Whether you are seeking information for yourself or somebody else, it is almost certain that you are aware of the fact head lice are rather difficult to treat. Not only do you have to eradicate the living bugs, but the nits (eggs) as well. Additionally, the focus cannot only be on the head and hair of the person the lice or nits were discovered. Although they cannot survive there for long, lice can travel to clothing, bedding, and most fabric surfaces. Thus, many items will need to be treated in addition to those who have found head lice on their person. Following proper protocol will ensure delousing goes as smoothly as possible and treats the infestation. Thankfully, there are a few effective treatment options.
There are many different medications available for treating head lice, and they can be obtained over the counter or through a prescription from a medical professional. These products are designed to kill lice and their nits, so it is important to distinguish exactly what the product you are using is intended for. Typically, a patient would begin with over the counter medication. Treatment options can contain pesticides (piperonyl butoxide with pyrethrins or permethrin lotion) or be pesticide free (dimethicone). Likewise, within the options of medication, there are shampoos, lotions, and rinses. If an over-the-counter product has been properly used and the problem persists, contact a medical professional, as they will be able to prescribe a more aggressive medicinal treatment.
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There are a few natural and cost-effective options for those who like to stray away from chemicals. Most of these natural treatments, such as mayo and olive oil, work by slathering the product directly onto the head. This smothers the lice, but it will need to be followed by intense combing to remove all lice and nits and repeated daily for a week.
Another natural option is to use essential oils. A favorite to rid lice is tea tree oil, although other options such as lavender and clove oil are also useful. For this method, combine the essential oil with olive oil (two ounces of olive oil with twenty drops of essential oil), then apply it to the scalp overnight. Follow up with aggressive combing to remove lice and nits.
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In everyday life, nitpicking may mean looking for small, unimportant details. But, in the eradication of head lice, it is a necessity. Often, medicinal treatments for head lice will come with a small comb, which is meant to run through hair and remove the carcasses, any remaining living lice, and nits from the afflicted person's head after delousing. This ensures the lice have far less of a chance of reoccurring immediately after treatment. Some individuals prefer to purchase a very fine-toothed comb and remove nits themselves in hopes to remove the head lice with no other means of treatment. Often, this is because only a nit is found with no sightings of living lice. While this is very much an option, nitpicking works far more effectively if it is done following another head lice treatment.
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Washing Clothing And Bedding
As aforementioned, essentially any fabric item the afflicted individual has come into contact with will need to be thoroughly treated. Washing clothing and bedding should be the priority, alongside towels and any headgear. The basic course of action for treatment is to machine wash with hot water, and follow up with the hottest available dryer cycle. Head lice and nits are not able to survive high temperatures long enough to live through this laundering cycle. As an added precaution, there is the option of adding bleach or bleach-based laundry detergent to the wash. Although this is in no way necessary and would only be effective on the head lice, not the nits, it can give more peace of mind.
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Soaking Hair Instruments
As it could be imagined, the complete and proper cleaning of hair instruments is a necessity to ensure the head lice have been eradicated. Brushes, combs, scissors, and hair ties will all need to be treated or replaced. For treatment, soaking the hair instruments in boiling water (at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit) for a bare minimum of ten minutes is required. This is the only treatment necessary for hair instruments and accessories, as head lice and nits cannot withstand such a high temperature.
If the item will not melt or damage a dryer, individuals may also place them in a pillowcase and cycle them through on a high setting. Additionally, if you would like to further the treatment, once the items are dry place them in a freezer for twenty-four to forty-eight hours. It should be mentioned freezing is not a viable option as the sole method to treat items, simply because temperature and humidity make the proper amount of time to freeze relatively unknown. This would lead to the need to freeze items for days, which is not necessary when more time efficient options exist. Nonetheless, it can be used to further a treatment plan already in progress.