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Head Lice Natural Treatment - How To Get Rid Of Head Lice Safely And Effectively

Updated on September 9, 2014

Head Lice Information and Treatment

This Head lice natural treatment site is here to help you get rid of head lice and nits when an infestation occurs. Catching head lice is surprisingly common so finding a quick effective cure is essential. Many children become 'lousy' at least once in their school life. It is nothing to be ashamed of, having nits is not a sign of uncleanliness. The key to a proper solution is to employ a remedy that is safe but effective.
You may see and read lots about head lice home remedies using olive oil, mayonnaise and other 'old family' cures. Some may even advocate using kerosine and other hazardous chemicals. Not only are these home remedies unsuitable and ineffective some may be extremely dangerous and possibly deadly.

Head lice are not dangerous but they are an unpleasant and nuisance parasite. To defeat them you need to understand a little about them. How infestation occurs, what lice look like and hot to spot them in the hair. It is also beneficial to know how quickly they can breed and where they lurk so you can track them down.


All the information about dealing with a head lice infestation can be found right here on this page.

HEAD LICE TERMINOLOGY:

These are some of the terms we will talk about here and what they mean.

Head Lice, Nits, Head Lice Life Cycle, Louse, Lice, Nymphs, Bug Busting, Head Bugs, Head Lice Comb, Nit Comb, Nit Shampoo, Lice Shampoo, Head Lice Eggs, Lice Eggs, Nits Eggs, Pediculus Humanus Capitis,

Okay, so now we know what we are dealing with, let's get started. Move down to the next section and we will discover what head lice are and about their lifecycle.

head lice egg on hair strand
head lice egg on hair strand

The Head Lice Life Cycle

The head lice life cycle is useful to know as you will better placed to deal with them. Pediculus humanus capitis or more commonly head lice - (singular louse / plural lice) are parasitic insects that live in the hair and on the scalp of humans feeding off blood. A louse is tiny, about half a rice grain in size and usually a dull gray-brown colour.

After infestation the head lice life cycle follows three distinct phases.

1) NITS : These are the actual eggs of the louse and are oval and almost colourless making them difficult to spot. At about the size of a pinhead the lice eggs are glued to hairs which is why you cannot erradicate headlice simply by washing the hair. Their incubation period is about 7 - 10 days until they eggs hatch.The female louse lays 5/6 eggs per day for her life cycle of some 30 days amounting to around 100 eggs per louse. These eggs are laid at the base of hairs close to the scalp where it is humid, warm and convenient for the newly hatched nymph to begin biting the scalp to feed.

2) NYMPH : This is the newly hatched louse that will mature to adulthood in the space of about a week. The nymph will begin feeding on blood by plunging a Haustellum which is basically its "drinking straw" tube which functions the same way mosquitoes, fleas etc bite and suck blood.

3) ADULT : A louse is the fully grown six legged parasite which lives about a month and must feed approximately every three hours so you can expect between 4 and 8 bites per louse per day, luckily the bites are painless. Away from a human host an adult louse usually dies within two days.

Head lice are wingless and will only ever crawl. Their colour can vary a bit but it is normally greyish / brown.

In the photo above the louse has two 'feelers' on its head which it uses to sense temperature etc. Sure footed, they are able to clamp themselves to hairs with very powerful claws on their feet. That is why you cannot simply wash lice away.

Seeing the Head Lice life cycle we now we know how the little critters live, grow and breed. Next we want to discover how they come along and infest hair. Move down to the next section to find out.

How You Catch Head Lice

People maybe mystified about what causes head lice. Having head lice has nothing at all to do with being 'dirty / unclean / unwashed'. Bathing a hundred times a day will never prevent anyone from becoming infested with lice, its somebody else's fault because they had them first and passed them to you. That is how you catch head lice. Rather like catching a cold, you were just unlucky that's all.

Lice cannot fly so they infect others through simply crawling from one infected host's hair onto another that it is conveniently touching. This means transferance is almost always by actual touch. It is possible to become infected by using a brush or comb or wearing the hat from an infected person. However as mentioned lice do not live long away from a human host and prefer to stay where the food supply is than take off sightseeing.

If you want to imagine how all this can happen picture this scenario.

You are an ordinary everyday mom and one day you wave 9 year old son Timmy off to school. While wrestling with a tough algebra problem in maths lesson Timmy and his best friend Bobby literally put their heads together to figure out the answer. While Timmy and Bobby pore over the answer the head lice Bobby is infested with pour over the border onto Timmy's scalp.

A couple of days later your hair touches Timmy's as you view the picture he brought home from art class and you now have your own dose of lice to nurture.

A couple of days further on as you share a coffee and gossip with your best friend she can't help noticing your beautiful dark hair has developed dandruff. Does your friend have the courage to tell you she has noticed the dandruff is actually MOVING?

So a couple more days later you haven't noticed Timmy has begun to keep scratching his itchy head. But later than night in bed you snuggle close to the love of your life. Along with a little affection you have also shared the bug zoo on your scalp so now the whole family is infested with head lice.

Sound implausible?

I am not a soccer mom, but I am a dad and my son came home from school on no less than FOUR occasions during a three year period of school with head lice caught from fellow classmates. And just in case you were wondering, twice both my wife and I became infested too by the time we realised our son had head lice.

SO believe me folks, In this whole lens, I am talking from experience. I know exactly how you catch head lice.

Catching headlice is so easily done as you have discovered and it can happen to anyone. Go now to the next part to find out how to recognise head lice symptoms.

grim reaper
grim reaper

Head Lice Symptoms and How To Check For Infestation

Don't panic...the situation is not that bad!

By now you know what head lice are but you need to know the warning signs of when they have come to pay a visit. You need to aquaint yourself with the tell-tale head lice symptoms and more importantly how to check for head lice.

There are several things to watch for and you should aquaint yourself with them.

1) Head scratching - If you notice a person constanly scratching at their head take a good close look through their hair to see if there are nits or lice. A good light source and a magnifying glass are helpful. Be sure to check eyebrows and eyelash areas too.

2) Wounds - Have you spotted scabs / raw areas around the head /scalp region or does the person show signs of an infection caused by germs getting into wounds caused bt fingernail scratching.

3) Dandruff - This is not actual dandruff but looks a little like it because the lice can look similar to bits of flaky dandruff in your hair. If you comb your hair you may comb our dead lice onto your clothes.

4) Inspection - The only sure fire way, though time consuming, is regular investigations. If you often brush or when washing your child's hair it is a good idea to have a really close look among their hair. Ensure you inspect the scalp area as this is where the live head lice thrive and the nits are glued to the hair stems.

You should by now have a pretty good idea of what you are up against. You should be clear on what they are and how to check for head lice. Just to help you please spend a minute watching this brilliant video clip below which really will show you what real live head lice look like. Click the 'PLAY BUTTON' in centre screen.

Size Comparison and Removing Lice from Hair

Just so that you will know what to look for when searching for head lice, this video perfectly shows what to expect.

nuclear bomb explosion
nuclear bomb explosion

How to Treat Head Lice

No need to get carried away, a simple remedy is at hand!

So when you have established the little critters have called to pay a visit to a scalp near you the next step is to give these unwanted house guests their marching orders. This is how to treat head lice.

FIRST. WHAT NOT TO DO!

There's lot of information around and you can bet some well intentioned person will want to tell you about their old home remedy their mom always used on them.

Don't listen!

No matter how well intentioned it's probably nonsense anyway.

DO NOT...I have to repeat DO NOT USE =

Mayonnaise - A lot of people swear by it but it is messy and not proven to kill everything.

Kerosene - Petrol - Bleach - Gasolene Are you insane? Do you want to kill your child? NEVER use an of these crazy solutions.

Vinegar- Not proven to be effective.

Petroleum Jelly / Vaselene - Not proven to kill everything and a nightmare to wash out of hair and off clothing.

Hairdryer on Hot - Well that's one sure way to give your child third degree scalp burns.

Insect / bug spray - Another sure fire way to put your child in hospital and you in court for child cruelty!

I think you have got the point now. So what should you do?

Glad you asked.

The only real way to get rid of head lice is a two pronged attack.

You DO wash the hair but with a dedicated herbal shampoo that does not contain harsh chemicals.

The other step is to methodically comb out small sections of hair with a proper lice comb. These combs have very fine teeth especially designed to trap the lice and tug them free from hair. Ideally use an electric lice comb like ones advertised here, they not only detect head lice but zap and kill them for you.

This is not going to be a one time solution, the washing will have to be repeated several times and the combing performed once or twice a day for up to two weeks to be sure.

By this stage we know all about how to treat head lice and about these nasty wee monsters. Scroll down to the next section and choose your weapons.

Headlice won't stand a chance now because you know everything about them and how to defeat them. Armed with the right tools for the job headlice will be no problem from now on!

These Products are Essential in Defeating Head Lice

Much of the mechanics of eradicating head lice is based on personal experience. After reading all the information I have written here, you have stayed with me because you have a head lice problem you need help with. Well firstly, I sympathise because I know exactly how upsetting and horrible it is to see you beautiful child with creatures crawling around in their hair.

Putting fear and distaste aside, you have to confront this problem and put to good use the information I have painstakingly set out for you here. I have done this to help you because I have been in your position myself and I want to help you.

Please, reread the action steps I have set out here and take careful note of the tools and products I have picked out. Everything here is for your benefit to get the job done properly and effectively and I know it works because by trial and error, I found this solution and found success.

The head lice combs displayed here are absolutely essentail in removing the majority of lice and nits from the hair and the shampoos are the final nail in the coffin for them. Using a combination of the two as I have explained will solve your head lice problems pronto!

Head Lice Prevention

Once head lice has been treated and eliminated that isn't the end of the story, re-infection can easily happen. However here are a few simple tips on head lice prevention that can reduce the chances of catching the little critters again.

* Try to make your children understand they should not share or wear hats, coats, hairbands etc. or use combs, brushes or hair adornments from other children. Infected items will transfer the head lice to your kids and infect them.

* Regularly check your own children's clothing right after school and try to nip any possible re-infection in the bud before the lice have chance to get established.

* Check to see where your child / children hang their coats in school. Sometimes shared hooks can spread head lice from one set of garments to others. Claim a separate hook and stick to it.

* Try to warn your kids about close contact with classmates as a means of catching head lice. To be honest, you are probably on a loser with this one as kids will be kids and they will forget, ignore it and just be a kid and we wouldn't want it any other way! Worth a shot though...

* Regular weekly inspections of hair with a nit comb can be a bore to a child but keeping on top of a new infestation is the easiest way to stop it before it has chance to really take hold. Try bribing them with a treat for having a comb through.

...And Finally

I hope this information about head lice proves useful to you. And remember, if a family member, especially a child does get infected with head lice it's nothing to be ashamed about it happens to the best of us, believe me I know!

Don't panic, just follow this advice and you will be fine.

Best wishes, James.

Reader Feedback - Come and tell me all about it!

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    • MelloKnitty LM profile image

      MelloKnitty LM 4 years ago

      What drives me nuts about lice is that if you miss just ONE tiny egg, the whole head recolonizes in a matter of days! Great lens though. Nitty Gritty is the best comb.

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 4 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      a well presented informative lens. thanks for the useful info.

    • sollertis profile image
      Author

      sollertis 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Hello Amanda, I know how horrible lice are and getting rid can be hard going. Keep on with the regular combing treatment. Lice eggs are not only tiny but light coloured so they are very hard to spot especially on fair hair. Work methodically on small areas of scalp each time until all the head is done and keep repeating until you get all the little blighters.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      i have done a few treatments on my girls with the shampoo from the store and the med. kind from the doctor they done have and live lice but still have eggs. i go throught their hair with the comb a few times a day and i just can't get rid of the eggs i have read all this infor but im just lost and getting so stressed about it all. should i just keep doing what im doing?

    • sollertis profile image
      Author

      sollertis 7 years ago

      @anonymous: Vanessa, you CAN eliminate nits, I have done it several times. However it isn't a case of shampoo/brush/ comb job done! You have to be VERY thorough. The shampoo will kill live head lice but you must remove the eggs (nits) bonded to the hair or they will hatch/ mate and continue the infestation. The lice combs are really good for removing nits but again you must be thorough and methodical. Comb through sections then WIPE the comb on paper towel to clean comb and continue. Repeat every day until you are sure no more eggs are present. Hope this helps.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      @sollertis: Couldn't this be an endless thing? If all the treatments out there only kill the bugs not the eggs than you do over and over but the lice will keep hatching and hatching? I did the shampoo twice now and my daughter's hair is still full of them. I am so desperate I spend the whole weekend looking for lice section by section. I don't see any anymore but I'm sure there still is. I did by hand because it seemed easier than the comb since then you have to pull them off the comb it seems like double work.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      when you do the treatment on your hair, like the treatment from the store and kill the bugs an there is eggs left over does that mean the eggs can still hatch and bugs will soon come back? because i did the treatment on my hair on wednesday and its not saturday and my scalp is still itchy and i have eggs but no bugs. i have pulled out the eggs i an see but how do i know when its deffinatly all gone?

    • peacefulpaths profile image

      peacefulpaths 7 years ago

      Wow - tons of information!

      Great Lens - 5 BIG Stars!

    • sollertis profile image
      Author

      sollertis 8 years ago

      Hi Stephanie,

      Thanks for your comment. I hope my advice works too. I went to the effort of creating this lens to help others and pass my own experiences. I honestly think the electric lice combs are the best thing ever invented, (well for zapping these 'orrible little critters) and a good lice shampoo did the trick for my kids.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      These creatures are really driving us mad - let's hope your advice solves the problem!

      Thank you!

    • Sarunas profile image

      Sarunas 8 years ago

      Great, informative lens.

      I gave you 5 stars,

      but don't forget to keep it up : DD

    • clemency lm profile image

      clemency lm 8 years ago

      Great information, many thanks

    • KadabaCo profile image

      KadabaCo 8 years ago

      Hey, this is really detailed info and useful! 5*'s! Maybe you should write about ticks next?