Head lice spread from head-to-head contact. They don’t fly or hop but they crawl. These six legged buggers prefer warm and dark environment particularly the area behind your ears or above the neck. And when you don’t take any precautionary measures, their numbers keep on multiplying as they lay about 6 to 10 nits (lice’s eggs) daily. And you end up with lice infestation. Head lice problem, when not dealt properly, can easily retreat within a week. There could be a number of reasons behind it. You might have left some lingering lice or nits in the scalp or the medication was not strong enough to deal with the level of severity. Besides that, some lice are resistant to the particular OTC medication, we use. Following proper supplemental measures is equally important. And that is not possible without knowing the basic facts about head lice.
Table of Contents
- How to Get Rid of Lice Fast?
- What to Do if Your Child Has Lice?
- Best Lice Products & Treatments for Kids
- How to Get Rid of Lice Permanently?
- 3 Common Types of Lice
How to Get Rid of Lice Fast?
To get rid of lice permanently, you would have to follow a certain plan. That is the only way to get 100% success in getting rid of head lice. Here we have summed up a few effective head lice treatments to get rid of lice permanently.
1. Topical Treatments
The easiest way to deal with head lice is to apply some topical product. Drugstore shelves and markets are filled with a number of anti-lice products. You can also buy them online. Pick the one that suits the infested person’s condition and age (be more careful when you are picking for kids or pregnant/nursing women). For example, for children, over-the-counter medicated shampoos (tea tree oil shampoo) and essential oil spray are the safest choice. Application of essential oils particularly tea tree oil (tea tree oil is a natural insecticide) is known for its effectiveness. Instead of applying it directly on your scalp, add a small quantity of olive oil or coconut oil in it. Most of the topical products come with excellent lice combs (even if they don’t, buy one for yourself). Use them in your hair after applying the anti-lice product. It helps in getting rid of dead and senseless lice and nits. Make sure you are using it according to the instructions. Some products must be repeated after a week or so. Make certain you are doing that. If you are not satisfied with the results, talk to the pharmacist or human head lice expert about some other medication.
2. No Comb Treatments
Those who don’t want to spend hours in combing out their hair to get rid of nits and lice, we have some good news to share. Prescription medication is what you should try. Application of a few minutes to some hours can easily clean your scalp of different head lice (juvenile or adult lice) and nits. The only negative aspect of such cures is the possibility of side effects. The most common side effects may include—dandruff, redness of eyes, irritation in scalp and skin and rough or frizzy hair. Some of the best no-comb prescription medications are;
- Ivermectin Lotion (SKlice)
- Malathion lotion (ovide)
- Benzyl Alcohol Lotion (ulesfia)
- Spinosad Topical Suspension (Natroba)
- Lindane head lice shampoos
Note: If you are using them on kids’ scalp, read the label to know what it instructs about the amount for children.
3. Home Remedies for Lice
Those who do not want to opt for some chemical-based product must try home remedies. There are a number of items available on your kitchen shelves that you can use for killing lice. Some of them may include;
Coconut oil does not work as an insecticide. It has a different function to perform in lice infestation. Its greasy consistency immobilizes lice, leaving them unable to move and grow as freely as they normally do in a clean scalp. When you have your scalp drenched in coconut oil, it would be easier to comb out the nasty lice. Some other ways to use coconut oil for getting rid of lice are;
- Coconut Oil with Garlic: Garlic not just contain antiseptic properties but its strong smell is an effective repellent against lice. Make the paste of about 8 to 10 garlic cloves and add it in 3 teaspoon of coconut oil. Apply it in your scalp and cover your head with a shower cap. Leave it for about half an hour. Now use a nit comb to get nits and lice out, before washing with hot water.
- Coconut Oil with Tea Tree Oil: Mix 5 to 6 drops of tea tree oil in 2 tbsp. of coconut oil. The insecticide properties of tea tree oil work more effectively when mixed with coconut oil.
- Coconut Oil with Apple Cider Vinegar: The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar helps in cutting down the glue-like substance that a female louse releases to attach the nits to the hair shafts. As nits do not come off easily, application of vinegar would help. To get the best results, coat your scalp with apple cider vinegar first and let it dry. Then apply coconut oil over it. Cover your head with a shower cap. Leave it that way for about 4 to 5 hours. Don’t forget to comb out lice and nits before shampooing. Lastly, blow dry hair to kill any lingering lice.
Curing Lice with Onions
Onions are enriched with sulfur which is a known ingredient for killing lice. Extract some fresh onion juice and apply it on your scalp. Make sure it has reached down to the roots of the hair. Keep it in your scalp for about four hours before rinsing. Don’t forget to use a high quality lice comb after washing your hair. Using a flat iron/hair straightener after rinsing too can kill lice (lice can’t stand hot temperature).
Get advantage of the acidic qualities of lemon juice to fight lice infestation. Follow a few simple steps to disinfect your scalp. Extract lemon juice according to your hair’s length. Apply it to dampen your hair and scalp. Leave it for about 10 to 15 minutes (or till it dries completely) before rinsing your hair. Mixing lemon juice with garlic paste is yet another effective remedy to combat lice.
What to Do if Your Child Has Lice?
Parents usually get panicked when they see their child as a victim of head lice infestation. Is it ok to panic? If not, then what should be the right strategy by the parents? Read on to know more about lice infestation and head lice treatment.
Best Lice Products & Treatments for Kids
Find the most effective and safe anti-lice products for your child. In case, these products don’t work as effectively as you want, getting medical advice is another option. Some of the best products may include:
Trying over-the-counter medicated shampoos is the easiest anti-lice remedy for kids. RID anti-lice shampoo is both safe and effective. For best results, use according to the purchase guidelines. It should be applied in dry hair. The amount of shampoo depends on the length of hair. The best thing about it is the conditioning formula that keeps the hair soft after using it (that generally lacks in other head lice shampoos).
Nix brings several anti-lice products, each effective on different head lice formulations. Each product by Nix contains delousing tools to help you in getting rid of nasty nits, newly hatched lice and adult head lice. Nix crème rinse prevents re-infestation of lice for the next 2 weeks after first application.
Using lice freee spray is a non-toxic way of getting rid of lice. This head lice product is safer for using on kids as young as 6 months old, than many other lice sprays. All you have to do is to spray it and wait till it gets dry.
LiceMD is a chemical-free anti-lice product. Approved and tested by pediatricians, this product is safe for kids and works effectively on nits and lice. Its thicker consistency tends to lubricate the hair and makes it easy for you to comb out the lice and eggs.
Its non-flammable formula makes it a safer choice for your child. Just 10 minutes of application is good enough to suffocate and dehydrate those scalp parasites.
Though not recommended for the kids under 6 (its flammable), this prescription insecticide is effective on lice. It must not be exposed to any heat source. Simply apply it in the scalp and leave for 10 to 12 hours and rinse well with shampoo. Reuse it after 7 to 9 days, if you find any lingering louse.
Hire a Delousing Service
Those who do not want to go through all the toxic or non-toxic procedures, think about hiring some head lice expert for delousing your child’s scalp. To know about such professionals, inquire the people in your close social circle.
How to Get Rid of Lice Permanently?
If I have to answer it in one word, I’d say NO! Not because we lack useful anti-lice products or home remedies. It is because we do not follow the right and recommended way to use these products. And most of all, it is essential to keep checking the scalp to avoid retreatment (and that we don’t do in most of the cases). As lice have the ability to reproduce quickly, even a single lice or nit left in the scalp, can cause recurring of lice.
A female louse lays about 6 to 10 eggs in a day. The eggs hatch within a week or so. It takes 7 to 10 days for these juvenile lice to turn into adult. The sooner they turn adult; a new process of reproduction starts. So, it is essential to remove each and every nit and lice.
Removing them from your hair is not just enough, you have to get them out from the place where you live. These can be found on the things; an infected person has been using. So, it is really important to sanitize all such products. The main items to sanitize may include—bed linens, pillow covers, towel, clothes of infected person, mittens, favorite stuff toy and all head accessories. To sanitize them, wash them in extremely hot water and then blow dry or iron them. Furthermore, the carpet, rugs, furniture and floor must be vacuumed. There might be some broken hair with a few nits or lice over them. Once you have vacuumed the house, throw the litter in sealed plastic bag to avoid re-infestation. Last but not the least, avoid head to head contact with people infested with lice. Unless you don’t follow all these precautionary measures, you can’t hope to end lice permanently.
Don’t pay heed to different myths regarding live lice infestation. Anyone with hair on his/her head can get infested with lice. It has nothing to do with age of the people or length of the hair. People of every age group and all hair lengths can be the victim of lice epidemic.
3 Common Types of Lice
Lice come in three main types. Let’s read on to find what you should know about each one of them.
1. Head Lice:
These parasites are found only in humans. These can be anywhere on your scalp, particularly on the nape of the neck. Their only food source is human blood.
2. Body Lice:
Different from common head lice, body lice stay on your clothing and lay eggs on them. They feed on human blood and when they need to suck it, they crawl and get it from your body.
3. Public Lice/Crab Lice:
The smallest in size, public lice are different in looks. When you see them through a microscope, they have large front legs and a crab-like body. These too breed in the hair but not the scalp hair but the hair in the genital area. When such man or woman have sex, these lice can easily transfer from one body to the other.
Body Lice Infestation
When you fall victim of body lice infestation, these small parasites not just stay on your body but adult lice also lay eggs on your clothes and bedding. When body lice need blood, they come to your naked skin to suck it (3 to 4 times in a day). Body lice tend to release its waste on your clothing or on your skin. These are quite similar to head lice in looks but it’s bigger in size. Body lice are usually found near the body areas where the eggs get proper heat (about 75° and 100° Fahrenheit) for hatching. A female louse lays about 300 eggs in her whole adulthood and 10 eggs in a day. Sometimes lice eggs can be seen in body hair. The sooner these lice eggs or hatch, you will have more newly hatched louse roaming over you. The juvenile louse is equally irritating and may intensify the itching.
Public Lice/Crab Lice
Residing in coarse body hair, these parasitic insects are 2mm long in yellowish-grey hue. They have six tiny legs. Quite different from the other two types of lice, lets read on to know more about it.
There are numerous ways of getting rid of head lice permanently. Be it an OTC treatment, prescription medication or some home remedy, all can work effectively. What you really need to do is to stay calm and persistent, and don’t forget to follow the essential precautionary measure. Soon these pesky parasites will be out of your family.