Lice are tiny parasites. They infest the hair and feed on blood, debris or the excretions of the sebaceous glands. There are three kinds: head, pubic and body lice. Pubic lice are commonly known as crabs also. They all look similar but the head lice are the biggest in size. They all have claws on their legs to help them cling on tightly on the hair. They travel very quickly. They are relatively tiny but can be seen with the naked eye.
Lice lay eggs which are also called nits. These are laid on the hair shaft near the scalp. They attach the nits to the hair with their saliva. After they hatch, they are called nymphs, in the adult stage they are known as louse or the plural lice. When they inject the scalp and feed on blood, it causes an itchy feeling. Too much scratching can injure the skin and lead to skin infections and rashes. They seem to get darker in colour as the feed on blood. These parasites are wingless and cannot fly. They do not survive for very long time.
Having lice is not a disease but it is very contagious. It can easily spread from one person to another. This spreads by close contact or by sharing personal belongings such as combs, hair brushes, clothing, hats and linens. Anyone can get this, including children. Women usually experience this problem more than men.
The symptoms are mainly itching and scratching. There is a tickling feeling in hair or feeling of some movement. The scalp feels irritable and gets red with rashes and constant scratching. Nits or the eggs may be visible too.
Medicated shampoos and medicated creams are available for getting rid of these small parasites. Some home remedies help in killing the louse and getting rid of the nits. The suggested home remedies are:
- Neem Oil: Neem oil is effective in removing the lice. It helps in killing them.
- Vinegar: Dilute vinegar in water and use this for washing the hair.
- Tea Tree Oil: Few drops of tea tree oil can be mixed in shampoo and used for cleaning hair.
- Peppermint Oil: Few drops of peppermint oil is beneficial in this treatment too. The peppermint oil will help to kill the parasite and give a cooling feeling also.
- Coconut Oil: Massage coconut oil and keep for some time then wash off.
- Hyssop Oil: Hyssop Oil is considered a natural pesticide. Dilute Hyssop oil with another oil like olive oil and then apply. Keep for a while and wash properly.
- Hyssop Tea: Place few Hyssops in hot water, cool and strain then Use this tea for rinsing hair after shampooing.
- Onion: Apply onion juice on hair and keep for some time then wash.
- Garlic: Crush garlic cloves and mix with lemon juice and apply. The pungent garlic helps in killing the lice.
Use a fine tooth comb after wetting hair. Wetting hair makes it difficult for the louse to move. Clean all linens and pillowcases, combs and hairbrushes. Do not share your personal items like comb, hair brush, hair bands and hats.