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We all know head lice is not any enjoyable, and fairly presumably a terrifying prospect for any father or mother to cope with. As extra drug-resistant strains emerge, it takes a little bit of analysis to know what pure strategies to cope with lice truly work.
Especially when getting ready for the beginning of faculty, a refresher may also help! Here 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 embrace some proactive steps to hopefully keep away from getting lice within the first place.
Drug-Resistant Head Lice?
Just as sure strains of micro organism have mutated to have the ability to survive therapy with frequent antibiotics, these head lice have developed mutations that permit them to outlive the frequent therapies. Not solely do insecticidal therapies douse our youngsters in probably 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 had been examined had a mutation that permit them survive therapies with pesticides permethrin and pyrethrin, the commonest therapies used.
It’s nearly saturated with (these genes), which implies that individuals utilizing permethrin and pyrethrin based mostly merchandise will most likely have a really laborious time controlling the lice,” mentioned Kyong Sup Yoon, affiliate professor of organic sciences and environmental sciences at Southern Illinois University, 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 proof against, however can value over $100 and sometimes want a prescription.
It’s additionally good to remember that these insecticides may contain neurotoxins and endocrine disruptors which will have a long-lasting unfavorable impact on youngsters, particularly when used greater than as soon as over time.
What Should a Parent Do?
As a father or mother, the mere concept of head lice sends chills down my backbone. With six children, lice might unfold in a short time at our home and be very troublesome to eliminate.
We truly confronted this downside a few years in the past, and after some analysis, I wasn’t comfy utilizing the standard therapies with pesticides, particularly since our youngsters are nonetheless so little.
I attempted a number of of the pure cures 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 excellent for hiding lice.
Within every week, we had fully eradicated the lice from our youngsters and in addition found quite a lot of pure cures for head lice that didn’t work (and a few that worked brilliantly.)
The magnificence of those 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 proof against 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 youngsters had been exposed to children with lice.
Natural Ways to Fight Drug-Resistant Head Lice
The research discovered that drug-resistant lice had been proof against pesticides. I wasn’t comfy with utilizing pesticides anyway, so the strategies I discovered and examined on our youngsters didn’t depend on them within the first place. I learn the total textual content of the research and confirmed that these pure cures (which labored via dehydration and bodily means) would nonetheless work on mutated types of lice.
The different benefit of those pure cures is that I didn’t should 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 ladies introduced a giant problem: three heads of thick, wavy hair starting from simply over shoulder size to nearly waist size.
Our ladies are additionally essentially the most tender-headed youngsters I’ve ever met, so nit-picking was going to be a troublesome or unimaginable choice for us, although it has been discovered to be efficient at eradicating lice when used persistently. I additionally present in researching, that lice don’t lay eggs for not 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 isn’t obligatory.
These are the strategies that labored for us, so as of effectiveness:
Saline-Based Lice Spray
The only treatment we used that didn’t require any chemical substances 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. Though it does comprise an added perfume I’d 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 elimination course of that I used to be keen 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 scent like insecticide-based cures and it (surprisingly) additionally left quite a lot of physique of their hair for a couple of week (most likely as a result of salt, which I take advantage of in my very own seaside waves spray for quantity).
This spray additionally comes with a lice comb, which I used as a lot as I might one time on every baby’s hair, however even with out constant combing, our lice had been gone inside every week with out the necessity for any pesticides.
The different benefit to this spray is that it may be used after publicity to different youngsters with lice, so if I do know my youngsters 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. Since the saline-based lice spray wanted to be washed out every morning, I used a neem-based shampoo to guarantee 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 pure conditioner on the women so their hair wouldn’t be too dry or tangled to brush. I discovered that I might 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.
Important observe: Neem oil ought to by no means be used internally, particularly on ladies, youngsters, or anybody with out categorical physician oversight. It can have unfavorable results if used internally however is usually thought of protected for exterior use. Check with a physician earlier than utilizing this, or any product, if pregnant or on youngsters.
I additionally alternated these therapies with using diatomaceous earth (DE). I’ve used DE earlier than for fleas and different pests and located some proof that it might assist kill lice as effectively. The tiny particles of DE have microscopic sharp sides that scrape the exoskeleton of the lice and result in dehydration. This is one other chemical-free approach to assist kill head lice or different pests.
Caution: DE could cause irritation if inhaled. Be cautious to use in a approach that doesn’t create mud your baby might inhale. I did this by having them cowl their face with a face masks and a towel (and doing this myself as effectively), 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).
Other Important Steps to Fight 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 effectively. These are the steps we took that prevented one other infestation:
- I began by spraying and saturating all the youngsters’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 sizzling 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 residing on clothes or bedding. I additionally ran their pillows and stuffed animals via the dryer for 20 minutes. Any stuffed animals, fabric toys, or furnishings that was too huge to be washed was put in a black rubbish bag and put within the attic (it was sizzling this time of 12 months) for two weeks. This might need been overkill, however I wasn’t taking possibilities.
- 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 had been put in hermetic baggage for a number of weeks.
- I additionally parked our household automobile within the sizzling solar for a number of hours to kill any surviving lice within the automobile.
Avoiding Future Head Lice Infestations
We haven’t had any lice infestations since that preliminary time, regardless of publicity a number of instances. To preserve from getting one other outbreak, I’ve used this lice-free spray on our youngsters any time I do know that we’ve probably been uncovered. We additionally use the Neem shampoo as soon as a month or so, particularly this time of 12 months, simply to be protected.
But (strive) to recollect, it isn’t the top of the world…
If your baby comes house with lice at any level, don’t panic! I do know it may be embarrassing, irritating, and exhausting to cope with 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 opinion, they even work higher than dangerous standard insecticide-based choices.
While I hope we by no means want these cures for lice once more, it provides me peace of thoughts to be ready and have a plan forward of time.
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Michelle Sands, ND. She is double board licensed in Integrative Medicine and Naturopathic Medicine and can be a Board-Certified Holistic Nutritionist, and aggressive endurance athlete. As all the time, this isn’t private medical recommendation and we advocate that you just speak along with your physician.
Has your loved ones ever handled head lice? What did you do this labored?