Head lice! The mere mention of the term and your scalp starts feeling itchy. And rightly so! For head lice can be extremely incessant, irritating and embarassing (socially); and can cause a myraid of additional problems like hair fall, dry scalp and infections.
So if you are facing this rather troublesome issue, here are some useful pointers about the same which would help you deal with the situation in a better way!
What are Head Lice
Otherwise called as Pediculosis, head lice can be commonly described as the infestation of tiny, white colored insects that find solace in our hair, eyebrows or any other hairy part of the body for that matter!
Extremely contagious; both head lice and their eggs (usually called nits which attach themselves strongly to the hair) are spread via personal contact or by sharing common items like towels, clothing, combs, etc.
Treatment for Head Lice
As pesky as they are, head lice and nits can be easily treated by the following tips.
Most of the treatments for head lice fall into two major categories which include chemical treatments and products, and natural products and treatments.
Check out for These Symptoms
It’s not hard to notice the presence of head lice on your hair. All of a sudden, your scalp starts itching uncontrollably and when you run your fingers through your hair, you are bound to encounter one or two of them running around.
Here are some other common symptoms you would want to check out for the same though. These include swollen glands at the nape of the neck, itching and foul smell emanating from the hair. More often than not, you would be able to spot tiny, oval shaped, white spots stuck to your hair, very close to the scalp.
Most of the time, combing the hair with a very fine toothed comb would remove all the head lice from it. Accordingly, pick out a comb that has a spacing of only 0.3 millimeters between each tooth. For better results and long term usage, opt for metal combs over plastic ones which tend to bend after repeated usage. Alternatively, you can also use tweezers, pet flea combs, or your finger nails to fish out the lice and nits.
Another fruitful tip is to wet your hair and apply some conditioner to it to facilitate easy combing. Lice find it hard to run around with a conditioner on, and nits would not be able to catch on to the hair strands once the latter become slippery.
Sit under a strong light and section your hair from left to right. Work on these sections one by one, making sure that the comb reaches the ends of the hair before you start from the top again. You might want to make sure that your hair is free of tangles and knots before you start combing it with a fine tooth comb. Use a brush to remove any lice or nits stuck between the teeth after combing.
Some say it is a good trick to wash lice and nits down a drain or sink. Believe me, that doesn’t work well. They always find a way to come out and sooner or later, your sink will be overflowing with them. The best option would be to kill all the head lice and nits that you encounter while combing your hair.
Comb the entire head section wise at least twice following which you can rinse out the conditioner. Make it a practice to repeat the procedure everyday for the next two weeks to make sure that you give no chance for any kind of reinfestation whatsoever!
Usage of Electronic Combs
This is a sucessfully proven and completely safe method to eradicate head lice. Electronic lice combs come with very fine metal teeth which have alternating negative and positive charged tines. The comb is powered by a small battery.
When you run the electronic comb through your hair (note: dry hair is a must), the lice come in contact with the charged tines, close the circuits and get an electrical shock like charge that kills them instantly.
Natural Remedies you can Opt for
If the thought of combing your hair with an electrically charged device seems scary to you and you still cant seem to get rid of those lice, here are some more natural remedies and treatments you can opt for.
Olive oil, Mayonnaise, Vaseline and Petroleum Jelly do the trick
An old wives solution for getting rid of head lice and nits involves applying olive oil, vaseline or mayonnaise to your scalp and hair.
These remedies have known to kill head lice by smothering them. Massage them into your head, cover the latter with a shower cap and leave it overnight. Wash your hair thoroughly the next day to remove the product and dead lice. Alternatively, you can comb your hair with a fine tooth comb about 20 minutes after applying the product.
Petroleum jelly works well for eye lashes and eyebrows. Apply some petroleum jelly to your eyebrows and eyelashes, leave it on for about 15 minutes and then wash it away. Repeat the same process twice everyday for about a week to get rid of lice and nits.
Head lice and nits cannot withstand high temperatures. And so, if you have a blow dryer at home, you can use it to blow dry your hair and kill them. Do not place the blow dryer too close to the scalp though!
Over the Counter Medications
If you still face trouble with head lice, here are some over the counter medications you can opt for. Prescription medicines like Nix and Rid are known to effectively eradicate head lice with Nix being the most frequently recommended option.
Another product that has been slowly gaining popularity in the market is Ulesfia, a non pesticide prescription remedy for head lice. Working well on children above 6 months of age, Ulesfia, after application, becomes saturated and needs to be washed off after about 10 minutes. Reapplication after 7 days is necessary to avoid reinfestation.
Make note that when it comes to over the counter medications for treating head lice, you need to stay away from products that contain lindane as either an active or passive ingredient. Lindane causes a number of unnecessary harmful side effects, including cancer and seizures etc., and needs to be avoided at all costs.
Precautions to Follow
Now that you have removed all traces of head lice present in your head (and everyone else in the family as well), you need to make sure that they don’t come back. And that would essentially involve taking the necessary precautions to keep these contagious creatures at bay.
Make it a point to wash all bedding and linen regularly, including towels, clothes, pillow covers etc. Wash them in hot water and dry them in a hot dryer to minimise chances of reinfestation. Keep all combs and hair brushes soaked in hot water for at least 15 minutes to kill any lice or nits that might have attached themselves to these while combing.
Keep examining your hair everyday (and everyone else’s too) to make sure that there are no traces of lice and nits. If you see even a miniscule amount of them, make sure to remove them immediately.