Stop the itching and get rid of head lice in your child’s hair once and for all!
Are your children scratching their heads more often than usual? If they are, it might indicate a case of head lice! Worried that it is dangerous or might spread a disease? We’ll tell you all about it.
What are head lice?
Head lice are tiny, wingless insects that affect only humans and live by sucking blood from the scalp. In appearance, an adult louse looks like a fat sesame seed on the scalp. They lay eggs in cases (nits) and reproduce quickly, although their actual life cycle is just a month long.The nits are off-white or tan in colour and can’t easily be brushed off like a dandruff flake.
Head lice can affect individuals of all ages but are more prominent amongst children between the ages of 4 and 11. One of the most telltale signs of head lice in your child’s hair is constant head scratching and irritated skin on the scalp, neck or behind the ears.
Head lice in your child’s hair don’t possess health hazards but their infestation is totally gross and is highly contagious. It is also extremely common. In fact a survey of 308,101 schoolchildren conducted in 10 of 11 states in Peninsular Malaysia revealed that 10.7% have head lice.
Contrary to popular belief, head lice don’t jump or fly to another person’s head. The only way they can spread is through borrowing of comb, brushes, or hat or sleeping or playing extremely close to a person with lice, so that a louse literally just “walks” over.
Elimination of head lice
1. Head lice medicine (pediculicide)
Medical treatments involve using either alcohol or water-based lotions. These lotions are usually applied to the hair, left to dry naturally and then rinsed out the following morning. Some of these lotions like Malathion Shampoo or Lotion can be bought off the counter at Guardian, though we highly recommend speaking to your PD before using any chemical treatment, especially on your younger children or if you are breasfeeding.
2. Tea Tree Oil
Many believe that Tea tree oil is beneficial to kill head lice though its effectiveness has yet to be scientifically proven. Be sure to have a chat with your PD or pharmacist before using it your child’s head or hair as it may cause allergic reactions.
3. Coconut oil
A study conducted in Isreal amongst 940 children found using a natural mixture of coconut oil, ylang ylang oil and anise oil on a child’s head successfully killed head lice off nearly 93% of infected kids.
4. Comb out
A thorough comb-out using a special fine-tooth (nitty-gritty) lice comb can successfully eradicate the dead lice and nits. You can find these combs at Guardian pharmacy or Unity pharmacy. We have also spotted the comb at Mustaffa centre. It’s best to buy the metal versions of the comb as they are more durable, but if you can’t get hold of it, the plastic version suffices.
First wash your child’s hair using his/her normal shampoo. Apply conditioner all over the wet hair so that the lice lose their grip on the hair and begin combing with a normal comb. Then use the nit comb for 30 minutes moving from root to tip, working through the entire head extremely thoroughly. Try to repeat the procedure daily for around 2 weeks until you are sure there are no more lice. Do also make sure that you do the combing while sitting in the balcony or outdoors and preferably sitting on a white cloth/bench during the day so you can actually see the nits.
5. Herbal shampoos