best result, combine this method with the others I will list.


  • Pyrethrum

Pyrethrum is an ingredient in most over the counter head lice shampoo. It contains pyrethrins which damage the nervous system of living lice.


  • Olive oil

Olive oil is supposed to suffocate and kill head lice by clogging up their breathing holes. However this method should be carried out overnight and under a shower cap because lice can survive for hours without needing to breathe.


  • Hair dryer

Holding a hairdryer at a high setting to your head is effective in killing eggs, but not so much at killing live lice.


  • Mayonnaise

Some say it works, other don't. But it doesn't hurt to try. Leave it on the hair overnight and hope for the best!

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