Lately, I’ve been informed of an incidence of head lice in my daughter’s class. While the child in question has not been named, protocol requires him/her to stay away from school until the problem is addressed. This makes complete sense from the hygiene point of view, however, I cannot help but think how humiliating this could be for a certain 6-year old.
Commonly occurring in children aged 4-10 years of both sexes, head lice is a pain in the head, quite literally. Watch out for symptoms of excessive scratching which call for a thorough examination of the head. In all probability, you will see tiny, wingless, blood-sucking insects on the scalp in which case, the diagnosis is confirmed.
Lice are really small but you can still see them; what’s difficult to identify are lice eggs or nits which look like dandruff. Nits are generally yellow, brown, white or clear depending on whether lice have hatched.
The oldest and ugliest remedy in the book is to shave the child bald. While this may not always be practical, application of substances on the hair is an alternative.
Distilled Vinegar is anti-septic and effective in shedding lice. Leave on a reasonable amount in your child’s hair before rinsing off. Overdoing vinegar may create a new problem altogether, so use it judiciously or get a professional to do it.
Lice respond to suffocation products that are dense and sticky. Mayonnaise, Vaseline and Olive Oil can all be massaged into the scalp and rinsed after a couple of hours. Using a fine-toothed comb on wet hair is extremely crucial in getting rid of lice forever.
A quick and sure-shot solution is to use a heavy-duty blow-dryer on your child’s hair. A standard, home blow-dryer can kill up to 97% of eggs with proper technique. However, using it weekly is important as eggs hatch every 7-10 days.
If you choose to get rid of lice without medication, talk to your doctor to discuss the best way. Whichever route you adopt, it is important to get rid of them completely as lice have the ability to affect the child physically and emotionally. To avoid getting them in the first place, encourage your child to avoid head-to-head contact and sharing items of personal use like brushes, combs, hair-types, hats and scarves.
Disclaimer: These are simple home remedies that are not to be regarded as a substitute for medicines in any way. Please refer to your medical practitioner for expert views on any health-related subject.