Written by Lisa Allen | Edited by Dr Mark Kapnoudhis
Nothing is more embarrassing for a child than getting head lice. These little pests can quickly make a home for themselves on your child’s scalp, so it is important to treat the problem as soon as it is found. However, the typical chemicals used may not be to every parent’s liking. Luckily, there are natural remedies that can be used to resolve the issue.
Before making a move to rid your child of head lice, it helps to make sure your child really does have head lice in the first place. Surprisingly, many parents and even doctors misdiagnose the problem so look for the following symptoms: red bumps on your child’s scalp and neck, itchy scalp, the presence of lice eggs, called nits (they appear as white, tiny, oval shapes that fix themselves to the sides of the hair strands), and actually seeing the lice moving around on your child’s scalp.
If you know without a doubt that you child is suffering from head lice, you can start to take action. The most natural way to treat your child’s head lice without using any ingredients or chemicals is to sit down and go through your child’s hair and scalp with a comb and pick out the nits.
While time consuming, this method does effectively remove the nits from the scalp as well as any lice you may come across, preventing the chance for another outbreak. Unfortunately, this task must be done for a few days until the lice and nits are completely removed. Not your cup of tea? Then you can opt for other home remedies.
Just as chemicals can be harmful to your child’s scalp, so can natural ingredients so it is critical to find a natural home remedy that uses ingredients that your child is not allergic to. One home remedy you can try uses ingredients you can find in your own home. Gather a metal lice comb, shampoo, conditioner, white vinegar, shower cap and Listerine mouthwash (only use the blue, mint flavored type).
First, use the Listerine to completely saturate your child’s scalp. If your child has any sores or has been scratching, the Listerine may sting or cause an uncomfortable feeling. Cover the scalp and hair with a shower cap and leave on for two hours.
Afterwards, rinse out the Listerine with your regular shampoo and go through the scalp and hair with the metal lice comb, removing any bugs or nits you come across. The Listerine will have killed all of the lice by this time. Now saturate the hair and scalp with the white vinegar. Place the shower cap back on and leave on for one hour. Rinse with shampoo a second time and then follow up with conditioner.
Go through the scalp and hair again with the comb while the hair is still wet. The vinegar works to dissolve the stickiness of the nits, making them easy to comb out. Once you have thoroughly removed the nits and eggs, your child should be completely free of head lice.
Other household ingredients you can use for home remedies include applying mayonnaise, olive oil, or Vaseline to the scalp and hair. As with the remedy above, place a shower cap over your child’s head but instead of waiting one to two hours, allow the shower cap to sit on the saturated hair overnight and rinse it out first thing in the morning with shampoo and conditioner. Go through with a lice comb and remove any an all traces of lice and nits.