Head lice are very small insects that can live on the human scalp, they survive by feeding on our blood supply. They are grey or brown in colour (lice) on feed and can lay up to 150 eggs (nits) each week which take 7-10 days to hatch, the eggs are white or clear in colour. They can vary in size from 2mm to 5mm and have a lifespan of 24-25 days. Persistent itching of the scalp is the first sign of possible head lice contamination and is most common in school aged children.
SPREADING HEAD LICE
Head lice are passed around through direct contact such as head to head contact or sharing beds, blankets, combs, hats or brushes. Against popular belief, hair lice do not have the ability to jump from head to head. Also opposing common thought, clean hair still attracts head lice, not only dirty hair. Head lice are not an indication of disease, unhygienic practices and neither are they harmful.
NATURAL REMEDIES FOR HEAD LICE
There are some natural remedies which can be used quite successfully rather than using harsh chemical treatments on your child’s hair which can cause skin irritation. The following are some natural solutions to help kill off head lice:
- Make a solution using coconut oil, neem oil, oregano oil and tea tree oil and apply to the hair and scalp. Leaving this overnight and combing out the eggs and lice in the morning before washing the hair. Essential oils are very potent so only a 4-5 drops of each of the essential oils are needed when mixed with approx. 50ml of the carrier oil (in this case coconut oil). It is also advisable to test the preparation on the skin of the top your own hand first to ensure it is not to strong for your child. When combing the hair do so in sections using a nit comb which can be purchased from a pharmacy
- Use a Tea tree oil or Rosemary oil shampoo to wash your child’s hair,
- Use a preventative spray which can be made by adding pure essential oils of Neem, Oregano and Tea tree oil to a spray bottle with apple cider vinegar. Spraying this on hats and hair may help to avert head lice infestation
LIFESTYLE FACTORS FOR HEAD LICE
- As young girls with long hair are more prone to hair lice, tying long hair into plaits or braids may help to limit the further spread or contamination of head lice
- Check your childs hair weekly to look for signs of eggs or lice
- Personalise hats and try to discourage your child from sharing hair clips, hair ties and brushes
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