Six to twelve million people, that’s how many Americans, a large portion of whom are children, are affected by head lice. Lice are easily contacted by children as they like to get physically close when playing with each other. Also, they rarely comb their hair, making them an easy target for insects that live in the hair strands and suck blood from the scalp.
Naturally, everyone would want to avoid an infestation. However, it can be difficult and unwise to keep your child away from children his age. Additionally, schools currently implement a no nits policy. However, should an infestation occur, early detection is the trick. That way, the chances of lice reproducing generation after generation are reduced. The more lice infestation left untreated, the more trouble you will have later getting rid of the nits, because those eggs manage to latch on for dear life. Heck, they even manage to stay attached, even when they’re not alive, thanks to the protein secreted by the female lice when she laid her eggs.
You will know when there is a lice infestation by its main symptom: too much itching. You’ll know there’s too much itching when you scratch your head more than usual. But you just can’t get too excited about getting rid of lice and buy the first bottle of pediculicide you stumble upon, at the first signs of itching. After all, itching can also be caused by other factors, such as dandruff. You need to have clear evidence, and what better evidence than a louse on your fingertips? Get a lice comb and see for yourself. In some cases, there may be a fever as a manifestation of a bacterial infection.
After making sure that there is a lice infestation after all. It’s time to evaluate your lice removal options. There are several methods, but they generally fall into three categories: chemical pediculicide, home remedies, and a lice comb.
With chemical pediculicides, substances, usually in the form of shampoos, are applied to the hair and scalp to kill parasites. Of the various options under this category, only Lindane and Malathion have been approved by the FDA. There have also been recent developments on silicone-based lotions. Silicone oil has been shown to be effective in dehydrating and suffocating and thus killing lice.
In the category of home remedies, there are a variety of options available. Vinegar is effective at removing nits because it dissolves the “glue” that binds the nits to the hair. Mayonnaise, olive oil, and coconut oil are also said to create an environment that is not friendly to lice, as it suffocates the insect. Perhaps the best known in this category is tea tree oil, which is said to have insect-repellent properties.
People have also been using a lice comb to remove lice. These combs have teeth that have minimal spacing between them. Running it through the hair would drag any adult and nymph lice it finds. They are best used when hair is wet and knots are untangled.
Hair lice infestation can be terrible, but it’s a condition you don’t have to put up with. Learn more about the options for getting rid of head lice and opt for those that have been proven to work for many people.