There are three varieties of lice according to the area of their infestation. The first and most common is head lice, next is pubic lice and the third is called body lice. Lice are tiny creatures, parasites which hide under the hair and feed on human blood. They are wingless insects and stay attached to the hairs.
Lice are usually spread by close head to head contact or by sharing combs and other belongings of an infested individual. Lice multiply very fast. The eggs hatch within 7 to 8 days and the louse turns into adult within next 10 days and they too start laying eggs speedily. Nits are empty white eggs that are left behind after the louse is hatched. It looks similar to dandruff but it is difficult to brush it off easily.
Head lice: it is also called pediculosis capitis. Head louse is grayish in color. The female are more numerous than males. A louse has three pairs of legs.
Body lice: it is also called pediculosis corporis. Body louse is slightly longer. They shelter themselves in the seams of underclothing and on the bedding. They prefer to lay their eggs on the clothing rather than on the skin and under the hair. Young adults and old people are most commonly affected by the parasite. People living in overcrowded places, those who often migrate and do not have facility to bathe and launder their clothes are vulnerable to this infestation.
Pubic lice: besides affecting the pubic region, it can also affect eyebrows, axilla, and hairy region of chest. The spread is through physical contact or use of common bathing costumes and lavatories.
Most of the time lice infestation is not dangerous, except for the intense itching, scratching and irritation that it produces wherever it is found. In extreme infestation and untreated cases, there can be secondary infection, impetigo and infective eczema. Persistent secondary infection can cause enlargement of regional lymph glands.
How To Get Rid Of Lice And Nits?
Having a brief knowledge of lice and nits, we now focus on how to get rid of lice.
There are wide varieties of over the counter products available to get rid of lice. These products include lotions and medicated shampoos. The products are harsh as they contain chemicals and pesticides which may sometime not suit an individual. Especially people who are allergic or those suffering from asthma and pregnant women and children should always consult their doctor before using such products. Remember to take care of your eyes while using such products and follow the instructions given on the bottle.
Nit removal combs are also useful in getting rid of lice and nits. They usually come together with the shampoo. Check your child every week for lice and nit infestation. Comb the child’s scalp with special nit comb regularly.
Home Remedies For Lice And Nits Removal
Instead of using harmful chemical laced shampoos and lotions, there are other safer options that are also found effective in exterminating this itchy creature. Here are some of them;
- Coconut oil: apply coconut oil on the head and hair of your kid and let it remain overnight. In the morning wash your hairs with shampoo. Now comb the hairs with special comb meant for removing lice and nits. Coconut oil has some ingredients that help in killing the lice. At the same time it makes the hair smooth and shiny.
- Vinegar: it is an ingredient that is often found in your kitchen. Rub your hair and head with vinegar and leave it for some time. Then wash your hairs it with mild and gentle shampoo. Repeat this procedure two to three times in a week until you are sure that no lice is left on you head.
- Alternately you can mix some amount of vinegar with olive oil or coconut oil and apply on the affected area. Let it remain for some time and rinse it with plain water after that.
- Mayonnaise: yes, apply mayonnaise on your hair and scalp and let it remain overnight. You can cover your head with a shower cap so that it may not soil the bedding and pillows. The next morning, wash your hairs and use a coconut based conditioner.
- Wash combs and brushes with hot water after they are used.
- Add few drops of tea tree oil to coconut oil and apply it on the hairs and scalp. Tea tree oil has ability to ward off this parasite.
- Mix Homeopathic remedy called Staphysagria in olive oil in the ratio 1:9. Meaning 1 ml of mother tincture and 9 ml of olive oil. Apply liberally on the scalp or on the infested area. Local application is found extremely effective in eradicating lice and nits.