Head Lice Prevention

Tuesday, 23 June 2015  |  Editor

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Head Lice prevention

Parasitic infestation is not a "normal” or acceptable part of life. It carries various health risks and can seriously affect one’s quality of life. In rich, developed countries such as the UK, children should not be exposed to head lice on a daily basis. It is difficult to imagine how the infestation was allowed to deteriorate so much as to reach epidemic proportions. Parents should not be put in a position where they constantly have to spend money on endless potions and lotions in order to treat and protect their children and themselves form parasites. Parents are often too eagerly blamed by the head lice treatment manufacturers for being incompetent and not applying the products correctly. But surely most adults can read and follow simple instructions. If anybody has been infected with head lice they should be able to buy an effective and safe treatment and resolve the problem in a matter of hours. Only then will we be able to control and finally eliminate the spread of this very infectious condition.
The manufacturers should provide the effective treatments and honest information about the problem. Parents should not be put in a hopeless position of trying to figure out what to do and how to protect their families from parasitic infestation. Unfortunately, there is no natural or chemical substance which will give 100% protection from head lice.
We do not believe that children’s hair and scalp should be permanently exposed to various substances in order to aid prevention. The long term use of even the mildest ingredient may lead to some side effects and cause unnecessary financial hardship.
Unlike testing products for their effectiveness in eliminating parasite and their eggs, the preventative qualities are very difficult to quantify. What seems to work for one person, has no benefit for another. And because the issue of prevention in this case is a complex one, no known substance can be accredited with undisputedly preventative properties.
However there are some simple, tried out ways of limiting the risk of getting head lice:
  • Weekly "dry hair grooming” procedure where you look for eggs (nits) and not head lice
  • Keeping long hair tied up in buns, plats, etc
  • Avoiding head to head contact with other people
  • Not using other people’s hair brushes, hats, woolly jumpers, cuddly toys, bedding, etc (see page "About head lice”)
  • Treating an infected member of the family immediately the infestation is discovered (sometimes the whole family should be treated to prevent cross-infection). Washing bed sheets, hovering carpets, cleaning hair toiletries, washing clothes, etc would be recommended (general sensible hygiene – but there is no need to spray the house with strong chemicals or fumigate it)
  • Lice do not like cold so airing clothes, bedding, soft toys, etc in the garden on a chilly day will help to eliminate them
  • Following a healthy lifestyle, which in turn will strengthen the immune system and help to fight off the parasites
  • Daily hair washing and "over clean” hair may encourage catching head lice
  • In case of the head lice outbreak at your child’s school or nursery, vigorous but gentle daily hair brushing for approx 1 minute will help to remove some insects (best done over a bath or sink straight after arrival from school). A soft but thick bristle or bristle-like brush would be the best for this procedure (hair combs and nit combs are not suitable)
  • Eating fresh onion and garlic (if you like it) seems to make the blood " less attractive” to parasites
  • If children are run down or have been unwell this would make them more prone to be colonized by lice. Strengthening their immune system by taking vitamins and minerals should be considered
All the above can be done by spending hardly any money and will aid prevention and limit the spread of the head lice infestation.