- Kids Health
Natural Head Lice Treatment
So I'm washing/conditioning my hair one evening two weeks ago, combing through my hair with a regular comb, and as I remove the usual glob of hair from said comb, I see this bug. And a pretty freaking big bug, at that. Having majored in parasitology at the university level for a number of years, I immediately knew that I was looking at an adult head-louse. And I knew precisely how I'd gotten it; from the two furiously-scratching preschoolers who'd climbed all over me as I sat on their living room sofa just two days prior. (Yes, I'd wanted to ask their mother if she'd checked their heads recently, but how does one do that without sounding like a complete prat?)
Now, I realize that the idea of head-lice has a negative stigma and most people wouldn't openly discuss having it -- but I really can't be arsed with caring about other people's opinions. Most people have had lice at some point in time. I had it once as a child and I remember my mother having a fit. Honestly, people, time to get over it. So you or your kid has lice; so get rid of it already. It's so easy to do nowadays, and so much safer than back when I was a kid. Of course, my attitude to head-lice might have something to do with the fact that I studied it in depth during university and became a bit of an expert in the process -- it's amazing how uninformed so many people are when it comes to this kind of thing, so be sure to read the facts!
Natural Headlice Treatments
If Paranix is not available where you live, I'd recommend trying Native Remedies Naughty Nits shampoo or hair oil, which is based on the same homeopathic principles and contains nothing toxic. Don't be fooled into thinking harsh chemicals are what you need! Try one of these and you'll see why I've said that getting rid of lice is pretty darned easy!
Another product you might want to consider is the LiceGuard Robi-Comb. It has gotten loads of positive reviews from parents who think it's the best thing since sliced bread. If I had a child, I would probably consider this work of genius!
Get Rid Of Head Lice Easily
I used an Israeli-made product which is widely available in the EU, but appears not to be approved in the USA yet. It's called Paranix, and it is 100% chemical free and totally safe. It's a combination of essential oils which suffocate the lice and kill the nits as well (most chemicals don't do both). Because it's not an insecticide, the buggers can't become immune to it, so it works every time.
While my hair was dry, I sprayed my entire scalp and all of my hair and left it sit for 15 minutes. Actually, I let it sit for 45 just to be sure, but 15 is all you need (and doing it longer is not dangerous).
I combed my hair out -- there weren't any other bugs and I didn't find any additional nits -- and then washed it twice with my regular shampoo.
I washed my linens, vacuumed everything, and that was that!
Just to be sure, I repeated the process 10 days later.
Some extra points about Paranix:
Paranix contains anise seed oil, which smells a bit like black licorice. It smelled quite strong and you will want to have good ventilation while doing it.
The oils are flammable. Use it and then wash your hair very well (twice) afterward.
I have very long, very curly and very thick hair -- once all of it was sprayed with the Paranix, it was quite easy to comb through, even with one of those combs.
The spray actually made my hair so fabulously clean that my hair lathered amazingly as soon as I started to shampoo it. And, it made my hair so full of body and so shiny, that I think I will use this stuff every couple of months regardless!
Some Headlice Myths
- Myth: Head-lice can fly, jump, hop and skip.
Fact: Head-lice do not have wings and their bodies are built in such a way that it's a bit difficult for them to walk properly on a flat surface; the positioning of their limbs simply doesn't allow for it. They are made for crawling along the hair shaft.
Myth: Head-lice are only found on dirty people
Fact: While head-lice give me the creeps, they're not something to feel ashamed of. Anyone can get it, it's not an indication of hygiene.
Myth: Head-lice are very hard to get rid of.
Fact: Head-lice are very easy to get rid of if you do it correctly the first time. Re-infestation in children is a result of parental-incompetence, whether it be your own of the parent of another child who re-gifted your kid with it.
Myth: An itchy head is guaranteed if one has head-lice.
Fact: My head did not itch at all. Granted, I'd only had it for 2 days, but still.
Myth: If one child has it, everyone else in the family will get it too.
Fact: If there isn't close contact between the infected person and the rest of the family, it's perfectly possible that no one else will catch it. That being said, prevention is always preferable to having to cure something, isn't it.
Some Facts About Headlice
1. Head-lice are not asexual.
If you happen to have direct head-to-head contact with an infested person, you're only going to become infested yourself if you pick up a pregnant female, or a male and female couple. This is rare for two reasons: a.) Few people are infested with a swarm of lice, and those lice they might have aren't in a hurry to rush over onto your head; they're likely happy where they are. But sometimes prolonged contact results in such a transference, which leads me to b.) If you pick up a male, he's not going to be able to do much propagating on his own. If you pick up a solitary female, she can only propagate if she was impregnated prior to wandering over. If you pick up a married couple, um, well, you're probably going to need a bigger boat.
2. The female only lays a few eggs per day.
If you've got a huge number of lice, you could expect to have tens and twenties of eggs laid on a daily basis. But if you have a new infestation, you might have to spend quite a bit of time looking before you see any nits. In my case, only 2 nits were found (and removed) after much searching.
3. Non-impregnated females will lay eggs -- but those eggs will not hatch.
It is possible to have a female lay eggs, but never become truly infested. In that case, when the female dies (or is removed) the active infection would end. Obviously, this is impossible to know in advance, so preventative treatment is advised regardless -- but should you find a bunch of nits on your child but suspect that they're quite old and unhatched, that may have been the case.
4. Head-lice come in all sizes.
The babies are probably too small (and too fast) to see, but some adults can be really gigantic, proportionately speaking. The one I saw on myself was absolutely huge -- and female. You can tell the sex by looking at them, as the female's body is much wider than the male's. I would say that the one I saw was about the size of my pinky nail. I have quite small hands, but still!
5. Head-lice cannot live off of the human head for more than a few days.
And that is a generous time frame, as it's suspected to be much closer to one or two days. Head-lice need the warmth of your head to survive, and they need your blood -- they cannot live on the blood of animals, not even as an intermediary host.
6. You do not need to clean your house from top to bottom!
Nits do not magically reattach themselves to the head if they're on a bit of hair that's settled onto your sofa. And even if they could, they can't survive without the heat from your head. So, yes, you need to wash the bed linens as you normally would, and you may want to wash whatever else lives on the bed, i.e. teddy bears and other toys. For the rest of the house, a good vacuuming is FAR better than spraying (unnecessary) toxic chemicals everywhere. You can do this in your car as well. If something is removable, put it in the washer -- otherwise, vacuum it well and that will suffice.