When lice are suspected and the diagnosis made, there are numerous self care approaches one can take before going to a physician. The important aspect of self care is getting rid of the lice from the home environment. The general self care methods include:
Physical search: Examine your child and look for lice in bright light. Use a scotch tape to pick the lice out. Repeat this on a daily basis for at least a week. When lice are found, they should be destroyed with anti lice chemicals.
Lotions and shampoos: There are numerous lotions and shampoos available over the counter for the treatment of lice (Nix and Rid). These shampoos rapidly kill the lice. The products should be used according to the instructions on the package. In most cases, the treatment has to be repeated in 7-10 days. In children under the age of 2, a physician's advice should be obtained before using these chemicals.
Vinegar: It is recommended that once the hair has been cleaned with the anti lice shampoo, the hair should be thoroughly rinsed in vinegar. This will help remove the nits from the hair. One may simply soak the hair in vinegar and then comb the hair to remove all the nits. If the hair is too thick, trimming the hair will make it easier to remove the nits.
Comb wet hair: One can also simply wet the hair in warm water and use a fine comb to physically remove the nits. This may have to be repeated at least 4-6 times. The combination of shampoo, vinegar and combing the wet hair is successful in the majority of minor lice infestations. Wet combing is effective when done at 2 day intervals for 2 weeks.
Children under the age of 2 should preferably treated with vinegar and the wet hair combing
Wash contaminated items: All personal items in the house should be thoroughly washed. Bedding, lines, pillow cases, clothes and even toys should be washed in hot water. After the washing, the washed items should be dried at high heat to kill any nits.
Unwashable items: Because many items can not be simply washed, they should be packed in an airtight compartment for at least 2 weeks. The lack of air will kill the nits
Vacuum: Vacuuming of the carpets and all other furniture is a must as nits can live is such areas. Throw away the vacuum bag immediately.
Wash combs and brushes. Use very hot, soapy water or alcohol to kill the nits.
Family: In general the family members do not require treatment if there is no evidence of lice. Check the family out for a period of 2 weeks and if no lice are seen, then observation is prudent
Alternative medicine: There are not herbal medications or any oil based treatments that are effective for lice. So do not waste time searching for such therapy
Kerosene: In the old days, a bizarre method of treating lice was the use of flammable petrol or kerosene. This should never be used. Sure, these chemicals kill the lice but they will also damage your eyes, head, brain and many other things.
Shaving: Shaving the hair was done in the past and did get rid of lice. Today, most shampoos and simple hair washing will rid the lice so shaving is not a requirement.
School: When lice have been diagnosed, the school must be notified to avoid the spread of lice.
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