Head lice are very common in children between the ages of 3 and 12. Lice are not really dangerous, though they can be very annoying. They can also be a major source of embarrassment, for children as well as their parents. A lice-infestation can lead to inflammation and infections of the scalp. Therefore, parents should check their children’s scalps regularly, to ensure that there are no head lice present. Fortunately, there are several home and natural remedies that can help get rid of these parasitic insects in kids.
Head lice are small and wingless parasites that live in human hair and feed on tiny amounts of blood drawn from the scalp.Though they are tiny, they can usually be seen by the naked eye. Children also tend to scratch their scalps a lot when they catch head lice.
How To Detect Head Lice In Children?
Follow the steps given below to confirm if your child may have caught lice –
- Wash your child’s hair thoroughly with a shampoo.
- Remove all the knots and tangle in your child’s hair, using a hairbrush or a comb.
- Seat your child beneath a source of bright light to spot lice and eggs easily.
- Have your child bend his head, so that you can start at the bottom (nape) and work your way up. The lower hairline is the ideal place to start checking for lice, as they prefer warmer places to hide.
- Gently part your child’s hair down the middle, using a tail comb. Check if there are any adult lice or nits (louse eggs) attached to the hair shaft. Adult lice look like insects, so they are hard to miss. The nits look like small white specks attached to the hair.
- Once you finish examining the top of the hair, part the hair either to the left or the right to check a new section for adult lice and nits.
- Repeat the exercise for the entire head, paying closer attention to nape and the hair that is close to the ears.
- In case head lice or nits are found, wash your hands thoroughly and change your child’s clothing.
- If there are other children in the house, it may be a good idea to check their scalps as well.
Home Remedies For Head Lice In Children
It is important that you begin the treatment for head lice as soon as you find any on your child’s scalp. In addition to a good shampoo, which is easily available at most pharmacies, you could also use a few natural remedies, to speed up the delousing process –
- Chop one apple into small pieces and rub them on to the scalp in a massaging motion, for around 20 minutes or so. Rinse your child’s hair after a few minutes, to complete the elimination process.
- Mix two tablespoons of vinegar with six tablespoons of water and apply the solution on to your child’s scalp. Cover your child’s head with a piece of cloth and leave the solution on overnight. Rinse your kid’s head with warm water and shampoo the next morning.
- Grind a piece of garlic into paste and add some lemon juice to it. Apply the mixture evenly all over the scalp, as it helps kill off the lice. For best results, the garlic should be left on overnight.
- Take some coconut oil and add some camphor powder to it. Apply this oil on to your child’s scalp, every night if possible, just before bedtime. The oil can be washed off the next morning.
Essential oils like tea tree oil and lavender oil are also usually quite effective in getting rid of head lice. However, these natural remedies have not been approved by the FDA, which is why you need to be very careful using them especially for children.
Also bear in mind that natural remedies only kill the lice, not the eggs. To keep the infestation from recurring, you will need to use a special comb or a pair of tweezers to get rid of the eggs.