Home remedies like olive oil or mayo are common, but experts also recommend lice-killing shampoos
Head lice have proven to be a nightmare, as these tiny parasitic creatures that infest human hair and feed on blood from the scalp, leave people sleepless and may also disrupt daily chores.
The insect spreads through direct head-to-head contact, causing itching and irritation. Despite their small size, they can cause immense nuisance, especially among children in close quarters like schools.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around six to 12 million children aged three to 11 contract lice annually in the United States.
So, what should a parent to do when their child brings home these tiny hitchhikers? Here are a few treatments recommended by health professionals to keep these wingless insects at bay.
Although the CDC doesn’t have conclusive scientific evidence supporting olive oil as an effective lice remedy, some medical experts and health departments suggest its use.
The Barron Area School District in Wisconsin recommends an olive oil treatment to be repeated every four days.
Dr Lauren Adler from Northwell Health explains that olive oil can smother and kill lice. To suffocate the bugs, users should wear a shower cap overnight, as lice can survive without breathing for hours.
Olive oil also aids in removing lice eggs from hair.
Dr Adler also suggests using white vinegar to dissolve the adhesive used by female lice to lay eggs. The Gibson County Health Department in Indiana advises using olive oil in conjunction with the lice’s three-week life cycle.
Similar to olive oil, the CDC doesn’t endorse mayonnaise as a proven lice killer. However, Dr Adler suggests its use can clog lice breathing holes due to its thick consistency.
Apply it overnight, cover it with a shower cap, wash it out the next morning, and repeat the process a week later.
Vaseline or styling gel can be used as substitutes, according to Dr Adler.
Research has shown that cleansers are 96% effective in lice treatment.
Dr Adler recommends applying the cleanser, waiting two minutes, combing through the hair, and then blow-drying it until the hair is completely dry. Repeat these steps within one to two weeks.
Lice-killing shampoos and prescription-only benzyl alcohol lotion are also recommended, as well as seeking professional treatment like the “LouseBuster,” which uses a vacuum-like method.