Head lice -alternative treatments

Alternative treatments for head lice.

It is estimated that about 1 in 10 children suffer from head lice at any one time. The best way to check for signs of lice is to use a very fine toothcomb. This should be done when the hair is wet, right from the scalp down the full length of the hair. Only if you find a live or dead louse, is the hair infested.

An itchy head can be indicative, but it could also be dandruff, eczema or sensitivity to certain shampoos. A rash around the ears and neck is a good indicator, but again this can be due to a skin condition. A dark gritty dust found on collars and beds can usually is a good indicator that head lice are present.

Head lice are hard to get rid of and once one family member has the problem, everybody needs to be treated. If one family member objects to this practice and opts out of treatment they may actually have mild form of infestation and re-contaminate the whole family.

What are nits?

Nits are empty eggshells. They look like small flecks of dandruff and are typically seen on the hairs at the back of the neck. They are attached to the hair with a strong glue-like substance. They are the eggshells from which the louse emerges. Once the louse leaves the egg he does not go back in again much like the young chick that does not re-enter the broken egg from which he has hatched.

Nits may remain on the hair even following successful treatment of the infestation.

In order to facilitate the release of the nits mix some vinegar into the final rinse when washing hair. Olive Oil has also been said to be effective in releasing the nits.

What are the alternatives to conventional treatment?

The most effective treatment is to fine comb at least once a day. The lice start to develop after hatching and the combing takes them out, so they don’t have the time to mature enough to lay more eggs. This can even help in getting rid of the problem without any other form of treatment.

There are several alternatives to conventional treatment available:

  • grapefruit seed extract.
  • tea tree shampoo.
  • essential oils, including oil of lavender, rosemary, geranium and eucalyptus.

If you are pregnant do not use geranium oil in the first three months of pregnancy.

It is said that lavender oil and tea tree oil can prevent the spread of head lice because the louse is deterred by the smell of these oils.

These products are available in many pharmacies and health shops. It is important to follow the instructions for use as laid out in the product information sheet.

Homeopathy can eliminate the problem by using one of two or both remedies. These are known as Staphysagria and Pediculus. Fuller information can be obtained on this treatment from a qualified homeopath.

Written by Vicky Jocher.

Back to top of page