Published: 10/31/2014 - Updated: 05/18/2018
Author: MSc. Miriam Reyes
Although they aren’t truly dangerous or transmit diseases, lice, nits, and bedbugs are parasitical insects that are annoying and cause problems. Not only are they contagious and reproduce quickly, but they suck blood with small bites that cause tiny eruptions that give way to sever itching and burning.
Lice and nits
Lice and nits proliferate in human hair and feed off extremely small amounts of blood that they suck from the scalp. This causes inflammation or irritation, leading to itching and even infections in the affected areas. They are tiny in size and lack wings. They usually attack children of all ages and socioeconomic classes, irregardless of how frequently they wash their hair or bathe. They are not a symbol of dirtiness.
Symptoms that could mean lice infestation
- Itching in the scalp (frequent head scratching): when lice bite the scalp to suck blood, it manifests as an itching. Sometimes the itching does not appear immediately, this depends of the sensitivity of the skin affected.
- Complaining of an itchy scalp.
- Presence of “dandruff” on the head, which isn’t really dandruff but small lice eggs.
- Appearance of blisters of irritation on the scalp.
Although lice are very small, they can be seen with the naked eye. So if anyone has any of these symptoms, you must take a look to see if they have lice. You can use the following guide:
- Before hatching, lice eggs look like tiny yellow, brown, or mustard colored dots. Once they have hatched, the outer shell turns white or transparent.
- Lice tend to lay eggs near the scalp surface where the temperature is perfect for keeping them warm until hatching.
- Lice eggs look like dandruff, but unlike dandruff, they can’t be eliminated just by brushing your shaking your hair.
- Unless it is a considerable infestation, it’s more common to see lice eggs in children’s hair than live that are moving around on their scalp. Lice eggs hatch between one and two weeks after being laid.
Home remedies for fighting lice
- The first thing to do is to avoid scratching, as this irritates the scalp, causing inflammation and possible infections or scars.
- If you have lice, it is important to stay away from groups, like schools, daycares, athletic or public centers, parties, etc., because they can easily be spread. Do not share brushes or clothing with others. Lice cannot be transmitted by pets, nor can pets catch them.
- If you have long hair, cut it as short as you can because these parasites cannot fly or jump, but they have special pincers that can quickly grab nearby hair.
- At home, you must change and wash bedspreads and sheets at a very hot temperature, daily, so that the lice eggs are destroyed. It is important to place the sheets or bedspreads under the sun, as high sun temperatures completely destroy all eggs.
- Children are more likely to have lice than adults because they tend to have more physical contact and to share their personal objects.
- Although pharmaceutical insecticides can exterminate lice, you must be careful with them because too much use could cause severe lesions on the scalp.
- It’s best to try to eliminate them by hand. Examine the scalp for two weeks and using gloves, remove the eggs and lice.
Popular remedies against lice and nits
If you are using these remedies on children you must explain the problem to the child and tell them that you must eliminate them as soon as possible. Avoid using an “emergency tone” so you don’t worry the child or make them feel uneasy. Do these home remedies and do not let the child leave before all lice are exterminated.
Olive oil remedy: Apply 4 tablespoons of olive oil with the juice of one squeezed lemon to the head. Once all the hair is well moistened and oiled up, cover the head with a shower cap, and stick it to the head. Leave it on for four to six hours. This remedy will asphyxiate the lice. You need to do this four times a week. If their scalp is irritated, use less lemon, or omit it.
Garlic remedy: blend three or five cloves of garlic, or crush them with a fork. Pour two cups of fresh water over them and let set for several hours. Then warm the water up and apply immediately to the head. Rub until all hair and scalp is well moistened. Rub the garlic pieces on the scalp. Immediately wrap a plastic bag over it and let set for 3 hours. Or if you can, let set all night. Then wash hair normally. It is recommended to do this remedy some day when they are not going to leave the house, because the smell of garlic could get in the way of daily activities.
Lice remedy with lavender oil: Mix three tablespoons of sesame with three tablespoons of lavender essential oil. Cover the head with a plastic cap and leave it covered. Leave this mixture in the hair for four to six hours, for three to four days.
Vinegar remedy: Mix half a cup of apple cider vinegar with eight drops of thyme essential oil. Generously massage this mixture into the scalp. After the hair is well covered with the mixture, wrap the scalp with a plastic cap and leave for 5 hours. Once the time is us, remove the hat and brush the hair with a very fine-toothed comb, in order to eliminate asphyxiated lice and eggs.
Citronella remedy: add 5 drops of citronella essential oil, 7 drops of eucalyptus, and 5 drops of marjoram oil to you daily shampoo. You can make lotions with these essential oils, never applying them directly to the scalp or skin. They should be diluted with oils like almond oil or shampoos.
Eucalyptus and lemon remedy: Boil one handful of eucalyptus leaves in two glasses of fresh water for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let set until it cools. Strain and add the juice of one lemon. Apply to the hair wit h a soft massage and leave on the hair for one hour. Then rinse and wash your hair as you normally do.
Tea Tree oil remedy: Add one cup of vinegar, one cup of olive oil, and 10 tablespoons of tea tree essential oil. Massage the scalp and oil all hair with the mixture. Then, cover with a plastic cap and let act for 5 hours. Wash your hair.
An Unbeatable remedy against lice:
If you’ve tried everything and the problem still hangs around, completely cut off the hair. This will definitely eliminate the problem of lice and nits.
These are tiny and unpleasant insects that suck blood, causing itching. They are the size of an apple seed and are a dark red color. They have 6 legs. They hide in cracks and fissures during the day, under loose wallpaper, and it beds.
Unlike lice and nits, bedbugs can attack pets and are not found in the scalp, but in furniture. They generally attack at night while people are sleeping, or when they are sitting in an infested piece of furniture.
- Waking up with white bites that itch, generally on the neck and arms.
- Small blood stains on the sheets are warning signs that they were feeding on your blood.
- They are not seek with the naked eye because they come out at night to feed while you sleep.
Bedbugs have a life spam between six and twelve months. Females lay from 2 to 3 eggs a day and they love to reproduce and travel either in clothes, baggage, second hand items, etc. Inns and houses where a lot of people live are more prone to infestation.
What can you do to eliminate bedbugs?
- One home remedy is to mix one ounce of blue mercury with one pint of turpentine. Shake the mixture so that everything mixes well. Use a spray bottle to apply the mixture to all cracks in furniture and use a cloth to rub it on all furniture surfaces.
- Wash all sheets, toys, and clothing with very hot water and a strong soap.
If you notice that they still hang around, you will need to call a fumigator. Because these tiny bugs easily hide in all sorts of furniture cracks, beds, etc., they are not easy to get rid of.
NOTE: Areas with a lot of furniture, dirty places, piled up thing, old papers, where a lot of people live are very prone to incubating bedbugs.
Revised by: Dra. Loredana Lunadei on 05/18/2018
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