Head lice remedies..... If you are the parent of a school age child this probably is something you would like to know about. It is a common affliction of school children of all social levels.
The history of lice can be physically traced back thousands of years. The examination of both Peruvian and Egyptian mummies show the presence of head lice. (1,2)
Age is a factor that plays a substantial role in the occurrence of infestations. Children represent a generously large percentage of the population with lice. In the United States, preschool and elementary school children between the age of 3 and 11 make up the largest group. Their household contacts and caretakers are highly susceptible to infestations. (3,4,5)
A study from India found school children in the first, second, and third grades have the highest rate of lice infestations. This rate drops a percentile with each subsequent higher grade. (6)
When it comes to gender, studies vary as to whether or not there is a statistical difference in incidence between girls and boys. (7)
When it comes to gender, studies vary as to whether or not there is a statistical difference in incidence between girls and boys. 7 One study found a significant difference, with girls being 7.4 times more likely to have lice and 13 times more likely to be infested with nits than boys. (6)
Some of the factors affecting this outcome may include hair length, grooming standards and methods, and use of hair accessories. The hair shaft itself is also a consideration.
This is because the shape, fiber diameter, and texture of the hair shaft can significantly alter louse-laying behaviors and deter louse movement. Kinky hair seems to represent less opportunity for infestation than straight hair. This is because it is likely handicapping the free movement of the louse along the hair shaft. (1,4)
Things that can further influence the incidence of infestations are the scents, oils and condition of the scalp itself. There are natural attractants or repellents secreted in human sweat which may be detected by the lice. (6)
The louse is attracted to the odor of ammonium that is found in lice feces, and so the presence of lice itself can act as an increased attractant.
Other considerations for determining the attractiveness of lice to individuals are the density of hair, hair-color, and the blood-type grouping. All are contributing factors that can potentially play a role, alone or in combination. (6)
1. Inspection and treatment of head lice to be done with a metal comb (when cost effective), which should include all family members who have had close contact in the preceding 2 days. This should be under good lighting and, when possible, while using a magnifying glass.
2. Launder and dry all bedding, towels, hats, shirts and clothing. When an item cannot be laundered, consider drying alone, or quarantine these items for 14 to 18 days.
3. Vacuum all carpet, upholstery, and floors with a carpet vacuum.
4. Treat ONLY when live infestations are confirmed.
Twenty-five years ago lindane shampoo was the drug of choice. Because of
toxicity issues, lindane
can only be used as a second-line treatment when other treatments fail. I haven’t seen it used in years and only the lotion was available for purchase from our wholesaler.
So what is a safer way to treat head lice?
Permethrin is available as an over the counter product. It’s deemed safer than lindane by virtue of its rating of OTC and they advertise it safe for 2 month old babies. However,
keep in mind that it’s a chemical.
The other fact that some of you may not know is that resistance has developed to this chemical. So you may be subjecting your child to its toxicity and find out that it hasn’t taken care of the problem. So for those of you not wanting to use chemicals at all there are oils that can be used for treating this affliction. Oils are safer head lice remedies.
Use an ounce of your regular shampoo and add 10 to 20 drops of oil. Leave on your head 10 minutes and rinse. Use this treatment daily till your head is clear of lice and nits. The tea tree oil may be used to soak your combs and brushes. Mix one ounce of water, one ounce of glycerin, two ounces of vodka, and 1/2 ounce of tea tree oil for the soak solution.
• 60 ml (2 ounces) sweet almond oil as the base • 10 drops eucalyptus • 10 drops lavender • 10 drops rose geranium • 10 drops rosemary
Mix these oils together well and apply throughout the hair. Leave on your head for at least 1 hour. Using regular shampoo, wash and rinse your hair well. Comb out nits with a nit comb, a very fine tooth comb. In a few days repeat this process.
If you happen to get oil in the eyes (please be careful around the eyes so this doesn’t happen) wipe out with plain sweet almond oil. Do not use water. This disperses the oil much too quickly.
Combine with olive or other carrier oil and massage into the hair and scalp. Leave in for one hour, and then shampoo out.
A neem based cream may be applied to the scalp, left on overnight, and washed out in the morning with a neem based shampoo. Since neem is safe and non-chemical it may be used daily to prevent lice infestations.
Have you ever wondered why head lice are rare in the African American population? Because their hair is treated in a gentler way than other ethnic groups do, head lice aren’t going to take up residence on their heads. If you have ever looked at their hair care products one of the substances used is olive oil. Head lice don’t like oil!
Chemical Free Living Looking for ways to get started to live in a chemical free home? Learn the advantages of living in a chemical free home and how you can create a toxic free lifestyle. (Web site not a part of enzyme-facts.com)
1. Burkhart CN, Burkhart CG. Fomite transmission in head lice. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2007;56(6):1044-1047. 2. HeadLice.Org. Zinsser, Lice And History: Lice & Disease. The National Pediculosis Association, Inc. Web site. www.headlice.org/faq/disease/zinsser.htm. Accessed July 3, 2010. 3. Takano-Lee M, Edman JD, Mullens BA, Clark JM. Transmission potential of the human head louse, Pediculus capitis (Anoplura: Pediculidae). Int J Dermatol. 2005;44(10):811-816. 4. Burkhart CN, Burkhart CG. Head lice: scientific assessment of the nit sheath with clinical ramifications and therapeutic options. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2005;53(1):129-133. 5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Epidemiolgy & Risk Factors. CDC Web site. www.cdc.gov/lice/head/epi.html. Updated May 16, 2008. Accessed July 3, 2010. 6. Mumcuoglu KY, Magdassi S, Miller J, et al. Repellency of citronella for head lice: double- blind randomized trial of efficacy and safety. Isr Med Assoc J. 2004;6(12):756-759. 7. Mumcuoglu KY, Friger M, Ioffe-Uspensky I, et al. Louse comb versus direct visual examination for the diagnosis of head louse infestations. Pediatr Dermatol. 2001;18(1):9-12.
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