Of the three types of lice (head lice, body lice and pubic lice), head lice are the most common. They live on the scalp and feed by sucking blood. Their bites cause itching and scratching which can lead to scalp infections and dermatitis. Head lice are tiny and their eggs (nits), which they glue onto the hair shafts, are difficult to see. Lice are spread by head-to-head contact, especially between young school children at school.
If overused, organophosphorous compounds in conventional head lice preparations may be toxic to the nervous system.
In common with most insects, lice do not like the smell of garlic. If you can persuade your child to eat garlic or take garlic capsules it may help.
HEAD LICE TREATMENT
Although quite strong the following formula is safe for all school age children.
Essential oils kill lice, but not nits, so the treatment must be repeated every few days for a couple of weeks until all the nits have hatched out.
100ml vegetable oil (sunflower/olive)
15 drops tea tree
15 drops rosemary
15 drops lavender
15 drops geranium
Massage into the hair and scalp, leave for an hour and shampoo out thoroughly. Condition the hair very well to make it slippery, and then remove the lice with a fine toothed comb. Alternatively, buy an electronic comb from a chemist; this electrocutes the lice and damages the eggs.
Repeat the treatment every 3 days for a fortnight. This should be enough to cleat the infestation. If your child has lice, it’s a good idea to treat the whole family because of possible cross-infection.
As a preventative treatment you could add 5 drops lavender or tea tree oil to 20ml unperfumed shampoo and use this regularly, as lice do not like the smell.