Most kids at some point will get the dreaded head lice and need effective head lice treatment.
Contrary to popular belief, head lice like nothing better than cleanly washed hair. They won’t live on dirty hair. Unfortunately once one child gets lice, it will spread like wild-fire, ensuring that a lice outbreak is thorough. In reality, lice cannot live long once they have dropped out of someones hair so they cannot form a colony in your carpet or furniture.
In the old days, spraying chemical pesticide was the norm. Nobody gave much thought to the horrors of what was inside the chemicals and what untold damage it was doing to our bodies as it absorbed the insecticide and the fumes. Actually lice are becoming tolerant of many chemical pesticides. This not only makes them harder to kill but gives us even more reason to take a natural approach.
The life cycle of lice is complex. If you kill or comb out all the adults with a lice comb, it is time consuming and you would need to to remove the lice and the eggs. The more you comb, the more will hatch and those lice won’t lay eggs themselves until they are 10 days old. At this stage the lice will not jump to another head until they are laying eggs. The maximum life of lice about 40 days. The females lay 7-10 eggs daily, touching or nearly touching the scalp, as this is the only place with the right temperature for hatching. The louse feed up to 5 times daily and while feeding injects saliva containing anticoagulant which causes the hosts sensitivity and thats what causes an itchy head.
The health shops and supermarkets are now awash with all-natural herbal remedies which really do work and actually are more effective than typical pesticide treatment. An extremely good herbal treatment for lice is Neem oil. Neem oil is totally natural and made from the seeds of the Neem tree (Azadirachta Indica) a native of India. The oil has been traditionally used as an anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, treatment for skin diseases and as an insect repellent. Neem oil is used on humans, on animals, and on plants, for a huge range of different problems and diseases.
There are Neem Shampoos already on the market which can be used periodically to keep lice investation at bay. However using Neem oil on a lice outbreak is easy, non-toxic and child friendly:
Mix 2 ounces of olive oil with 15 to 20 drops of Neem oil. Apply to the scalp using cotton balls. Leave this mixture on the scalp and hair overnight—at least 12 hours. Or pour the mixture in to a spray bottle and saturate the hair with it, leaving it in for 12 hours. Wrap a towel around your child’s head – or even better, and if your child does not kick up too much of a fuss, pop a shower cap on their head to maximize the effectiveness.
The following morning, comb out your child’s hair. Then, shampoo, rinse, and repeat. At this point you could use a regular Neem Shampoo. A.Vogel do an excellent shampoo that retails at around £5.99 in most UK health shops. Once the lice have been eliminated, the spray bottle can be permanently topped up with Neem and olive oil and used as a preventive treatment. Remember—combing out the hair is absolutely essential to remove all the lice and eggs! Invest in a good lice comb.
Whilst essential oils are all natural, organic and friendly, do remember that they should not be used around babies and pets.