If you have a school age son or daughter, then you may be concerned about your child coming home with a head lice infestation. Head lice are extremely common and the CDC estimates that between 6 and 12 million infestations occur every year. The data suggests that children aged 3 to 11 are at the most risk. Infestations spread through direct contact, and while you cannot completely prevent the spread of head lice, there are a few things you can do to ensure that an infestation is less likely to show up on your child’s head.
Protect From Head Lice by Skipping The Daily Shampoo
Many people think of head lice as a dirty infestation that occurs when children are not bathed properly. This is simply not true. In fact, head lice like and prefer clean hair. The small insects move up and down the hair shafts with the help of their six claws. As the claws grasp the hair, they shimmy up and down and side to side.
If the hair is dirty, it will be covered with oil. The oil is released from the sebaceous glands that run across your scalp, and it mixes with small bits of dirt and flakes of dead skin. The oil makes the hair slippery and the debris acts as an obstruction. Not only can this make it difficult for a louse to grab onto the hair in the first place, but it will have a difficult time moving through the hair.
Oily hair also makes it difficult for lice to lay eggs. Each egg is glued to a hair shaft and oil can prevent eggs from sticking. Since a single louse can only lay a little more than a half dozen eggs each day, this can greatly reduce the chances of a full lice infestation. For the best results, wash your child’s hair about once every three to four days so it remains just a bit oily and dirty.
Try A Natural Repellant And Insecticide
If you have ever used a citronella candle outdoors, then you are familiar with using a repellant to keep insects away. Tea tree oil is also a popular and natural insect repellant that kills lice if they are not immediately driven away. According to a research study conducted in 2012, tea tree oil is a highly effective treatment against lice when used alone or mixed with other essential oils that contain nerolidol.
Nerolidol is a natural chemical in certain types of essential oils that kills lice and their eggs. It can be found in lavender, jasmine, and lemongrass. All three of these oils can complement tea tree oil nicely and produce a pleasant smell. Add 5 to 10 drops of the tea tree oil to your child’s shampoo or conditioner bottle. Mix in another few drops of your complimentary oil to enhance the smell.
You can also add the oils to your child’s hairspray, leave-in conditioner, or detangler for everyday use.