Head Lice Treatment

If you have a child in school, you probably know, or will soon realize the frustration that comes with head lice treatment and prevention. If you know nothing or a little about these intimidating little insects, then it is about time you did some research. The fact that your child does not have these insects yet does not guarantee that he or she will not have them in the future. According to many hairdressers, it is common to notice head lice on every third or fourth child that visits them.

Head Lice Treatment

Head lice can only be found on either human hair or head; they do not live on beddings, hats, furniture or carpets. As such, lice treatment on any other place other than the human head cannot eradicate these insects.

1. Wet Comb the Hair to Remove Head Lice

In this method, the head lice are removed using a fine-toothed comb by systematically combing through the hair. The best comb to use in this treatment is the one with a spacing of between 0.2 and 0.3mm between the teeth. Using a comb with a spacing of less than 0.19mm will have the lice trapped or crushed in between the teeth. This type of comb may be acquired at the local pharmacy or purchase online. This method does not require the use of any lotion. Additionally, it should be repeated regularly for effective results. The following procedure should be followed while wet combing to remove head lice:

  • First wash the hair thoroughly using ordinary shampoo, apply a lot of hair conditioner and then straighten the hair using a wide-toothed comb.
  • Once the louse detection comb can move freely in the hair without dragging it, use it to comb through the hair. You should ensure that the teeth of this comb slot into the hair roots and that the bevel-edge of the comb touches the scalp lightly.
  • Now pull the comb down to the tips of the hair, for every stroke and check to see if there are any lice in the comb.
  • Remove the lice by washing the comb and wiping it.
  • Comb systematically through the hair in sections to ensure that the entire head is combed.
  • Rinse the water container and repeat the steps above once again.
  • You should repeat this procedure for a number of days, between three to 15 days, to ensure that all the lice are removed as soon as they hatch.

2. Physical Insecticide

  • Dimeticone Lotion

It is commonly used in toiletries and cosmetics and has a good safety record. To use this lotion, you need to apply twice after every 7 days, with each application lasting for more than eight hours. After this, the lotion should be washed off with water and shampoo. This lotion kills head lice physically by blocking the tubes they use for breathing. Additionally, the dimeticone lotion also blocks the ways used by lice to pass out water. However, this head lice treatment option has not been proven to destroy unhatched lice eggs. Therefore, it should be applied regularly to kill the lice as they hatch.

  • Cyclomethicone and Isopropyl Myristate Solution

You are supposed to apply this solution on the scalp and let it stay for about 10 minutes. The hair should then be combed systematically to remove the lice. The solution should then be washed off using water and shampoo. This should be repeated after every seven days to remove the lice that hatched recently. This lice treatment option is suitable for patients of asthma. However, it should not be used on children under 2 years old. Additionally, it should not be used by individuals suffering from any skin condition.

  • Coconut, Ylang Ylang and Anise (CAY) Spray

You should apply this spray on the scalp and let it stay there for about 15 minutes. The hair should then be combed using a fine toothed comb to remove the lice before washing the hair. This procedure should be repeated after seven days to kill any lice that just hatched. This head lice treatment option is not suitable for people suffering from asthma and skin conditions. Again, it should not be used on children under the age of 2 years.

3. Malathion 0.5% Aqueous Liquid

This is a chemical insecticide that has been used to get rid of head lice for a long period now. The malathion in this insecticide kills the lice. The insecticide may be used on people of all ages as well as people suffering from skin conditions. It should be applied twice within an interval of seven days, with every application being left to stay for 12 hours. It should then be washed off with water and shampoo. You should also note that the creme rinse, anti lice shampoo and mousse forms of malathion and any other insecticide are not as effective as the liquids or lotions.

4. Apply Vinegar After Shampooing

To use this method, you are supposed to grasp a lock of hair using a vinegar-saturated cloth and strip it downward in a bid to remove nits. This should be repeated until all the hair is treated. Alternatively, you may also soak the hair in vinegar, allow it to remain for some minutes and then comb it. You should then dry the hair using a towel.

5. Pyrethrins/Pyrethrum

Pyrethrum is obtained from the flowers of chrysanthemum and contain a natural insecticide known as pyrethrins. It kills the head lice by attacking their nervous system. However, some lice have become resistant to this pesticide. Therefore, the insecticide is not very effective. You are supposed to apply the product to the infested hair and allow it to stay for about 10 minutes. You should then add water in the hair to foam leather and rinse the hair. You should then comb the hair to remove lice. For better results, it is advisable to repeat this method after 7 to 10 days.

6. Olive Oil

When this oil comes into contact with head lice, it clogs their breathing holes, hence suffocating them. For the best results, it should be applied to the hair and left to stay overnight under a shower cap. This is mainly because the lice have been proven to survive without air for hours. It is also advisable to comb the hair after this lice treatment to remove the lice as the oil is expected to loosen the lice from the hair shafts for easy removal.

Tips and Precautions for Head Lice Treatment

  • While chemical head lice treatmentproducts that contain insecticides are expensive, they are safe to use. Home remedies, on the other hand, can cause skin irritation. Therefore, you should consult your local pharmacist, regarding the registered and safe to use treatments and the limitations of using such treatments.
  • You should first read the product label of these treatments and use them according to the instructions on them.
  • Do not use lice treatment products on an inflamed or irritated scalp.
  • When using any of these products on children, always protect their eyes.
  • If a certain treatment option fails to work, you should not repeat it on the same person again. It may be because you are using the treatment inappropriately or that the lice are resistant to the treatment. Instead, you should consult a health care provider regarding the appropriate action to take.
  • Unless prescribed by a pharmacist or physician, you should not use more than one head lice treatment option at the same time on the same person.
  • Parents are supposed to inspect the heads of their children regularly for the presence of head lice. Relying on anyone else to detect the lice will delay the treatment and effective control. If one person in a camp, family, school or daycare has head lice, they can easily spread them to others.
  • If a child has head lice, the parent should communicate this to the parents of other children who might have interacted with the child. This will make them treat their kids as well, hence prevent re infestation.
  • Schools are supposed to come up with policies, regarding individual head checks on all the pupils for head lice.
  • Children who are infested should not be sent home.
  • If one case is noticed, the parents should be notified to check their kids for the same and treat them appropriately.

Head Lice Prevention

What Parents Can Do

  • Parents are supposed to inspect the heads of their children regularly for the presence of head lice. Relying on anyone else to detect the lice will delay the treatment and effective control. If one person in a camp, family, school or daycare has head lice, they can easily spread them to others.
  • If a child has head lice, the parent should communicate this to the parents of other children who might have interacted with the child. This will make them treat their kids as well, hence prevent re infestation.

What the School Can Do

  • Schools are supposed to come up with policies, regarding individual head checks on all the pupils for head lice.
  • Children who are infested should not be sent home.
  • If one case is noticed, the parents should be notified to check their kids for the same and treat them appropriately.
 
 
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