We’ve seen it before. Over time, bacteria become resistant to antibiotics. Roaches become immune to bug spray. Weeds become immune to herbicides. Adaptation wins. Chemicals lose. Such is life.
The newest winner is lice. A champion strain of “super lice,” now reported in 25 states, is proving resistant to the chemicals commonly used today to kill them – both the over the counter and the prescription drugs. When are we going to learn that chemical warfare will always result in creating super bugs?
It isn’t necessary to poison lice with chemicals that harm us and our environemnt. You can kill them naturally by suffocation. Even if over the counter treatments and prescription treatments still worked, do you really want to slather neurotoxins on your child’s scalp? Or yours?
Natural Remedies for Lice and Super Lice
There are several methods to go to war on lice and a few preventative treatments as well. As always, the better you eat, the healthier you are, the less susceptible you are to infection both inside the body and outside. This is true for internal parasites and external parasites like scabies, fleas, and lice. If you’re dealing with any infection (or ailment for that matter), it behooves you to load up on fresh, raw vegetables; to eliminate processed foods; and to seriously restrict any excessively sweet whole foods (like grapes and bananas for instance).
First of all, check your child’s scalp on a regular basis – once a week at the very least if lice have been a recurrent problem in their daycare or school, daily if there is a current infestation.
Check all over the scalp, but pay special attention to the area around the ears. Look for lice and look little dark specks. If you find the dark specks, these are nits – otherwise known as eggs. You can use a nit comb to remove lice and nits.
Now, of course, the manual method works, but it is tedious and time-consuming. If you’ve ever tried to remove fleas from a cat or dog with nothing but a flea comb, you know the drill. But if you catch lice early enough and your child only has a few lice and nits, the manual method alone may work.
If you spray any area that has nits with apple cider vinegar (or dab it on with cotton balls), the vinegar will dissolve the “glue” that attaches the nit to the hair shaft, making manual removal much easier.
How To Smother Lice
Mayonnaise, olive oil, and coconut oil are all used to smother the little suckers. Some suggest beginning with an apple cider vinegar rinse, leaving it on until it dries, and using the nit comb as the first step. Some suggest doing this as the last step.
Cover the entire scalp with mayo, olive oil, or coconut oil. Oil can be used with or without the addition of essential oils (tea tree, rosemary, cinnamon, or peppermint oil are good choices).
Cover the head with a shower cap and leave it in place for 2-8 hours. Some say the little monsters can hold their breath that long. Other say 2 hours does the trick.
Don’t forget this important step: wash everything that could be infested with lice and use the dryer! Bed linens are not the only concern. Hats, hoodies, coats, clothes – wash them all at the same time you do a treatment. In fact, if you do the 8-hour treatment, wash the linens before and after.
One treatment will probably not be enough. If you miss one nit, it will grow up to lay 8-10 eggs a day. So… plan on repeating the treatment every 7 days for a few weeks. (Of course you may not find any lice and be home free after one treatment. But check carefully!)
Other Natural Methods of Killing Lice
Reports of using strong salt solutions or diatomaceous earth look promising. One mother successfully treated lice by using ½ pound of salt to 2 quarts of water. Her instructions are to pour the saltwater over the child’s hair while the child is in the tub, leave on for 10 minutes, rinse, and condition. Repeat daily for 3 days and again every 7 days for 3 weeks.
Diatomaceous earth is a little trickier. You want to leave this dry powder on overnight after working it into the hair and follow with a vinegar rinse and nit comb. Since you don’t want to breathe this dust and you don’t want your child breathing it and you have to devise a method to keep this on the scalp overnight, it seems oil would be a better, easier method.
How To Prevent Lice Infestations
Yes, there are idiots out there who will say that your child caught lice because you did not keep his or her hair clean. Others say that lice prefer clean hair. Cleanliness is not the issue.
The one thing you are responsible for is the health of your child. Feed your child the best possible diet. All parasites do seem to prefer unhealthy hosts, and they all love sugar! If you do feed your child a healthy diet, and he or she still picks up lice, don’t waste your time looking for fault or blame. It’s time to deal with it in a healthy, responsible way.
In addition to diet, lice really hate essential oils and will avoid them. Spritzing your child’s backpack, coat, and hat with a spray of water and essential oils (10 drops of peppermint, rosemary, tea tree, or cinnamon oil to one cup of water) may deter lice.
Maybe the evolution of super lice is a good thing. Maybe the result will be a revolution in awareness of natural treatments. Remember that the skin (scalp included!) soaks up any chemicals that are placed on it. Why would anyone ever want to expose their child to poisons, to neurotoxins, to anything that might harm your child this way?
One can only hope that Big Pharma doesn’t respond the way other scientists have – to replace a failing insecticide with a new, stronger one. They probably will. We’ll see.
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