The moment you see your child scratching her head you panic, don’t you? After all, it is every mother’s worst nightmare come true. If your child’s head is infested with lice, then it’s a long battle to kill the lice and get rid of the head lice nits (eggs).
As a child, I remember how my mommy used to thoroughly check my sister’s and my head every Sunday for any signs of head lice. She forbade us to sit near or play with friends, classmates or cousins who were plagued with this parasite. Well, in spite of taking so much care, I remember we had still caught the lice a couple of times. Whether my sister had caught first and then spread the infection to me or was it the other way round, I don’t remember, but if one of us had caught the lice, the other one would catch it even before my mommy knew about its existence. So then started a long and painful procedure to get rid of them. To this day, I dread the fine-combed nit comb. It hurt so much.
Head lice shampoos arrived quite late in the day. However, I remember using Mediker shampoo for removing lice. I don’t know if Mediker shampoo can be used for infants, better to ask the pediatrician. However, for head lice cleaning for infants, it’s better to get the head shaved than use shampoo or pick lice.
There are a few popular myths regarding lice. Let’s bust them:
- Head lice are a sign of dirty hair or poor hygiene: hygiene has got nothing to do with head lice infestation. They suck blood to survive, what do they care about your hair hygiene?
- Lice can jump and fly from one head to another: lice can neither jump nor fly, all they can do is walk from one head to another. And for that, the heads have to be touching each other for the lice to get attached from one head to another. Lice prefer staying close to the scalp to facilitate easy sucking of blood.
- Head lice are infectious: yes, they are infectious, but that doesn’t mean you need to ostracize the infected person. It doesn’t spread through touching hands or sharing food. All you need to take care is that your head shouldn’t touch the head of the infected person and you don’t share a towel, bed sheet, pillow cover and comb of that person.
- All family and friends need treatment: only if they have lice. If they have had head-to-head contact with the infected person in the past few weeks, then it’s advisable they undertake the head lice treatment. Also, all the infected people in the same home should undergo the treatment at the same time.
- Lice can be prevented: I have known people who treat their kids’ hair with strong anti-lice shampoos/medicines in a bid to prevent lice infection. It doesn’t work like that. Don’t use such harsh treatments unless your child’s been infected. If you wish, you can check your child’s hair every week or so. This way you will come to know soon if your child’s hair has been infected recently. You can thus start the treatment quickly and prevent the infection from spreading on to others.
- Head lice prefer girls: no they don’t; they don’t know how to discriminate. All they want is a scalp from which they can suck blood. But yes, it’s easier to attach to girls’ hair as they are longer and thicker.
How to get rid of head lice naturally?
These are my mommy’s tried and tested natural home remedies to treat head lice
It is no doubt bitter, but also one of the most useful trees the nature has offered us. Soak some neem leaves and then crush them. Now apply the juice on the scalp by parting the hair. Keep it for an hour and wash it off with plain water. It smells and tastes awful, but works like a charm. You may even use neem oil for the purpose.
Onion juice: It’s smelly, but totally worth it. Grind one big onion in a juicer. Now part the hair and with the help of a cotton wool, apply the onion juice on the scalp. Keep it for some time, approx. an hour or so, and then wash it off. Now comb the hair and you will see the dead lice.
Remember, these natural remedies only kill the lice and not the nits. So you will have to use it again after 1 week for the next 4 weeks by the time which all the nits would have matured into lice.
Vinegar: Dilute vinegar with water in 1:3 ratio. With the help of a cotton wool, apply the mixture generously on your scalp. Now tie a soft cotton cloth on your head and leave it overnight. The next morning, wash it off with water.
Do you know of some other ways how to prevent head lice or how to treat head lice naturally? It would be helpful if you could share with us here.