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Everyone knows head lice is not any enjoyable, and fairly probably a terrifying prospect for any father or mother to take care of. As extra drug-resistant strains emerge, it takes a little bit of analysis to know what pure strategies to take care of lice really work.
Particularly when making ready for the start of school, a refresher may also help! Listed here are some efficient pure or less-harsh strategies that really work, based mostly on analysis from medical journals and expertise from the parenting trenches. I additionally embrace some proactive steps to hopefully keep away from getting lice within the first place.
Drug-Resistant Head Lice?
Simply as sure strains of micro organism have mutated to have the ability to survive treatment with common antibiotics, these head lice have developed mutations that permit them to outlive the frequent remedies. Not solely do insecticidal remedies douse our kids in doubtlessly harmful endocrine disruptors and brain-affecting chemical substances, however many additionally aren’t even efficient anymore!
A 2014 study discovered that over 99% of lice that have been examined had a mutation that allow them survive remedies with pesticides permethrin and pyrethrin, the most typical remedies used.
It’s virtually saturated with (these genes), which implies that folks utilizing permethrin and pyrethrin based mostly merchandise will in all probability have a really onerous time controlling the lice,” stated Kyong Sup Yoon, affiliate professor of organic sciences and environmental sciences at Southern Illinois College, who led the analysis for the present research and the 2014 research. (source)
Newer remedies use stronger strains of pesticides that lice are not but immune to, however can price over $100 and infrequently want a prescription.
It’s additionally good to bear in mind that these insecticides may contain neurotoxins and endocrine disruptors that will have a long-lasting unfavorable impact on kids, particularly when used greater than as soon as over time.
What Ought to a Guardian Do?
As a father or mother, the mere thought of head lice sends chills down my backbone. With six youngsters, lice may unfold in a short time at our home and be very tough to eliminate.
We really confronted this drawback a few years in the past, and after some analysis, I wasn’t snug utilizing the traditional remedies with pesticides, particularly since our kids are nonetheless so little.
I attempted a number of of the pure treatments and suffocation strategies really useful on-line, however none appeared to actually cease the issue, particularly for one daughter who had hair too thick to comb via utterly and which was excellent for hiding lice.
Inside every week, we had utterly eradicated the lice from our kids and likewise found a number of pure treatments for head lice that didn’t work (and a few that worked brilliantly.)
The great thing about these remedies is that they act on the lice in a bodily method via dehydration or different strategies and don’t depend on the pesticides that many lice are immune to anyway.
I’ve additionally included a listing of the issues we’ve used to keep away from any extra outbreaks since our preliminary one, even in instances once I know that my kids have been exposed to children with lice.
Pure Methods to Battle Drug-Resistant Head Lice
The research discovered that drug-resistant lice have been immune to pesticides. I wasn’t snug with utilizing pesticides anyway, so the strategies I discovered and examined on our kids didn’t depend on them within the first place. I learn the total textual content of the research and confirmed that these pure treatments (which labored via dehydration and bodily means) would nonetheless work on mutated types of lice.
The opposite benefit of those pure treatments is that I didn’t need to comb via my youngsters’ hair in any respect as a result of the remedy doesn’t depend on eradicating any lice and nits.
For our boys, we shaved their heads because it was heat climate anyway, however our three ladies introduced a giant problem: three heads of thick, wavy hair starting from simply over shoulder size to virtually waist size.
Our ladies are additionally essentially the most tender-headed kids I’ve ever met, so nit-picking was going to be a tough or not possible possibility for us, although it has been discovered to be efficient at eradicating lice when used constantly. I additionally present in researching, that lice don’t lay eggs for no less than ten days after they hatch, so so long as some type of efficient pure lice treatment is used each 6-7 days for a number of life cycles, nitpicking hair just isn’t obligatory.
These are the strategies that labored for us, so as of effectiveness:
Saline-Primarily based Lice Spray
The best treatment we used that didn’t require any chemical substances or the usage of a lice comb was a saline-based lice spray. The salt-based spray dehydrates and kills lice and nits on contact however isn’t dangerous to a toddler. Although it does comprise an added perfume I might usually keep away from, this feature continues to be a lot, way more pure than different choices and eliminated a lot headache from the lice elimination course of that I used to be prepared to make use of it even with the perfume.
This spray was so easy to make use of too. I simply sprayed on hair earlier than mattress, let keep on in a single day, and shampooed their hair within the morning. It didn’t sting, it didn’t have a horrible odor like insecticide-based treatments and it (surprisingly) additionally left a number of physique of their hair for a couple of week (in all probability as a result of salt, which I take advantage of in my own beach waves spray for volume).
This spray additionally comes with a lice comb, which I used as a lot as I may one time on every baby’s hair, however even with out constant combing, our lice have been gone inside every week with out the necessity for any pesticides.
The opposite benefit to this spray is that it may be used after publicity to different kids with lice, so if I do know my kids have been uncovered, I spray their hair at night time and allow them to sleep with the spray in to keep away from an outbreak.
A 2012 study discovered that neem oil was additionally efficient for killing lice when used externally in a shampoo. Because the saline-based lice spray wanted to be washed out every morning, I used a neem-based shampoo to make it possible for no lice had survived the remedy. (I used this brand and really liked it)
This shampoo is drying, so I adopted up with a natural conditioner on the women so their hair wouldn’t be too dry or tangled to brush. I discovered that I may additionally use the lice comb on their hair whereas it was moist and had conditioner on it, so this was the closest we got here to combing their hair utterly.
We continued utilizing this shampoo till we knew that the locations they’d been uncovered to lice had utterly eradicated the issue, and I now add a few drops of neem oil to their common shampoo to assist keep away from any future outbreaks.
Necessary notice: Neem oil ought to by no means be used internally, particularly on girls, kids, or anybody with out specific physician oversight. It will possibly have unfavorable results if used internally however is usually thought-about secure for exterior use. Examine with a health care provider earlier than utilizing this, or any product, if pregnant or on kids.
I additionally alternated these remedies with the usage of diatomaceous earth (DE). I’ve used DE before for fleas and other pests and located some proof that it may assist kill lice as nicely. The tiny particles of DE have microscopic sharp sides that scrape the exoskeleton of the lice and result in dehydration. That is one other chemical-free method to assist kill head lice or different pests.
Warning: DE may cause irritation if inhaled. Watch out to use in a method that doesn’t create mud your baby may inhale. I did this by having them cowl their face with a face masks and a towel (and doing this myself as nicely), after which rigorously sprinkling DE throughout their scalps. We then utilized a bathe cap and allow them to watch a film whereas the DE did its work earlier than washing out.
I additionally used DE in treating our home to keep away from future outbreaks (see beneath for the steps I took).
Different Necessary Steps to Battle a Head Lice Infestation
Since head lice can survive for a short while on bedding, garments, or carpet, it’s also vital to deal with the house for lice as nicely. These are the steps we took that prevented one other infestation:
- I began by spraying and saturating all the kids’s hair with the saline lice spray and letting it dry. This was within the afternoon, so we left the spray on in a single day whereas they slept.
- Then, I tackled the home. I began by stripping all beds, pillows and eradicating all clothes they’d worn for the previous 72 hours from their rooms. I washed all of those in scorching water and used the most well liked cycle within the dryer. Even simply 20 minutes within the hottest setting on a dryer is meant to kill any lice dwelling on clothes or bedding. I additionally ran their pillows and stuffed animals via the dryer for 20 minutes. Any stuffed animals, material toys, or furnishings that was too massive to be washed was put in a black rubbish bag and put within the attic (it was scorching this time of 12 months) for two weeks. This might need been overkill, however I wasn’t taking probabilities.
- I sprinkled diatomaceous earth on all carpets, let sit for quarter-hour, and vacuumed every little thing… twice.
- Then, I took all hairbrushes/combs and ran via the sanitize cycle on the dishwasher. Hairbows, hair ties, and different hair equipment have been put in hermetic luggage for a number of weeks.
- I additionally parked our household automobile within the scorching solar for a number of hours to kill any surviving lice within the automobile.
Avoiding Future Head Lice Infestations
Now we have not had any lice infestations since that preliminary time, regardless of publicity a number of instances. To maintain from getting one other outbreak, I’ve used this lice-free spray on our kids any time I do know that we’ve doubtlessly been uncovered. We additionally use the Neem shampoo as soon as a month or so, particularly this time of 12 months, simply to be secure.
However (attempt) to recollect, it isn’t the tip of the world…
In case your baby comes house with lice at any level, don’t panic! I do know it may be embarrassing, irritating, and exhausting to take care of head lice, however lice usually are not life-threatening or harmful… simply annoying!
Even with these mutated drug-resistant lice, there are pure choices that work! In my view, they even work higher than dangerous standard insecticide-based choices.
Whereas I hope we by no means want these treatments for lice once more, it offers me peace of thoughts to be ready and have a plan forward of time.
This text was medically reviewed by Dr. Michelle Sands, ND. She is double board licensed in Integrative Medication and Naturopathic Medication and can also be a Board-Licensed Holistic Nutritionist, and aggressive endurance athlete. As at all times, this isn’t private medical recommendation and we suggest that you just discuss along with your physician.
Has your loved ones ever handled head lice? What did you try this labored?