Head lice are a common problem affecting nearly 6 to 12 million kids in the U.S. This condition is primarily found in the hair of children. But, they can be found in adults as well. They are extremely contagious and can spread very easily via head to head contact.
Although, head lice do not carry any specific diseases, they can be extremely irritating to the person affected by it. The hair lice run around on the scalp and cause continual itching which is quite problematic and distracting.
An adult head louse is about 1/10th to 1/8th of an inch long. They feed on human blood and that is why they can be found on the scalp. Eventually, they lay about 6-7 eggs (called nits) every day to reproduce, spreading more and more lice. The eggs hatch in about 7-10 days and the lice take about 8-9 days to mature and begin laying eggs again.
The eggs laid by the hair lice are glued to the hair shaft and can be found about ½ an inch above the scalp. It is because of their small size, and the fast cycle of maturity and reproduction, that they can survive and thrive. They cannot be detected easily, and the eggs that they lay stick to the hair and don't come out easily.
Therefore any lice treatment aims at removing the mature hair lice, and destroying or removing the eggs. But the most important part is that the treatment needs to be repeated every 7-10 days several times, to ensure that the baby lice have also completely disappeared.
Normally, there are a variety of treatments found in pharmacies. These treatment comprises chemicals and insecticides which may be harmful to the child. But, remember that repeating the treatment every 7-10 days, and doing this at least 3-4 times will ensure that the lice have fully disappeared from the hair.
The best way to get rid of the lice and the nits is combing. Fine-toothed combs, specially designed for lice removal, are also available in the market. This process needs patience on the part of both the parents and the children. Make sections of the hair and clip them with pins or clips. Then comb the hair slowly, trapping the lice and the nits into the teeth of the comb.
You may use your nails to kill the lice and smash the eggs. Then clean the teeth and repeat the process again with different sections of hair. Remember to wash the comb in warm, soapy water for at least 15 minutes after the entire session. Repeat this process after 7-10 days. Do this for at least 3-4 times to make sure the lice have disappeared completely.
Cutting the Hair
This is another effective solution for lice. Cutting the hair of your child will ensure that there is no place for the lice to survive.
Mayonnaise and Vinegar
Apply mayonnaise to the hair and scalp and cover with a shower cap. Leave this on for at least 4-5 hours. This ensures that the lice smother and die. Wash the hair with vinegar to ensure complete removal. Repeat this process after 7-10 days. Perform this for at least 3-4 times to make sure the lice have disappeared completely.
Lime Juice and Garlic Paste
Take 1 teaspoon of lime juice and add it to 1 teaspoon of garlic paste. Mix this well and apply on the scalp. Leave this for at least 30 minutes and then wash the hair. Repeat this process after 7-10 days. Do this for at least 3-4 times to make sure that the lice have disappeared completely.
Some other home remedies include rubbing cooking oil, tea tree oil, or even mouthwash on the scalp and leaving it on for about 30-40 minutes and then washing it off. Repeat this process after 7-10 days. Do this for at least 3-4 times to make sure the lice have disappeared completely.
Ideally, prevention is better than cure. So, avoid head to head contact with people who have these lice. They can also avoid sharing caps and hats or jackets with other children with whom they interact at school, day care, or at the park.