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Everyone knows head lice isn’t any enjoyable, and fairly probably a terrifying prospect for any dad or mum 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 getting ready for the start of school, a refresher might help! Listed below are some efficient pure or less-harsh strategies that truly work, based mostly on analysis from medical journals and expertise from the parenting trenches. I additionally embody 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 widespread therapies. Not solely do insecticidal therapies douse our kids in doubtlessly harmful endocrine disruptors and brain-affecting chemical compounds, 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 therapies with pesticides permethrin and pyrethrin, the most typical therapies used.
It’s virtually saturated with (these genes), which implies that folks utilizing permethrin and pyrethrin based mostly merchandise will most likely have a really laborious 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 therapies use stronger strains of pesticides that lice are not but immune to, however can value over $100 and infrequently want a prescription.
It’s additionally good to bear in mind that these insecticides may contain neurotoxins and endocrine disruptors which will have a long-lasting destructive impact on kids, particularly when used greater than as soon as over time.
What Ought to a Father or mother Do?
As a dad or mum, the mere thought of head lice sends chills down my backbone. With six children, lice may unfold in a short time at our home and be very tough to eliminate.
We really confronted this downside a few years in the past, and after some analysis, I wasn’t snug utilizing the traditional therapies with pesticides, particularly since our kids are nonetheless so little.
I attempted a number of of the pure treatments and suffocation strategies really helpful on-line, however none appeared to actually cease the issue, particularly for one daughter who had hair too thick to comb via fully and which was good for hiding lice.
Inside every week, we had fully eradicated the lice from our kids and in addition found a variety of pure treatments for head lice that didn’t work (and a few that worked brilliantly.)
The great thing about these therapies is that they act on the lice in a bodily approach via dehydration or different strategies and don’t depend on the pesticides that many lice are immune to anyway.
I’ve additionally included an inventory of the issues we’ve used to keep away from any extra outbreaks since our preliminary one, even in occasions after 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 complete 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 must comb via my children’ hair in any respect as a result of the therapy 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 women introduced a giant problem: three heads of thick, wavy hair starting from simply over shoulder size to virtually waist size.
Our women 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 at the least 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 will not be vital.
These are the strategies that labored for us, so as of effectiveness:
Saline-Based mostly Lice Spray
The simplest treatment we used that didn’t require any chemical compounds or using 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, rather more pure than different choices and eliminated a lot headache from the lice removing 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 variety of physique of their hair for a few week (most likely because of the 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 little one’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 evening 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. For the reason that saline-based lice spray wanted to be washed out every morning, I used a neem-based shampoo to be sure that no lice had survived the therapy. (I used this brand and really liked it)
This shampoo is drying, so I adopted up with a natural conditioner on the ladies 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 fully.
We continued utilizing this shampoo till we knew that the locations that they had been uncovered to lice had fully 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 be aware: Neem oil ought to by no means be used internally, particularly on ladies, kids, or anybody with out categorical physician oversight. It may well have destructive results if used internally however is usually thought-about protected for exterior use. Test with a physician earlier than utilizing this, or any product, if pregnant or on kids.
I additionally alternated these therapies with using diatomaceous earth (DE). I’ve used DE before for fleas and other pests and located some proof that it may assist kill lice as properly. 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 approach to assist kill head lice or different pests.
Warning: DE may cause irritation if inhaled. Watch out to use in a approach that doesn’t create mud your little one may inhale. I did this by having them cowl their face with a face masks and a towel (and doing this myself as properly), after which fastidiously 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 essential to deal with the house for lice as properly. 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 that they had worn for the previous 72 hours from their rooms. I washed all of those in scorching water and used the most popular 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 large to be washed was put in a black rubbish bag and put within the attic (it was scorching this time of yr) 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 the whole lot… 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 automotive within the scorching solar for a number of hours to kill any surviving lice within the automotive.
Avoiding Future Head Lice Infestations
Now we have not had any lice infestations since that preliminary time, regardless of publicity a number of occasions. 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 yr, simply to be protected.
However (strive) to recollect, it isn’t the tip of the world…
In case your little one comes residence 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 are usually 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 provides 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 Drugs and Naturopathic Drugs and can 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 speak together with your physician.
Has your loved ones ever handled head lice? What did you do this labored?