Head Lice! Gee – How To Get Rid Of Them?

Having head lice is not a disease. It is an infestation, and a contagious one as well. School going children are the most affected ones in all. Head lice suck the blood and weaken hair roots. Your child can show signs of weakness if not addressed aptly. Hair fall, untidy hair, and itchy scalp are the most evident symptoms of head lice.

Photo By :  Antonia Hayes

Photo By : Antonia Hayes

Treatment

Treating head lice is essential for the wellbeing of your child, as head lice are irritating and unhygienic parasites that feed on your child’s blood. They spread very quickly with 7 to 12 days. Nits’ hatching time is 7 to 10 days, while their development in to adults takes another 7 to 10 days, becoming ready to lay eggs.

Medicinal Treatment

Certain chemicals effectively kill head lice. The following 3 insecticides are approved to use on head:

  • Pyrethrin
  • Permethrin
  • Lindane

After first application, the treatment can be repeated after 7 to 10 days.

Pros

Pyrethrin and Permethrin are safe to use for both infants and adults. Both give remarkable results. They can be easily acquired without a prescription, as they are found in anti lice shampoos and conditioners.

Cons

Lindane has been regarded unsafe and harmful for children. Contact with other body parts must be avoided, so the head must be washed in sink. Leaving the shampoo or any other anti lice product must be applied for the specified time only. Exceeding the time limit can be harmful. Hair must be rinsed properly without leaving any trace of the product. Lindane could be poisonous for children.

Isopropyl myristate/cyclomethicone is another product that works well to evade head lice.

Pros

Kills head lice effectively and quickly by dehydrating them. Isopropyl myristate/cyclomethicone breaks the shiny outer covering (exoskeleton) of lice and they get dehydrated.

Cons

Children younger than 4 years of age cannot be treated by Isopropyl myristate/cyclomethicone. It is a bit difficult for children to be treated with Isopropyl myristate/cyclomethicone, as it requires 10 minutes’ application and repetition of treatment after a week.

Ovide or malathion, an insect killer is also used as an anti lice product. Likewise, Elimite, which is a little stronger than Nix, is also used to treat head lice. It is actually the treatment of scabies, Crotamiton (Eurax), Ivermectim and antibiotic Bactrim.

Pros

These medicines are used to kill persistent head lice.

Cons

These are not FDA approved head lice treatments, and any side effects can come up with their use.

Ulesfia (Benzyl Alcohol Lotion 5%) removes head lice effectively. It is a water-soluble gel, which works by suffocating head lice

Pros

It is a shampoo, which can be used for 6 months old babies.

Cons

No side effects are known yet.

Home Remedies

Applying olive oil, mayonnaise, vinegar, petroleum jelly, fresh butter, and mustard oil are general home remedies to treat head lice.

Combing the hair with a head lice comb or fine comb is effective to catch the parasite. Some of them are so good that they even catch the nits and nymphs as well. It becomes more effective if used after applying oil to hair.

Pros

These have no side effects.

Cons

It is sometimes very difficult to wash hair and getting rid of petroleum jelly and mayonnaise. It is a time taking process and needs repetitive action. Mayonnaise can be quite annoying to wash off, especially in winters. In winters, hot water is used to take bath, and with hot water, egg, a main ingredient of mayonnaise can get semi cooked and stick to hair as lumps of glue.

Important

If you don’t find anything workable, then you will have to snatch lice out of your child’s head with your hands. Besides, a doctor must be consulted if conditions get out of hand.

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