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Why do lice occur ?

When the parent spot first signs of lice on the child’s hair, they get panicked. The child and parents feel that lack of hygiene is cause for it. But it’s not always the case. In fact, lice prefer clean heads to dirty ones. Generally, children contract lice from the friends and school. Its one of most common communicable diseases spread mostly by direct contact with the infected people.

Parents try different techniques to get rid of lice. Some try on pesticides and some go for more traditional methods. Pesticides are not good techniques to kill them.  Treatment of lice is not one time affair. They need to be repeated often for removal and to prevent them from recurring. Using chemical loaded pesticides repeated will damage the child’s hair and also the lice will also develop resistance towards it.

Children lice treatment

Hair lice treatment just requires olive oil, Dawn dish soap, a plastic comb and metal nit comb (available in all medical stores).  Technique followed here is called suffocation technique. It’s believed the lice haven’t become immune to suffocation till date.

The treatment starts with soaking the scalp with olive oil. Firstly the child should be dressed in old clothes as the oil can cause stains. Next a paper towel should be tucked in the collar around the neck. The child should be seated on a high stool or with the back towards the sink so that the lice and oil dripping could go in to the sink. Then the oil should be spread on the scalp, taking a small strand of each time.

Once oiled, it should be left for 30 minutes. If it’s a long hair, then clipping it would be a good idea. Leaving the hair oiled will suffocate the lice and the eggs. After 30 minutes, hair should be combed with a regular plastic comb, followed by a metal comb. Long hair should be parted in to sections and clipped and combed. Then the hair should be rinsed with dawn dishwashing soap to get rid of the oil. The lice will try to escape and hang on the hair line. This could be followed by normal shampooing of hair. Hair should be oiled in the same way on every second day for the next two weeks but combing is not necessary. After two weeks, the same oiling and combing process should be followed.  While combing hair, if no lice appears indicates that the problem is solved.

All the bed spread, pillow cases etc should be washed in hot water and dried in sun or hot dryer to get rid of the lice and stuffs like soft toys should be put in a plastic bag and tied up for 48 hours as the lice will not be able to survive with the base of hair for more than this period.

It’s easier to get rid of lice if detected early.  Also, children should never share comb with family members or friends.

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