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Everyone knows head lice is not any enjoyable, and fairly probably a terrifying prospect for any mum or dad 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 may help! Listed here are some efficient pure or less-harsh strategies that really work, primarily based 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 enable them to outlive the widespread therapies. Not solely do insecticidal therapies douse our kids in probably 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 permit them survive therapies with pesticides permethrin and pyrethrin, the commonest therapies used.
It’s nearly saturated with (these genes), which implies that folks utilizing permethrin and pyrethrin primarily based merchandise will in all probability 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 price 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 detrimental impact on kids, particularly when used greater than as soon as over time.
What Ought to a Father or mother Do?
As a mum or dad, the mere concept of head lice sends chills down my backbone. With six youngsters, lice may unfold in a short time at our home and be very tough to do away with.
We really confronted this drawback a few years in the past, and after some analysis, I wasn’t snug utilizing the standard therapies with pesticides, particularly since our kids are nonetheless so little.
I attempted a number of of the pure cures and suffocation strategies really useful on-line, however none appeared to really cease the issue, particularly for one daughter who had hair too thick to comb by means of utterly and which was excellent for hiding lice.
Inside every week, we had utterly eradicated the lice from our kids and in addition found loads of pure cures for head lice that didn’t work (and a few that worked brilliantly.)
The fantastic thing about these therapies is that they act on the lice in a bodily method by means of 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 Combat 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 total textual content of the research and confirmed that these pure cures (which labored by means of dehydration and bodily means) would nonetheless work on mutated types of lice.
The opposite benefit of those pure cures is that I didn’t must comb by means of my youngsters’ 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 an enormous problem: three heads of thick, wavy hair starting from simply over shoulder size to nearly waist size.
Our ladies are additionally probably the most tender-headed kids I’ve ever met, so nit-picking was going to be a tough or unattainable choice 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 very least ten days after they hatch, so so long as some type of efficient pure lice treatment is used each 6-7 days for just a few life cycles, nitpicking hair is just not needed.
These are the strategies that labored for us, so as of effectiveness:
Saline-Based mostly Lice Spray
The best 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’d usually keep away from, this feature remains 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 cures and it (surprisingly) additionally left loads of physique of their hair for a few week (in all probability as a result of salt, which I exploit 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 baby’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 utterly.
We continued utilizing this shampoo till we knew that the locations they’d been uncovered to lice had utterly 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 word: Neem oil ought to by no means be used internally, particularly on ladies, kids, or anybody with out specific physician oversight. It may have detrimental results if used internally however is mostly thought of secure for exterior use. Test with a health care provider 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 method to assist kill head lice or different pests.
Warning: DE may cause irritation if inhaled. Watch out to use in a method that doesn’t create mud your baby 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 Combat a Head Lice Infestation
Since head lice can survive for a short while on bedding, garments, or carpet, it is usually vital 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 the entire 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 they’d worn for the previous 72 hours from their rooms. I washed all of those in scorching 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 by means of the dryer for 20 minutes. Any stuffed animals, fabric toys, or furnishings that was too massive 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 by means of the sanitize cycle on the dishwasher. Hairbows, hair ties, and different hair equipment have been put in hermetic baggage 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
We’ve got 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 probably been uncovered. We additionally use the Neem shampoo as soon as a month or so, particularly this time of yr, simply to be secure.
However (attempt) to recollect, it isn’t the top of the world…
In case your baby comes house 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 aren’t life-threatening or harmful… simply annoying!
Even with these mutated drug-resistant lice, there are pure choices that work! For my part, they even work higher than dangerous standard insecticide-based choices.
Whereas I hope we by no means want these cures for lice once more, it offers 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 Medication and Naturopathic Medication and can also be a Board-Licensed Holistic Nutritionist, and aggressive endurance athlete. As at all times, this isn’t private medical recommendation and we advocate that you simply speak together with your physician.
Has your loved ones ever handled head lice? What did you try this labored?