As people are becoming more and more aware of potentially dangerous side effects of many drugs, we're working to learn more about alternative treatments and therapies. For many parents, exposing a child to over the counter head lice treatments is just too risky.
Head Lice Treatments
Most head lice treatments are pesticides - they kill insects the same way outdoor pesticides do. Head lice treatments however are being applied directly to your child's head. And, in the same way bacteria becomes resistant to antibiotics, head lice can become resistant to lice treatments.
Head Lice Treatment Banned in California
One prescription head lice treatment, which contained lindane, was banned in California in 2000. Lindane increased the risk of seizures, death and cancer in children, and one treatment had the potential to contaminate 6 million gallons of water. When washed from a child's hair, it eventually enters back into the environment, contaminating the water. Some states still allow the use of lindane.
Some other head lice treatments are safe, but only when used exactly according to package directions. Many parents are inclined to over-use the treatment, leaving it on for longer than necessary or applying it more times than needed. This is not effective lice treatment and can harm your child. When used incorrectly, some head lice treatments can be toxic to the brain and nervous system.
Regardless of what method you use you may still want to comb your child's hair with a fine toothed comb. Skipping this step means dramatically increasing the likelihood of the lice returning. Using a fine tooth comb and a natural lice shampoo is the safest way.
Olive Oil For Head Lice?
Olive oil is a common alternative treatment for head lice. The idea is to suffocate the lice in oil, which also allows easy combing of the hair. Often thick conditioners, petroleum jelly and other greasy products are used by parents. There is no evidence that these methods are more effective than over the counter lice treatments, but many parents prefer at least to try this method before turning to medications.
Using Olive Oil to Treat Head Lice
If you want to try this method, remember it will take patience and diligence on your part. Saturate the child's hair in olive oil and comb through it one section at a time with a fine toothed lice comb. Some parents leave the olive oil on overnight, covering the head with a shower cap or plastic.
Comb through in the morning and wash hair thoroughly. This treatment will need to be repeated a few times to be most effective, and really relies more on the parent's thorough combing more than anything.
If your child has head lice, you may want to consider treating it at home before trying an over the counter lice product. Olive oil is safe for your child, but does require effort on the part of the parent.
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