One of the best home remedies for head lice, is also one of the easiest to find. Olive oil is an inexpensive, safe, and highly effective means of treating head lice infestations in both children and adults.
Head lice are an extremely contagious wingless parasite, about the size of a sesame seed. Lice eggs, called “nits,” are attached to the shaft of hair near the scalp and are about the size of a pin head. Most common in grade-school aged children, head lice can infect anyone of any age. They are typically spread through close contact or the sharing of items such as hats or hairbrushes – personal hygiene has less to do with prevention than does contact with an infected person. The usual symptoms of a louse infestation are a tickling feeling in the hair, frequent itching, or sores resulting from frequent scratching.
As a natural alternative, olive oil is not only less expensive than over-the-counter or other chemical treatments, but is likely far safer. The oil works as a louse remedy by plugging the breathing apparatus of the embedded lice, essentially suffocating them. Because olive oil is a highly viscous substance, it is effective in binding to and completely covering the body of the lice, killing them quickly and without side effect to the host.
To clear up an infestation, apply a liberal amount of olive oil to the hair and scalp in a bathtub or shower. Repeat application and allow the oil to completely saturate the hair, and lean the head back to keep the oil from running into the eyes. When the oil appears to be draining away from the scalp, reapply for complete saturation. Repeat this process for about 10 to 15 minutes. You should notice the bodies of dead lice flowing away from the scalp and hair with the draining oil, or collecting around the ears or neck. Simply rinse and shampoo the hair to remove any excess oil and the bodies of the lice.
After drying off, use a nit-comb or louse-comb to make sure that there are no remaining nits. Another thorough application of olive oil should allow complete removal of the nits, and clear up the infestation.
I would also recommend that the infected person not wear any hats for at least 24 hours after treatment to ensure that a re-infestation doesn’t occur. Also, I recommend placing clothes and bed sheets (including pillowcases) in the laundry and washing them before reuse. Head lice can only survive away from their food source (human blood) for about 24 hours, so this should be sufficient time to make sure that the infestation does not recur.
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