Pediculus humanus capitis or head lice strikes a fear among parents and it is also the one the worst childhood experience. Known as kutu in Malay, it is estimated that there are about 6 to 12 million cases of lice infestation each year in the United States among children ages 3 to 11 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Infestation with head lice is most common among preschool- and elementary school-age children and even though it is not known to transmit diseases, it can cause secondary bacterial infection of the skin due to excessive scratching.
Besides, contracting head lice is not related to cleanliness of the person or his or her environment but due to contact with an infected person. Since lice can only crawl and survive outside your head for 24 hours, most infestations come from direct head-to-head contact and it is highly likely to contract it from a friend, family member, or stranger with whom you had close contact. Shared items like combs, hats, scarves, pillow cases, bedding, towels and clothes can also facilitate an infestation.
There are many medications available at the pharmacies to treat lice infestation such as Piperonyl butoxide with pyrethrins, Permethrin lotion, 1%, Spinosad and Dimethicone. All these medications can be bought over the counter and it has few side effects on the users.
Besides modern medications, there are many effective home remedies that could treat lice infestations. Firstly, apple cider vinegar. This magic liquid has many good effects on our bodies including lowering blood sugar levels, killing many types of harmful bacterial, reducing weight, clearing dandruff, reducing hair fall as well as clearing lice infestations. Use distilled vinegar and gently apply it to your hair and leave it for 30 minutes. Rinse the hair thoroughly with plain water. Vinegar can be used alone or with the combination of other material such as coconut oil or salt. Coconut oil acts as a lubricant and it suffocates and kills the lice as it plugs their breathing holes. Meanwhile salt is an antiseptic and it also prevents nits from latching onto hair strands.
Secondly, petroleum jelly. Petroleum jelly stops roaming lice on their tracks and acts as a deterrent due to its smothering properties. Apply a thick layer of petroleum jelly on your scalp and hold it in place with a towel or shower cap before you go to bed at night. When you wake up in the morning, use baby oil and a nit comb to comb away the nits and remove the dead lice. Petroleum jelly as well can be used in combination with eucalyptus oil if the lice are resistant to chemical treatment. Try adding 15 to 20 drops of eucalyptus oil with petroleum jelly and apply it on your scalp. Leave it overnight with a shower cap. Comb in the morning to remove dead lice but make sure to rinse the scalp after combing to avoid dry hair.
Thirdly, use garlics to get rid of lice. Lice hate garlics and you can kill them by simply add 8 or 10 cloves of garlic to lime juice. Then grind it into a paste, mix them together and apply the mixture on your scalp. Let it stay for 30 minutes and rinse the scalp with hot water for best results.
Besides that, you can also use baking soda to kill lice by stopping their respiratory systems with a mixture of 1-part baking soda and 3-parts hair conditioner. Apply this mixture and comb the hair by sections to remove the nits, baby lice, and adult lice. Rinse with an anti-lice shampoo once you’re done and make sure to repeat this method three times in a week for a complete lice removal.
Lastly, add a few drops of neem oil to your regular shampoo and rinse the hair thoroughly during bath times as it contains natural insecticidal properties. In a nutshell, lice infestations are curable if proper measures are taken.