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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Safe Cheap Natural Treatments for Lice

itchy scalp
image credit

That itchy scalp, you know the symptoms. Scratch, Scratch, Itch, Itch. That creepy crawly feeling. You check, yup it is lice. Pediatricians say it spikes this time of year because kids are sharing helmets for bike riding and baseball. This week lice hit our household, and it wasn’t one of the kids it was me. One of the hazards of working with kids, I suppose..
Not wanting to use anything toxic on my head I looked to more natural remedies. It turns out that some of my favorite natural products; olive oil, tea tree oil, castile soap, and apple cider vinegar are perfect for treating lice.
Harvard did a recent study that found that lice submerged in olive oil for two hours die due to asphyxiation. Since I did not want to submerge my head in olive oil for two hours I poured it over my head and massaged it in and put a shower cap on before going to bed for the night.
Upon waking up in the morning I proceeded to wash my hair out with a mixture of castile soap, and tea tree oil. I actually had to wash it out about four times to get all the olive oil out. I followed up each scrubbing with a good dousing with vinegar. The vinegar actually helps to soften the glue on the nits.
  • Olive Oil – slather your head in olive oil sit under a shower cap for a couple of hours , A test conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health found that lice submerged in olive oil for two hours die asphyxiated.
  • I combed my hair with the a metal lice comb, no easy feat, given that my hair is long and thick. 
  • Wash your bedding and clothes in HOT water to kill the nits and lice, changing the sheets frequently
  • Mix some tea tree oil with another carrier oil like olive or almond and coat the hair, put a shower cap on and go to bed. In the morning wash it out with castile soap and more tea tree oil. Rinse it with vinegar. The vinegar helps soften the glue on the nits. I had to wash the hair out several times to remove all the olive oil.
  • Heat is apparently a real enemy of nits and lice so I followed up all this washing with a blow dry and flat iron, this seemed a little foreign, to me since I have not blown dried my hair in months.
Other measures I took to insure that the lice would not make a reappearance I also made sure to wash all my bedding and recently worn clothes in hot water, with the addition of tea tree oil and dried them in the dryer. Again heat kills the lice. It is just as important to wash your bedding and dry with heat to eliminate the lice and nits.
Have you dealt with lice? What are your favorite natural treatments for taking care of lice and nits?

this post is being shared at Your Green Resource


Sheila said...

You do have to be careful not to overdo tea tree oil, though. A friend of mine told me it can be toxic in large doses, even on the skin. She doused her head with it, full-strength, I think, before going to bed, and woke up with a stutter and some other minor neurological issues. So it's important to follow that advice of yours to mix it with a carrier oil -- don't use it full strength!

Lisa - the Granola Catholic said...

Sheila, thanks for sharing that story. I hope your friend is okay now. It is important to note that just because something is natural does not mean it is safe to use in any size dose you want.

Debbie said...

Thank you for the information. I will file it away. I hope and pray I don't have to deal with it, but if I do--- it is good to know what to do.

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