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  5. Head Lice Bothering You? Here Are Natural Treatments To Eliminate Them

How long can you resist scratching your head in public? Not when a head louse feeds on your blood! We understand, you can't take it easy when a 3mm sized menace distracts your peace of mind.

Head lice infestation has a low degree of morbidity and high prevalence, discovered centuries ago. But the good news is that Ayurveda has natural therapies to cure head lice infestation. Let's find out how they work.

Lifespan Of A Head Louse

A head louse lives through 3 stages:

  • Nit (Egg)
  • Nymph
  • Adult

Nits are hard to see and look like dandruff. An adult female lays nits on the hair strand with a cementing substance a few millimetres away from the follicle. Nits take a week to hatch nymphs, which become adults within seven days.

An adult male louse is about 2-3mm, female is about 3-4mm (size of a sesame seed) with six legs, each with claws, and their color is a grey shade. If your hair color is dark, louse color appears darker. [1]

A female head louse is the vector of infestation as it lives for 30 days and lays up to 8 nits per day for a total of 50 to 300 eggs in its lifetime. It survives by sucking the blood every 2 to 3 hours. Lice stay close to the scalp for shelter, warmth, food, and moisture.

Head lice don't spread diseases. They are not dangerous in any way.

Symptoms Of Head Lice Infestation

You cannot predict the entry of a louse on your scalp. You may not notice the increase in the number of head lice until the symptoms gradually develop for a month.

1. You may have a mild feeling of the lice crawling on your head.

2. Your scalp suddenly starts itching, especially during nights.

3. You can see nits on your hair shafts. [2]

4. Someone may catch sight of a louse crawling on your head.

5. A louse may get caught in your comb.

6. You always feel like scratching your head or keep combing your scalp repeatedly.

Adults and children show the same symptoms of head lice infestation.

Symptoms

What Is The Main Cause Of Head Lice Infestation?

Head lice infestation is highly contagious. A louse is a wingless parasite. So it cannot fly or jump, but can crawl from one person's head to the other. Louse is hematophagous; it cannot survive without sucking human blood for 24 hours.

Here is a list of factors for the lice to transmit from one human scalp to another:

1. Head to head contact with a person affected by head lice.

2. Lice transmit if you share your comb, towel, bedsheets, and pillows with the infested person.

3. Transmission of lice also happens if you share your hat, scarf, hair bands, and pluckers with the victim.

4. Monsoon weather also develops head lice if you are Kapha Dosha dominant, according to Ayurveda.

5. If you leave your hair wet for a long time, it is prone to infestations.

6. Excess oil and dirt on your scalp makes it a comfortable place for the lice to settle in.

Victims are mostly women with long thick hair since head lice can multiply faster and are less exposed to light, which makes their survival easier. Also, children in the age group of 5 to 13 years are more likely to be victims of head lice infestation since they don't care much about hair hygiene.

How Do You Get Rid Of Lice Overnight?

You can get rid of lice and nymphs overnight, but it requires two repetitions of the treatment to eradicate nits from your hair. Limit using products with harmful chemicals for getting rid of head lice; it may have a detrimental impact on your hair growth.

Getting rid of head lice also includes limiting their transmission to the people around you. You can never have a permanent cure for head lice infestation as it can return at any moment in your lifetime. However, you can prevent head lice from attacking you by avoiding close contact with victims. [3]

Ayurvedic Methods

Ayurveda prescribes safe and easy to follow natural treatments to cure head lice infestation. Herbs with a natural insecticide property help protect your scalp from infestations and enhance resistance to prevent head lice.

Traditional Ayurvedic methods prove the effectiveness of two repetitions of the treatment for long-lasting cure of head lice infestation. The foundation principles of Ayurveda explains the tridosha theory to detect the type of a person's body.

  • Vata Dosha (Ether and Air dominant)
  • Pitta Dosha ( Fire dominant)
  • Kapha Dosha (Water and Earth dominant)

According to the qualities of the deviated dosha, Ayurveda composes herbal combinations to cure his/her hair infestations with holistic solutions.

Dr Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix, says, “Yuka - Lice and Pippalika- nits are described in detail by Acharya charak In viman sthan of the Charak Samhita. These are classified under Malaj Krimi - pathogens that proliferate as a result of dirt and grime on the body. Apart from causing itch they may also trigger skin rashes on the affected sites. Extraction of the lice and, application of specially formulated external oils and keeping good personal hygiene is a simple line of treatment for head lice.”

1. Oils

Ayurvedic Methods

Tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, lavender oil, peppermint oil, aniseed oil, red thyme oil, nutmeg oil, cinnamon leaf oil, clove oil, and neem oil can be used as cure for head lice infestation. They have natural insecticide properties that help you get rid of head lice.

How To Use:

Use any of the above mentioned essential oils by mixing it with a carrier oil like coconut oil, olive oil, or almond oil.

  • Take ten drops of tea tree oil with five drops of eucalyptus oil, lavender oil, peppermint oil. Add the mixture into 30 ml of carrier oil or a combination of 2 carrier oils coconut oil and olive oil (15 ml each).
  • You can also add other essential oils like thyme oil and neem oil (five drops each) into this formula.
  • Apply the concoction on your scalp root to tip.
  • Give a mild massage to your scalp with your fingertips.
  • Tie up your hair with a shower cap.
  • Leave it for an hour.
  • Comb your hair to remove the lice.
  • Wash your hair with a herbal shampoo (a shampoo made out of herbal extracts like neem or aloe vera).
  • Drain the excess water from your hair.
  • Comb wet hair to remove the remaining head lice. Use a nit comb to remove the nits from your hair strands.
  • Repeat the process two times and once every seven days to kill the newly hatched nits. [4] [5]

Vedix Tip:

If your hair is dry and dirty, first apply oil and wash it at least five hours before the treatment as it works better on clean and nourished hair. After an hour of applying oil, comb out the lice and wash your hair. If you leave it for a long time, lice may get used to the medicinal effect and resist it.

Word Of Caution:

If your skin is a sensitive type, do a patch test on your skin before applying the essential oil on to your scalp. Children may be especially sensitive to certain oils.

2. Herbal Shampoos

Scalp and hair hygiene is vital to prevent lice. Wash your hair at least twice a week to clean out dirt and pollutants that stick to the scalp. Apply oil one hour before the head bath for having moisturized hair.

After taking anti-lice oil treatment, use an anti-lice herbal shampoo for head bath and complete the procedure by combing the nits from your wet hair.

Ayurvedic herbal extracts dissolve exudates around the nits, making it easier to comb out the nits without uprooting the hair strands. It also strengthens your hair roots by nourishing your scalp.

Herbal Shampoos

Natural ingredients used in anti-lice shampoo are Neem, Camphor, Sitaphal, Guldaudi, Reetha, Shikakai, Azadirachta, Tea tree oil, Hibiscus, Brahmi, Nutmeg, Soapnut, Citrus Lemon, Rosemary, Lavender, etc. [6]

Wash your kid's hair with anti-lice herbal shampoo to easily remove the nits and increase resistance to infestation. Herbs have a natural insecticide property, so avoid getting it into your eyes as it may cause a mild burning sensation.

3. Other Home Remedies

A. Onion Juice

  • Grind onions without water.
  • Apply it on your scalp and leave it for 4 hours.
  • Remove dead lice and comb out the nits.
  • Wash your hair thoroughly with water.
  • Repeat the process twice after a week for better results.

B. Apple Cider Vinegar?

  • Apply it to your hair with a combination of 1 spoon coconut oil.
  • Leave it for an hour.
  • Wash your hair with water.
  • Comb your wet hair to remove dead lice.

C. Garlic

  • Grind 8 to 10 garlic cloves with lime juice.
  • Apply the paste onto your scalp and leave it for 30 minutes.
  • Garlic suffocates and kills lice. Remove the dead lice.
  • Wash your hair with warm water.

4. How To Comb Out Nits From Your Child's Hair?

A nit comb is a fine-toothed comb to remove nits from your hair. You cannot pull out nits by yourself; you need to take the help of another person.

How To Comb Out Nits From Your Child's Hair

  • Divide the child's hair in sections.
  • Use a plucker to separate the sections of hair.
  • Comb one part of hair at a time.
  • Pull out the nits from each hair strand with a nit comb. Be careful while using an electrical nit comb on the kid's head.
  • Press the nit comb close to the scalp and thoroughly pull out the nits from top to bottom of the hair.
  • Repeat the process for your child once a week for two weeks to prevent head lice for a long time.

Medicines To Cure Head Lice Infestation

The use of delousing agents may get rid of lice temporarily. If a person living with you shares your things, she also must use the drug along with you to prevent the spread of head lice.

It is not safe to use synthetic medicines on your child's head because of side effects like itching, allergic reaction, and burning sensation. Usage of drugs dehydrates your scalp. Inappropriate use of medication may lead to hair fall. Take the advice of a dermatologist before using the following OTC Drugs. [7]

1. Malathion

  • Apply it on dry hair and leave it for 8 hours before washing. You will have a stinging smell while using this.
  • If you find lice after seven days, repeat the process.
  • You can use Malathion three times.
  • Malathion is safe in pregnancy and breastfeeding.

2. Lindane

  • Apply it on dry scalp, leave it for 4 minutes, wash it.
  • Repeat the process after seven days if necessary.
  • Don't use it more than twice. Lindane may cause neurotoxicity.
  • Lindane is not safe in pregnancy and breastfeeding. You can use it only once during pregnancy if it is mandatory.

3. Permethrin

  • Apply it on wet hair and rinse after 10 minutes.
  • Apply it for the second time if required.
  • If you use it more than twice, lice can resist the drug.
  • Permethrin is not considered safe in pregnancy and breastfeeding.

4. Pyrethrin

  • Apply it on wet hair and rinse after 10 minutes.
  • Treatment includes the second application.
  • If you use it more than twice, lice can resist the drug.
  • Pyrethrin is not considered safe in pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Word Of Caution:

Use the medication only on your scalp. The medicine should not get into your eyes. Wash your hands after application.

Can Lice Go Away On Its Own?

Lice don't just come to visit you and go away. They love to build shelter, suck your blood, and reproduce on your head!

You have to make their living uncomfortable on your hair by suffocating them with natural therapies and killing them. Make sure to repel their next visit by enhancing your scalp's resistance to lice. [8]

How Long Is Lice Contagious For?

Lice are contagious until you eliminate the egg-laying adult female lice. After the first treatment kills lice, you remove the dead nits by combing them out of your hair strands, limiting their contagious nature.

You need to follow well-timed iterations of the procedure to make sure you are lice free. Remember to follow the treatment whenever you are in close contact with a person affected by head lice.

The Last Word

Head lice causes itching and drives you crazy. They are contagious, they easily crawl from one human scalp to the next even though you are hair hygienic. Start lice treatment immediately after you notice a head louse to limit the spread.

Follow three well timed natural therapies, remove the lice and comb out the nits from your wet hair to get rid of head lice completely. Herbal anti-lice products are free of chemicals and retain your nourished hair, while strengthening scalp resistance against head lice infestation.

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