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Head Lice: Natural Treatments to Try

By Michele Blacksberg RN HERWriter
 
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Have you ever received one of those letters from the school or camp nurse that your child has been exposed to lice? The letter usually states how common it is for children to be susceptible to pediculosis or lice since kids often share personal items and clothing. Knowing this doesn’t make you feel any better, however, since you still have to get rid of those horrible creatures.

Lice are parasitic insects that feed on blood near the human scalp. There are 3 forms of lice: adults, nits which are eggs and nymphs which hatch from the eggs 8 to 9 days after they are laid. Treatment of lice can be difficult because it is necessary to kill all the nymphs that hatch from the eggs, but also you need to get the adults before new eggs are produced. Multiple treatments may be necessary.

Most of us are reluctant to use strong chemicals to combat a dreaded infestation of lice especially since the treatments will likely need to be repeated. Some chemical treatments such as Kwell or Lindane have real risks of seizures, allergic reactions or other side effects so searching for an alternate method is preferred.

Recently in the New York Times health blog, suggestions were made by those who have had success treating lice using alternative treatments:

● Get a good Nit picking comb: Licemeister was one recommended at www.bodylice.com/licemeister/index.htm . Licemeister claims that they are “The only comb endorsed by the National Pediculosis Association.®”

● Consider shaving the child’s head if they are a boy or for girls cut the hair very short to make it easier to part, locate and comb out the nits.

● Ceptaphil: A study was performed by Dr. Dale Pearlman where a solution, that turned out to be Ceptaphil gentle skin cleanser, was thickly spread onto the subject’s dry hair and scalp. The hair and scalp were thoroughly dried with a hair dryer and the solution was left on overnight then shampooed off in the morning. The treatment was repeated once a week for three weeks resulting in a 95 to 97 percent cure. The full treatment is described here http://nuvoforheadlice.com/Nuvo%20method.htm

Add a Comment7 Comments

EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

We live in Wake County, Raleigh-Rolesville-WakeForest NC- They believe we should have 3 or more in one class infested before informing the entire class that your child has been exposed. Because of this policy, we have unknowingly spread it to a child at our church and to myself. I am outraged that they have made this choice for my household! This is an extremely disruptive parasite to your person and your environment!!! After treatment we recomb for nits each night, bag her head in gel to sleep each night. We are only one week into this and it's a nightmare! We have several items all over the home bagged up. We have been washing in hot water for a week every day! Vacuumed every possible surface, from our home to the vehicles! Knowledge is power! Inform people before we spread it in our homes, communitites and schools. Have it in your home and say you do not want to be informed!!! Keep gels, oils, and hair sprays in your head to prevent re infestation! And keep combing for nits if your child does have it. Be diligent! I am exhausted each night and so is my 9 yr old daughter but we do it!!! I will be getting a petition to get this policy changed. Email and phone calls are practically cost free to inform a classroom. It's 2011 and the bugs are becoming Super Bugs, becoming resistant to treatments...let's demand for ourselves to be informed!!!!

February 18, 2011 - 11:22am
licetech

If you live in the Atlanta ,Ga. or Raleigh, N.C area there is a moblie lice removal service that will come to your home. They use all natural products for the treatment and the best part is that it works. www.helpinghandsliceremoval.com

October 2, 2010 - 9:54pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Hello there,

This is a great source of info on getting rid of head lice through natural treatments.There's more information about Head Lice Treatments on this Link to supplement your article.

August 22, 2010 - 6:40pm
Michele Blacksberg RN HERWriter

Thank you for your post. I clearly agree that parents should consult their pediatrician in weighing the risks and benefits in treatments for their children. While permethrin has been determined to be the safest insecticide to use for lice, none of the studies have actually been performed on children. www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR601105/DSECTION=before-using
Some parents prefer to try alternate routes before resorting to chemical treatments. None of the ideas presented do I personally endorse, I just reported what appeared to be the highlights of the NYTs blog article.

The Reuter's article did suggest that OTC products such as Nix and RID which do contain permethrin but in even lesser concentrations than prescription versions are an alternative parents might also want to consider.

The article also suggested schools treat lice only on a case by case basis when students are itching or after a sleepover. I think that is an unreal expectation, schools are not going to wait for students to come in one by one scratching their heads.

Luckily lice is only an annoying problem and not a true danger to one's health. Coming up with satisfactory treatments for any low level health problems be it lice or symptoms of the common cold can be open to what suits the needs of each person.

July 28, 2010 - 9:35am
DDWeb

The American Academy of Pediatrics released their updated clinical guidance on head lice earlier this week (http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE66P59K20100726) and have excellent discussions about the various treatment options available.

Their first-line treatment recommendations continue to be permethrin solutions because of their low toxicity levels and relative efficacy.

Of note, none of the products mentioned in the post are FDA approved - few have any deep clinical information to substantiate their claims of efficacy and safety, and a concern of the AAP is whether or not the risk of a product outweighs a benefit.

I'd encourage all to thoroughly read the document embedded in the ThomsonReuter's article on this new clinical guidance and make decisions based upon their reviews/recommendations of available products.

They stand behind not using lindane-based products, keeping kids in school, and working directly with the child's pediatrician/health care professionals to 1. make a proper diagnosis 2. select the best treatment based upon the child's level of infestation.

July 28, 2010 - 6:23am
DustinHodgson139

Another natural treatment for head lice is the LouseBuster device. It's listed as one of the sources for this article and you can learn more about this safe, fast, and highly effective treatment at www.lousebuster.com.

July 5, 2010 - 4:47pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to DustinHodgson139)

The Lousebuster is a really good product, but the cost (over $1000) makes it impractical for the average consumer. It would be a product better used by schools systems if they wanted to train a nurse to use it, by salons specializing in nit picking/louse removal, or physician's offices (such as Dermatologists) who can afford to have a staff member trained on the device to treat in the office and bill insurance for the service.

With the American Academy of Pediatrics revamping their clinical update on head lice, it's more critical than ever to involve qualified health care professionals in the treatment process. One of the first comments made in their recent clinical update is to bring the physician back into the treatment process, something that we've gotten away from for many years.

August 23, 2010 - 10:11am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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