If you have children you may be familiar with the dreaded head louse. In this post I’ll show you how to get rid of them safely using essential oils and without dangerous chemicals or pesticides. I myself have been infested with them on two occasions and have lived to tell the tale. I used essential oils from Young Living.
There are two problems with most over the counter preparations to treat head lice. They are
- dangerous because they contain chemical pesticides, and
- the lice have developed resistance to them and so they flat out don’t work.
FIRST OF ALL
Anybody can get head lice. If you’ve got them just remember that they don’t like dirty hair. So if you’ve got them it’s because you have nice clean hair. Unlike body lice which can spread diseases such as typhus, head lice are not the vectors of any known disease.
However, they are very contagious and can spread easily. And it really ISN’T COOL to have blood sucking parasitic insects making their home in your hair!
SO WHAT ARE THESE CRITTERS ANYWAY?
Head lice are tiny wingless insects that spend their entire lives on the human scalp feeding only on human blood. They cannot hop like fleas or fly, but they do crawl quickly.
They are usually found close to the scalp, especially at the nape of the neck and around the ears, but may be found on the eyebrows or eyelashes.
- Head-to-head contact is by far the most common route of lice transmission.
- Their average life span is about a month.
- An adult female head louse lays approximately 100 – 150 eggs a month.
- The eggs are usually attached 1/2-inch from the scalp.
- Eggs hatch within 7-10 days of being laid.
Head lice are resistant to prescription and over-the-counter shampoos and lotions. That’s why there is an epidemic of them in our school system.
The National Pediculosis Association warns: “There are NO over-the-counter or prescription treatments to kill lice that are totally safe and scientifically proven to be 100% effective against head lice and nits. These treatments are potentially harmful pesticides and reliance on them promotes repeated use and contributes to ongoing infestations, outbreaks and resistant strains of head lice.”
They further warn against the use of chemicals, “designed to kill or destroy head lice in any individuals who have a pre-existing illness. This would include, but not be limited to, those with asthma, epilepsy, brain tumors, cancer or AIDS. Those on medication, OR who have been previously treated for head lice, as well as pregnant and nursing mothers may be more vulnerable to side effects and should AVOID chemical lice treatments for use on themselves OR applying them to others.”
OVER-THE-COUNTER PREPARATIONS MAY CONTAIN:
1. Pyrethrins, obtained from the chrysanthemum flower, sound like they all natural and have nothing but good vibes. These are safer than the chemical pesticides, yet they are known to cause respiratory problems, headache, nausea, incoordination, tremors, convulsions and skin reactions.
2. Permethrin and other pyrethroids are synthetic versions of pyrethrin and have a much greater potential for causing toxicity. Animal studies have shown they can suppress the immune system and be toxic to the liver.
3. Lindane, an organochlorine insecticide. Look for the name Gamma-Hexachlorocyclohexane or Benzene Hexachloride (BHC). These are neurotoxins and are structurally similar to banned DDT & chlordane.
4. Malathion, an organophosphate insecticide. You can find online reports saying it has very low toxicity and breaks down quickly. Don’t believe them. The truth is that one of its breakdown products is a chemical called malaoxon which is more toxic than the malathion itself. My advice is to avoid it totally.
5. Inert ingredients, and that does NOT mean it is non toxic. One, Piperonyl Butoxide, can pose a distinct health risk for pregnant women.
SO HERE IS WHAT YOU DO:
1. Remove all nits using a special fine tooth NIT COMB. Nits are most easily removed by combing while the hair is slightly damp. Adding conditioner or a 50:50 vinegar-water solution to the hair will make combing easier.
2. Use therapeutic grade essential oils. I use Young Living Essential Oils. Proper use of essential oils will kill not only the adults, but also the nits. Try one of the following formulas.
Formula 1. In 1 ounce of olive/almond oil add the following essential oils :
10 drops each of Eucalyptus, Geranium, Oregano and Thyme oils
Formula 2. In 1 ounce of olive/almond oil add :
- 10 drops – Eucalyptus
- 8 drops – Lavender
- 5 drops – Geranium
Formula 3. In 1 ounce of olive/almond oil add:
- 10 drops – Tea Tree (Melaleuca)
- 5 drops – Rosemary
- 5 drops – Lavender
- 5 drops – Lemon
Apply 1 teaspoon or more as needed of mixture to scalp and hair nearest scalp. Massage over entire head and into hair. Leave in for at least 30 mins. After that shampoo hair or just leave mixture on.
Repeat once a day for 10 – 14days. I used Formula 1 above only every second day.
3. All personal articles that have been in contact with the person’s head should be deloused. Normal laundering with hot, soapy water (125 degrees F for 10 minutes), or dry cleaning will kill lice and nits on clothing, bed linens and towels. Combs and brushes should be soaked for 10 minutes in a pan of very hot water. As an added precaution, car seats, furniture, and carpeting contacted by infested individuals should be vacuumed and the vacuum bag discarded.
4. Children should be instructed not to share hats, clothing or brushes with their classmates.
PRECAUTIONARY NOTE on using essential oils, especially with children or during pregnancy:
To avoid any possible adverse reaction to any essential oil, first test the mixture to be used by applying only a drop or two on the skin. If you are pregnant, please consult with a professional health care practitioner before using essential oils.
May there be peace in our hearts.
May there be peace for all humanity.
May there be perfect peace on earth.