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Home Remedies For Head Lice - What Works, What Doesn't
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Pediculosis (infestation with human lice) can be difficult to treat because of a high rate of re-infestation. In other words, even if having head lice is not dangerous per se, as lice don't spread disease, pediculosis is contagious. Once an active infestation is discovered, all household members and other close contacts should be checked for lice and nits.
While having head lice is not considered harmful, it can be very annoying, as they are notoriously difficult to exterminate. Although they can't fly or jump, they spread quickly. In recent times, these small parasitic insects have even managed to develop resistance to insecticides commonly found in medications used to treat head lice infestation.
Luckily, they are not likely to become resistant to newer silicone and oil based preparations, because they have a strictly physical effect on them - and that is still the most effective way to exterminate them! This is also the reason why the old-fashioned home remedies against head lice, such as wet combing, work surprisingly well.
When you discover head lice, it is important to act quickly, before the infestation spreads. At-home lice treatment consists of combing the hair with a lice comb (a regular comb may suffice) every morning and evening for three weeks, in order to comb out the lice and nits.
Probably the most popular method consists of rubbing a tablespoon of conditioner into damp hair before combing. The hair is divided in sections, and each section is combed separately. After each stroke, the comb is dipped into a bowl of hot water to kill lice and its eggs. Never use a conditioner on lice-infested hair if you are also using head lice medicine: it can act as a barrier that prevents the medicine from adhering to the hair shafts.
Some people coat either the hair or the comb with olive or almond oil in order to suffocate the lice. Using mayonnaise, butter, margarine, coconut oil or Vaseline for this purpose is common as well. Lice can survive without breathing for hours, so when applying any of these products on your hair, it is best to put a shower cap on and leave overnight.
A number of essential oils, such as tea tree oil and lavender oil, have been shown to be effective in eliminating head lice and preventing re-infestations. To get rid of any remaining nits, applying direct heat from a blow-dryer on freshly washed hair works best.
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