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We all know that head lice are not fun and it is possibly a terrifying prospect for any parent. As more drug-resistant strains appear, some research is needed to find out what natural methods to deal with lice actually work.
Especially when preparing for the start of school, a soda can help! Here are some effective or less harsh natural methods that really work, based on medical journal research and the experience of breeding trenches. I also include some proactive steps to hopefully prevent lice from occurring.
In the same way that certain strains of bacteria have mutated in order to survive treatment with common antibiotics, these lice have developed mutations that allow them to survive the usual treatments. Insecticide treatments not only flood our children with potentially dangerous endocrine disruptors and chemicals that affect the brain, but many are not even effective.
A study from 2014 found that more than 99% of the lice tested had a mutation that allowed them to survive treatments with permethrin and pyrethrin insecticides, the most commonly used treatments.
It is almost saturated with (these genes), which means that people who use permethrin- and pyrethrin-based products will probably find it very difficult to control lice, “said Kyong Sup Yoon, an associate professor of biological and environmental sciences at the University of Southern Illinois, led the study of the current study and the 2014 study. (font)
Newer treatments use stronger insecticide strains that lice are not yet resistant to, but can cost more than $ 100 and often require a prescription.
It’s also good to be aware of this these insecticides may contain neurotoxins and endocrine disruptors that can have a long-lasting negative effect on children, especially when used more than once over time.
What should a father do?
As a parent, the mere thought of head lice makes me shiver down my spine. With six children, lice could spread very quickly in our home and be very difficult to remove.
In fact, we faced this problem a couple of years ago, and after doing some research, I didn’t feel comfortable with conventional insecticide treatments, especially because our children are still so young.
I tried several of the recommended natural remedies and choking methods online, but none seemed to really stop the problem, especially for a daughter who had hair too thick to comb completely and was perfect for hiding lice.
Within a week, we had completely eradicated our children’s lice and we also discovered many natural remedies for head lice that didn’t work (and a few that worked brilliantly.)
The beauty of these treatments is that they act on the lice in a physical way by dehydration or other methods and do not rely on the insecticides to which many lice are resistant.
I’ve also included a list of things we’ve used to prevent more outbreaks from the first one, even in times when I know my kids were exposed to children with lice.
Natural ways to fight drug-resistant head lice
The study found that drug-resistant lice were resistant to insecticides. Anyway, I wasn’t comfortable with the use of insecticides, so the methods I found and tested on our kids weren’t based on them in the first place. I read the full text of the study and confirmed that these natural remedies (which worked through dehydration and physical means) would still work in mutated forms of lice.
The other advantage of these natural remedies is that I did not have to comb my hair at all, because the treatment does not depend on removing lice or nits.
For our boys, we shaved our heads as it was warm weather, but our girls presented a great challenge: three heads of thick, wavy hair ranging from just over the shoulders to almost the waist.
Our girls are also the most tender boys I have ever met, so night picking would be a difficult or impossible option for us, although it has been shown to be effective in removing lice when used properly. constant. I have also found in research that lice do not lay eggs for at least ten days after hatching, so as long as some type of effective natural remedy is used against lice every 6-7 days for a few life cycles. , the hair does not get needed.
These are the methods that have worked for us, in order of effectiveness:
Salt-based lice spray
The most effective remedy we used that did not require chemicals or the use of a pint of lice was a salt-based lice spray. Salt-based spray dehydrates and kills lice and lice on contact, but is not harmful to children. While it contains an added fragrance that I would normally avoid, this option is still much, much more natural than other options and eliminates both the headache of the lice removal process that I was willing to use even with the fragrance. .
This spray was also so easy to use. I just sprayed on my hair before going to bed, let myself spend the night and shampooed them in the morning. It didn’t sting, it didn’t smell horrible as insecticide-based remedies and (surprisingly) it also left a lot of body in my hair for about a week (probably due to the salt, which I use in my own beach waves spray by volume).
This spray also comes with a comb of lice, which I used as much as I could on each child’s hair, but even without combing our hair evenly, our lice had disappeared in a week without the need for any insecticide. .
The other advantage of this spray is that it can be used after exposing other children with lice, so if I know my kids have been exposed, I spray their hair at night and let them sleep with spray to prevent an outbreak.
A 2012 study found that neem oil was also effective in killing lice when used externally in a shampoo. Because salt-based lice spray needed to be washed every morning, I used a neem-based shampoo to make sure no lice survived the treatment. (I have used this brand and have really enjoyed it)
This shampoo dries out, so I followed up with a natural conditioner to girls so that their hair would not be too dry or tangled to brush. I found that I could also use the comb of lice on my hair while it was wet and with a conditioner, so it was what we found most to comb them completely.
We continued to use this shampoo until we learned that the places where they had been exposed to the lice had completely eliminated the problem and now I add a few drops of neem oil to your usual shampoo to prevent future outbreaks.
Important note: Neem oil should never be used internally, especially in women, children or anyone without the express supervision of a doctor. It can have negative effects if used internally, but is generally considered safe for external use. Check with a doctor before using this product or any other product, if you are pregnant or having children.
Land of diatoms
I also alternated these treatments with the use of diatomaceous earth (ED). I have previously DE was used for fleas and other pests and found some evidence that could help kill lice as well. Tiny DE particles have microscopic sharp sides that scratch the exoskeleton of lice and lead to dehydration. This is another chemical free form to help kill head lice or other pests.
Caution: ED can cause irritation by inhalation. Be careful to apply so that no dust grows that your child can inhale. I did this by covering them up with a face mask and towel (and doing it myself), and then carefully spreading DE over the scalp. We then applied a shower cap and let them watch a movie while the DE did their job before washing.
I also used DE to treat our house to prevent future outbreaks (see the steps I took below).
Other important steps to combat a head lice infestation
Since head lice can survive for a short time with bedding, clothes or carpets, it is also important to treat the lice house as well. Here are the steps we took to prevent another infestation:
- I started by spraying and saturating all the kids hair with salt lice spray and letting them dry. It was in the afternoon, so we left the spray overnight while they slept.
- Then I approached the house. I started by taking out all the beds, pillows and taking out of the rooms all the clothes they had been wearing for the last 72 hours. I washed all of this with hot water and used the hottest cycle in the dryer. Even just 20 minutes in the hottest spot of a dryer is supposed to kill any lice that live on clothes or bedding. I also passed the pillows and stuffed animals through the dryer for 20 minutes. Stuffed animals, clothing toys, or furniture that were too large for washing were placed in a black garbage bag and placed in the attic (it was hot at this time of year) for 2 weeks. This could have been excessive, but not risky.
- I sprinkled diatomaceous earth on all the carpets, let it sit for 15 minutes and vacuumed everything … twice.
- Then I grabbed all the brushes / combs and went through the sanitation cycle in the dishwasher. Hair bows, bows and other hair accessories were put in airtight bags for several weeks.
- I also parked our family car in the hot sun for several hours to kill the surviving lice in the car.
Avoid future head lice infestations
We haven’t had any lice infestations since that initial moment, despite exposing ourselves several times. To prevent another outbreak, I used it this lice-free spray to our children at any time, I know we have potentially been exposed. We also use Neem shampoo once a month or so, especially at this time of year, just to be safe.
But (try) to remember, it’s not the end of the world …
If your child comes home with lice at any time, don’t panic! I know it can be embarrassing, frustrating and exhausting to deal with head lice, but lice are not life threatening or dangerous … just annoying!
Even with these drug-resistant mutant lice, there are natural options that work. In my opinion, they even work better than harmful options based on conventional insecticides.
While I hope we never need these lice remedies again, it gives me peace of mind to be prepared and have a plan in advance.
This article was medically reviewed by Dra. Michelle Sands, ND. She has dual certification in Integrative Medicine and Naturopathic Medicine and is also a Board Certified Holistic Nutritionist and Competitive Endurance Athlete. As always, this is not about personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk to your doctor.
Has your family ever dealt with head lice? What did you do that worked?