Head lice are insects (wingless) whose domicile is the human scalp. They feed on human blood and man is the only known host of these insects. Many individuals think that head lice and body lice are one and the same thing. Nothing could be further from the truth. The two are different sub-species with the distinction between them being drawn from their modus operandi. The body louse attaches its eggs to the clothing of its host, whilst the head lice attaches its eggs upon the scalp of its host. These lice spend their entire life cycle on the scalp of the host.
A head lice will typically feed about five times during the day. They inject the skin using their proboscis, drain their saliva into the host and then draw blood from the host. Unlike other parasites however, head lice do not attach themselves to the body of the host. The have short stubby legs, are wingless, and can hardly move on a flat surface. As a result of consuming the host’s blood they become rust colored – it is this color that is used to identify them as lice. This is basically how this six legged, no winged insect operates.
Causes of Head Lice
This medical condition is caused by the infestation of a hosts scalp by a parasitic insect. This condition is transmitted among human beings by contact with the lice. It is important to note that this condition can not be transmitted from an animal to a human being. This contact is achieved in the following manner.
- Foremost there is the head to head contact that is quiet possible during sporting activities and on the play field. This is probably the reason that head lice are quite common amongst school going children.
- The second mode of transmission is via contact with a surface that inadvertently has hosted head lice. Such a surface could be a pillow case, a cushion , or even beddings. Probably any surface where human beings put their head to rest is a likely candidate for hosting head lice. That is why it is important that hotels basically sterilize their bedding equipment periodically.
- The third mode of transmitting head lice is via the use of infected combs, towels, and other grooming accessories. The trick lies in ensuring that you do not share these personal objects of grooming with anyone.
- Lastly , one can get head lice on account of wearing garments such as caps, hats, towels, etc that were worn by an individual who is afflicted with head lice. It is probably on account of these that the second hands clothes market got the tag , the flea market.
Symptoms of Head Lice
The symptoms of this condition are as follows:
- First is the tickling sensation that those who are suffering from head lice usually experience. This is the first sign that an individual might possibly be battling with head lice. The key word is probably, you need to isolate all symptoms as opposed to relying on one symptom. A tickling sensation could even be dandruff.
- Secondly is the frequent itching that an individual afflicted with head lice experiences. This itching is borne from the irritation that is stirred by the deposits of saliva and fecal matter that the parasite deposits into the host.
- Thirdly, there will be red sores on the surface of the skin. These sores come from the constant scratching that an individual does. The scratching is definitely done to obtain relief from the tingling sensation that accompanies a head lice infestation. The by product of the scratching however are the unsightly sore atop ones scalp.
- Fourthly is the swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck region. This is probably on account of the deposition of fecal matter and saliva ( the parasite) in the system of the host.
Head Lice Home Remedies
There is a two pronged effort needed when dealing with head lice – the home remedy route, and the use of medical interventions. The details of the two are given below: Remember, you should always consult with your physician in order to get a proper diagnosis and before trying to incorporate these home remedies and herbal remedies yourself! Here are some of the home remedies and herbal remedies that you can try.
- Nit Picking the Lice– One head lice home remedy that is usually employed is nit picking the lice. The nit is the egg of the lice and nit picking usually involves plucking these eggs one at a time. Though it is a tedious process it bears fruit in the sense that it drastically reduces the head lice population from the scalp of the host. The second home remedy that is applied is via use of oil based treatments such as the use of petroleum jelly e.g Vaseline and the use of tree tea oil or even white vinegar.
- Try This Head Lice Home Remedy– First, the thorough cleaning of the house or whatever environment that a head lice infestation has scourged. Secondly, the testing of various medical treatments whilst knowing quiet well that it is not guaranteed that all treatments might actually work. Lastly, you should ensure that you maintain thorough hygiene in so far as keeping head accessories personal are concerned. This is the magic way via which you can tackle a head lice infestation.
- Tea Tree Oil- Tea tree oil can be used to treat head lice. This is because it has antiseptic properties that can be used to treat infections. These very same disinfectant properties ca be used to get rid of head lice. It does not need to be combined with any other ingredient in order for it to work effectively. All you need to have is one pint of water where you will add 25 drops of the tea tree oil. Use this mixture on your hair three times a day. Using a comb, comb through your hair to remove any eggs and lice.
- Juniper Berries- Juniper berries and poke root can be effective remedies of head lice. Poke weed on the other hand grows in areas such as the Mediterranean and North America. They both have antiseptic properties and can be used to treat skin infections. The treatment can be prepared by boiling the hot water over the herbs and straining the mixture after it has steeped for ten minutes. Add about ¼ of apple cider vinegar and apply it on your head for ten minutes. Ensure that you cover your head with a plastic cap. This will kill the lice. Comb out the eggs. This procedure should be repeated every two weeks three times.
- Lavender Oil– In order to get rid of head lice, you can brush lavender oil everyday in your child’s hair. The oil deters lice by settling into the hair.
- Delacet– You can also use Delacet in the treatment of lice. This is not a common name but it is actually a herb that contain Larkspur tinctures. This plant has got an active ingredient known as delphinine which is known to be a strong parasiticide as well as insecticide.
- Biz Niz– Biz niz is also another treatment with an oil base that can be used to treat head lice. It consists of different essential oils mixed together. It can be used as a preventative measure or as a form of treatment.
Diet for Head Lice
When it come to matters diet, the focus is more on how to deal with post infestation as opposed to how to deal with prevention. The diet that you need to focus on when you are assailed by a head lice attack is one that is rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C is rich in healing properties and it will speed up the healing of the sores that develop on account of scratching. Similarly you need to ensure that you are well hydrated and thus prevent the scalp from being dry. This calls for the intake of large volumes of water. The other diet option that you can explore is taking a protein pill. This is important in this equation in that it aides in the development of keratin – a type of protein that adorns the scalp – and thus leads to the regeneration of the skin. Lastly ensure that you are feeding on a balanced diet during a head lice infestation on account of that fact that you are losing vital nutrients as these vermin suck the life blood away from you.
Prevention of Head Lice
The prevention of head lice requires a common sense approach. In a nutshell, you could skirt around the issue of head lice by pursuing the following route:
- Foremost ensure that you do not rest your head on pillows, bedsheets, and other such like items that have been used by a person who has recently been infected. Better still, ensure that you do not lay your head on these items if you are not aware of the source.
- Secondly ensure that you do not wear items of clothing that have been used by a person who has been recently affected. In mind are hats, caps, and other items of headgear.
- Thirdly, do not share cobs, brushes, and other grooming accessories with anyone. In the same vein, ensure that the barber you visit thoroughly sterilizes his equipment before you take a shave. This could save both you and members of your community from a head lice infestation.
- Lastly , avoid head to head contact more so with random people -whether it is in sport or at play – it might sound harsh but it will save you from a head lice infestation.
In summation the article urges all those who are afflicted with head lice not to be downcast. This is a common condition, although the exact numbers of persons infected by this are hard to come by. Whether you elect to use the home treatment route or a medical intervention, you do well to remember that it often takes more than a single intervention to get rid of head lice. Ensure that you do not share your headgear, sterilize your bedding and grooming equipment, and you will have worn the war against head lice.
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