One thing that no parent wants their child bringing home from school is head lice. They are creepy, spread to other children (and adults) easily, and quickly send many parents into a panic.
To get rid of lice, many people choose lice shampoos and treatments that contain dangerous chemical pesticides. However, these can have negative side effects, introduce harmful chemicals to your child’s scalp, and with all the natural remedies out there, are quite unnecessary. Plus, today’s lice have become resistant to many pesticides, so a natural remedy is your best bet.
Head lice, or head louse, are small insects that feed on the blood from the scalp. While they do not carry diseases, they are itchy and can cause an infection to form on the scalp if they are not promptly treated.
There is good news though: lice cannot live long outside of the hair, and do not lay eggs until they are about ten days old. This means that if you spot and remove the first wave early, chances of the lice spreading are slim.
The first weapon in your arsenal against lice is a high-quality lice comb. Some experts say that a thorough combing is really all you need to get rid of lice. Make sure that you disinfect the comb after each use by soaking in white vinegar for about half an hour, and wash all towels that you have used during the process.
To amplify your combing, coat the comb in olive oil, reapplying as your work it through the hair. This helps to slow down and smother the lice, making them easier to catch. After combing, wash and dry your child’s hair as usual – shampoo twice if you wish. Do this every morning and evening for about a week, and then comb every night for the next month to make sure you haven’t missed any of the critters.
Another option to use along with combing is tea tree oil, which actually functions as a natural insecticide. Combine half a cup of rubbing alcohol with about 20 drops of pure, therapeutic-grade tea tree oil in a spray bottle, and spray to coat the hair before bedtime. Wash and comb in the morning. If your child is sensitive to tea tree oil (test on a bit of skin on the arm before you apply to the scalp), lavender oil is very gentle and has also been found to be effective.
Before using essential oils on very young children, check with the health professional of your choice to make sure they are safe, and test on the skin to make sure they do not have a reaction. Unless your child has an allergy, these oils are worlds safer than the pesticides commonly used in lice treatment.
Once the lice are gone, you can mist your child’s hair with a spray of water with a few drops of tea tree, lavender or peppermint essential oils, to help prevent them in the future.
If you find out that your child has lice, no need to panic – nature has you covered.
-The Alternative Daily