Treatments for Head Lice
by Tash Hughes of
Lice are insects
that live on human scalps. They donít cause disease or
illness, but they do bite and make the head itchy.
In the past,
having head lice was a shameful thing and treatments
were severe, such as shaving the head or washing it in
kerosene. Now, people are more aware that lice
actually prefer clean hair to dirty so having lice
is not a sign of being dirty and unkempt.
infestations are most commonly found in young children
as they have their heads closer together; lice canít
jump or fly so they can only be spread by physical
contact between heads. At the moment, head lice are wide
spread across Australia and thus likely to affect most
There are a
number of ways of dealing with head lice, but there is
no real prevention. Keeping long hair tied back and
preventing the sharing of hairbrushes, hats and the like
does reduce the risk of catching lice. Vigorous brushing
is thought to dislodge some lice, so can be used to stop
new infestations taking hold, but wonít remove the eggs.
cheapest but most time consuming technique is to go
through the hair and pull out any lice you find. Lice
lay many eggs on the hair shaft and these also need to
tooth combs can be used to get rid of both lice and eggs.
The most effective way to use them is with hair
conditioner. By spreading normal conditioner throughout
the hair, any lice are stunned and thus easier to comb
out. This process needs to be done every second day for
about two weeks to completely get rid of the lice. It is
also a useful weekly routine for checking if lice are
available combs are now available that can kill lice. AA
batteries put a small charge across the teeth of the
comb that will electrocute the insects as it removes
donít hurt the person being treated and can be used at
any time. They can be purchased from chemists for about
$65.oo each. This becomes less expensive if you consider
children will be exposed to lice for many years.
Tea Tree oil
kills lice. The oil can be
used to wash the hair, but this requires a lot of oil if
the hair is thick or long. In some warm water, it can be
used as a rinse for hair as a regular treatment.
Alternatively, soak cotton wool in tea tree oil and wipe
the infected areas - this should kill lice it contacts
and prevent infections of scratched bites. Leaving
the oil in the hair for half an hour with a towel
wrapped around it all gives a better result that rinsing
it straight out.
Tea tree oil
can also be added to your normal shampoo and conditioner
so that it acts as a preventative each time hair is
washed. This will reduce the chance of parents and other
children catching live from an infected child before
anyone realises lice is in a school childís hair.
There are some
commercially available lice shampoos based on natural
treatments like pyrethrum. These can be a foam for
dry hair or a shampoo and can be highly effective with
less risk of side effects.
treatments are available from chemists and some local
council health departments.
kill only the lice and
thus need to be reapplied 7 and 14 days later to kill
the newly hatched lice; some claim to kill the eggs as
and shampoos are often strong and best used in a
ventilated area Ė a glass shower screen holds the fumes
in and they can be overwhelming.
There are many
different species of lice and these treatments aim to
kill as many species as possible. However, each one will
not kill every type of lice so some of these shampoos
will not seem to work. Unfortunately, it is a hit and
miss process to see which one will work in any given
treatment method you choose, be aware that lice may a
recurring problem in your family and a mixture of
methods may be required over time
Tash Hughes is
the owner of
Word Constructions and is available to solve all
your business writing problems! From letters to
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