Lice does not care about hair colour, or whether it is straight, curly, short or long... and this year it is also getting ready for “back to school!”
Head lice (Pediculosis capitis) is a minuscule insect that feeds on blood. The female spawns 10 eggs (nits) daily, which affix themselves to the root of the hair, generally at the base of the neck or behind the ears. Young lice begin to bite as soon as they are hatched. Well fed, they can live up to 30 days. Lice do not jump or fly. It is transmitted through objects or clothing (hairbrushes, combs, clips, hats, caps, scarves, pillows, etc...).
As soon as school begins, inspect your children’s hair routinely, especially if they regularly and vigorously scratch their scalps. Go through their hair with a fine-tooth comb and anything that resembles dandruff, but does not fall easily can be a nit. If you need a nail or tweezers to dislodge it, it definitely is lice! In instances of positive identification, use the following treatment:
Preventatively, you can apply an anti-lice shampoo once weekly. Add five drops of one or a combination of the following anti-lice essential oils to your regular shampoo: Tea tree oil (Melaleuca) and lavender (Angustofolia). Certain already prepared mixes exist on the market by mixing the 2 above mentioned oils with the following: Mint, Rosemary, lemon and Pennyroyal. You can apply 5 drops of the above mentioned oils to the nape of the neck and near the ears with out rinsing morning and night once a week.
What to do... In case of infestation
Notify the daycare or school immediately. At home, treat all family members including animals. Use either the below-listed essential oil preparation or anti-lice shampoo:
Mix 10 ml (2 teaspoons) of anti-lice oils (listed above) with 30ml (2 tablespoons) of vegetable oil. Apply the solution to dry hair. Massage the scalp thoroughly and leave it in for 30 minutes.
Wash the hair and go through it with a fine-tooth comb. Repeat the treatment for 3 consecutive days. Wait one week and apply another treatment.
Anti-lice shampoo: Add 5 to 10 drops of essential oil blends to one dose of hair shampoo.
Massage to wet hair and let it sit for 5 minutes. Rinse and repeat. Rinse again and go through hair with a fine-tooth comb. Repeat treatment twice daily for 3 consecutive days.
Soak and wash combs, hairbrushes, bedding and clothes.
CAUTION: In case of contact between these oils and the eyes, apply a small quantity of vegetable oil to the eye to appease any burning sensation.
Anti-lice essential oils can also be used to treat cats or dogs. Simply apply a few drops to their coat and massage while avoiding the sensitive areas.
By Lise Guénette, ND.A.
Member of l'Association des naturopathes agréés du Québec
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