These small bugs infest the head and even other areas where there are body hair. Lice feed on the scalp and cause pain and itching. Lice actually feed on our blood, as a parasite, which is not only bad for hygiene but also for health. They are a real trouble but easy to take out. When parents hear the word ” lice “, its like nightmare for them. Head lice infestation in a kid brings back memories of endless vacuum, the scalp treatments and the undaunted effort to keep the child free from lice. But, these bugs can creep in very easily. They infect kids a lot more than adults, even after following the perfect hygiene.
The symptoms of a lice infestation often start with itching. But, there can be many more symptoms.
- A strange feeling of something moving in between the hair. This is caused by movement of the lice.
- Bumps on the skin. These are red and swollen due to the lice bites. They are quite itchy, however one should avoid the urge to itch them. Within a few days, these bumps may start to scab out.
- Dandruff like white spots in the hair.
- Actual lice on the body or on clothing and household items.
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- Clip the hair short.
- Prepare an anti-lice shampoo to wash hair.
- Get some shower caps ( They are going to come in very handy )
- Invest in a lice comb ( separate for everyone ). The choice of a nit comb is really important. Try plastic combs versus metal combs to see which ones work better. 
- Check the house too, for lice. Make sure you keep the house absolutely clean and pay close attention to sheets, covers and pillows.
2. Washing the hair with home made anti-lice shampoo
How to make an anti-lice shampoo at home ? Take any good shampoo that is well tolerated by your hair. Now, add tea tree oil to it. Shake well so that it forms a nice mix. Use this shampoo to wash hair. Keep the shampoo longer on the hair to let the tea tree oil work. Wash hair in warm water so that hair softens. This is the actual recipe for an anti-lice shampoo. A nice shampoo for lice.
Tea tree essential oil ( 5 – 10 drops in a medium sized shampoo bottle. If the bottle is small, add fewer drops of tea tree oil ) .
You can also buy a commercial tea tree oil based shampoo to get rid of lice. Tea tree oil is known to kill the lice . Its fragrance also keeps them away.
Get a lice comb. It is a special comb that brings the lice out. Part the hair in different sections and comb them thoroughly. Make sure the hair is wet. One can see lice coming out. Work in ample light to see the lice eggs ( nits ). After combing, see whether there are lice or eggs left. This means that further treatment is required. If lice do not come out easily, use a conditioner. It makes combing really smooth.How and when to do lice combing ?
Lice combing should be done immediately after a shower. Make sure you spend enough time in combing every section of hair. It should be done every 2 days for 16 days. This way you ensure complete lice removal. These 2 remedies above are more than enough for a mild lice infestation, like just a few lice and few nits. But, if the infestation starts to get severe ( you or your kid would be scratching their scalps all the time ), then these remedies are needed.
4. Different kinds of anti – lice wash
Tea tree oil is only a mild killer of lice. In some cases, lice may need a harsher wash to kill them.
- Washing with vinegar –Use white vinegar. Mix equal parts vinegar with equal parts water and pour it over the scalp as a wash. Again wash the hair with shampoo to get rid of the vinegar. Doing this can kill the lice and make them come out. 
- Onion juice : Crush an onion and take out its juice. Dissolve it in some amount of water just to dilute it. Now apply it over the scalp and in hair shafts just like you would massage hair oil. Keep this on the hair for about 2 hours and then rinse the scalp. Dry the hair and comb them.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – regular white vinegar can leave the scalp irritated in some kids. In that case, apple cider vinegar can be used for getting rid of lice.
- Lemon juice – Lemon has always been a poweful cleanser. Juice out some lemons, if possible with their rind on. Then, massage the lemon juice directly into the scalp and hair shafts. The lice are unaffected by it, but their eggs are detached. That is because lemon juice cleanses out the glue which binds nits to the scalp. So, lice would just watch their eggs fly away.
- Olive oil – Massage olive oil onto scalp in generous amount. Also massage it on hair shafts. Roll all the hair onto the head and place them inside a shower cap. Keep this on overnight. Olive oil is really suffocating for the lice . Next morning, wash hair in cold running water. Then, shampoo hair to take off all the olive oil sitting over the head. Shake the head well and dry the hair with a hot drier. Now comb with a lice comb.
- Mayonnaise cover : Use mayonnaise and dab the whole scalp in it. Keep it for a few hours. The lice may suffocate. Wash it off thoroughly. In fact, mayonnaise is perhaps the most effective of shower cap remedies.
- Petroleum jelly – Apply a good amount of petroleum jelly to the hair. It works brilliantly to smother lice in a single application. You would see mostly dead lice the next morning. Only the eggs may remain.
- Sesame seed oil can also be used.
- Mixture of almond paste and lemon juice. Mix to form the consistency of a paste and then apply as above.
6. Neem oil
It is a bitter and really awful smelling oil taken from the neem plant. But, it is known to kill lice , as well as acne bacteria, scabies , mites, any fungal infection and almost all things caused by pathogens. Use this treatment only if you are ready to bear the awful smell of neem oil. It can stay for days after the treatment and may require regular washing to get over the smell. But, neem oil removes lice perfectly.
Organic neem oil ( it can be yellow to dark brown in color )
- Directions / How to use
Take some undiluted neem oil and directly massage it into the scalp and hair of the person suffering from lice. Make sure you do a skin patch test first for sensitivity to neem oil. Then keep it for 15 minutes to 1 hour depending on how long you can bear the awful smell. Then wash it off really well using cold or warm water, whichever works for your hair. After that, comb the hair with a lice comb.
- Why it works ?
Neem is a powerful insecticide and repellent as well. It kills the lice and also keeps the live ones away.
7. Manual Removal Of Nits With Bare Hands
This step is needed to be done after lice have been completely removed from the head. There should not be a single lice left, or else they would lay the eggs again and all your effort will go down the drain. Taking the nits out with the hands is an art, one that is practiced in many ancient cultures. It takes some practice for the mothers to learn this art, but eventually they master it.
- Use the hand : Using the sharp nails of the thumb and any finger, one can detect and pull out a nit along the length of hair shaft . If the hair is too long ( particularly with women and girls ), get a haircut. Now, sit down and have someone manually remove each and every single one of the lice eggs from the hair. The best thing about it is that the procedure is fool proof and inexpensive. Once you start doing it, you become master at removing nits in no time. Moreover, it is relaxing for the person who has the nits.
You may need a small power magnifying lens in the beginning ( like 5 x magnification ).
For removing lice it is better to comb dry hair, but for taking out the nits, one should comb wet hair preferably treated with conditioner. Use a really fine comb and comb hair after few hours. See how many nits does it take out. Shake the head nicely to detach the nits from hair shafts.
8. Home remedies for a very severe lice infestation
When lice completely overtake the scalp, itching is tremendous. It becomes a serious matter as the person is losing blood on a continuous basis. This is going to weaken the hair roots and may make the person susceptible to hair fall in the future.
Obliterate the lice using these powerful remedies at home.
- Use neem oil : It is very powerful and works in case of a severe infestation as well.
- Hair straightener : Use a hot hair straightener over the hair shafts. The heat kills all the lice. Then you can pick up the nits using a nit comb or your fingers ( if you are trained )
- Electric lice comb : This is a special product for killing lice. It is an electric comb which produces electric current between its bristles. It obliterates lice when it comes in contact with the electric comb. It would produce a foul smell as lice die, but it works.
- Hair Spray : Using any good commercial hair spray generally keeps kids safe from lice all day long.
- Citronella essential oil : Citronella oil is wonderful insect repellent with a nice smell ( unlike neem ). It can be used on hair on a daily basis. All you have to do is add a few drops of citronella essential oil to daily shampoo or conditioner and it would do its job. Citronella oil is obtained from the lemongrass plant, the one which we love to put in tea.
Lice can also feed on the lovely coats of our pets, like that of a pup. These are different species of lice, different from the ones that infest us. A lice species that attacks a dog is not going to attack humans. They are remarkably different in their properties and modes of action. However, they can be easily eliminated by using home remedies.
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