How to get rid of head lice!

louse close upMost parents have to go through the dreaded head lice routine with their kids – it's just 'one of those things'! When it invariably happens, the trick is to have an effective treatment for the head lice infestation to hand, understand how to use it and move quickly!

To help understand the best way to treat head lice and nits, do your homework on them. It helps to know your enemy!

Head lice facts:

  • Head lice are tiny (only 2-4mm long) wingless brown hair parasites (scientists call them 'pediculus humanus capitis') that live in the hair and on the head of humans, feeding on blood that they suck from the scalp

  • Head lice are very contagious and are easily spread through head-to-head contact – but they cannot jump or fly

  • Head lice cannot survive for long away from a host as they need regular blood meals

  • Head lice live approximately 30 days, during which the louse passes through three stages:

    • Eggs (often called nits)
    • Nymphs
    • Adult lice

Within a day of becoming adult head lice, male and female lice will start to reproduce – and numbers can grow at an alarming rate if left untreated. Very soon hundreds of lice can be living in your hair laying nits every day.

OK so we've done our research, what is the best way to actually deal with them?

There are two facets to treating head lice. These are dealing with an actual head lice infestation, and preventative measures to limit the chances of an infestation in the first place or a re-infestation later.

Preventing head lice infestation

We know that head lice can only be caught through direct head-to-head contact. Headlice cannot jump, swim or fly. Rather, they walk from one head to another. Head lice outbreaks normally occur in places where people are in close contact, such as the family home, schools or hospitals. What we need to do to prevent an infestation is to follow some golden rules:

  • If your kids attend a school and you hear of a potential head lice out break, then immediately start a regular 'detection combing' routine. This involves combing wet hair coated thoroughly in hair conditioner in sections from root to tip, using a special fine-toothed comb which will capture the nits and head lice. After each stroke, check the teeth of the comb – if headlice are present, you should find one on the teeth of the comb.

  • Keep kids (and your hair too!) nice and clean, but do not over do it as excessive shampooing removes the natural oils that build up around the hair and can make it far easier for the headlice to attach to the hair shaft.

  • If you do detect head lice – act fast with a safe, effective treatment such as Nit-Nurse

  • Use a head lice treatment that is also safe to use in place of your regular shampoo to help prevent future head lice attacks

  • Ask your child not to share hats, helmets, brushes or hair accessories – even though head lice cannot survive for long outside of the head environment, swapping of these items during play could increase the risk of an head lice infestation

  • If your child will be staying away from home, try to pack their own pillows and towels to decrease the risk of head lice infestation

Dealing with a head lice infestation

illustration of head louseEventually, you may have to deal with a head lice infestation. The first rule is 'act fast' to keep the infestation under control. The second rule is to use a safe effective head lice treatment that will get rid of the head lice infestation, but keep your child nice and safe.

Many synthetic headlice treatments on the market at the moment contain toxic insecticides which have been reported to cause serious illness. This is bad enough but recent strains of head lice have developed a resistance to these chemicals over time, severely reducing the efficacy of such treatments in eradicating a head louse infestation.

With the growth of herbal practices over recent decades, natural head lice remedies are becoming a popular alternative. These products, such as Nit-Nurse, draw on nature's own repellents to fight back when head lice attack and, to date, there have been no reports of lice resistance.

Such products get rid of nits and head lice in two effective ways. Firstly they kill the active lice and then, secondly, aim to break the breeding cycle of the head lice by actively dissolving the glue that sticks the egg to the hair, making it easier for them to be removed. In some cases the whole treatment only takes 10 minutes, and hair can be combed afterward using a nit comb to easily remove the nits.

Hopefully you'll never have to act on this advice! But now you know how to get rid of nits and head lice. Always be aware that they can appear at any time. It pays to save you and your children from distress by keeping a natural non toxic nit treatment, like Nit-Nurse, ready and waiting.

 

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