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Conventionally, lice infestations have been treated with pediculicides, or products such as shampoos that contain pesticides. While typically effective, these products carry numerous side effects, such as burning, rashes, headaches, or, in serious cases, seizures and subsequent hospitalization. Equally alarming, lice are forming a resistance to pediculicides. According to experts, insects can form immunity to pesticides over time. Consumers and scientists alike have claimed that pediculicides are no longer as effective. In addition, repeated infestations also occur due to pediculicide misapplication and the failure to use a nit comb. While such facts might have parents scratching their heads, natural treatment options are becoming more popular.
One of the most popular natural lice eradication methods is smothering agents. Smothering agents, such as butter and mayonnaise, kill lice by blocking their breathing holes. However, some smothering agents can be difficult to properly administer, and might even be traumatic for children. For instance, butter and Vaseline are thick and difficult to remove from a child’s hair. Children might dislike the smell of butter and mayonnaise. These smothering agents are not only odorous, but they can create problems if left on the hair for too long. If the agents turn rancid, removal becomes even more challenging. One should avoid baby oil and other mineral oils because they can actually damage hair during treatment.
Unlike other smothering agents, olive oil is considered the most effective natural remedy for killing lice infestations. When used with a nit comb, the process can effectively and safely rid a child of lice. Olive oil has few, if any, known allergic reactions, and the oil is easily attainable. When administered as instructed, olive oil is not only effective, but it is non-toxic and even conditions a child’s hair during the procedure.
Consumers claim that olive oil actually makes the nit removal process, both manually and with a comb, easier. Pediculicides dry out one’s hair, and as discussed, they are often ineffective. If a pediculicide treatment fails, many parents turn to smothering agents instead. When using olive oil after a failed pediculicide treatment, parents report that the substance moisturizes their child’s hair, aiding in more healthy hair. Olive oil can even be used as a preventative treatment method if a child has been exposed to head lice. Furthermore, unlike shampoos and creams, olive oil can be used repeatedly for stubborn infestations.
In addition, using smothering agents such as olive oil can actually prolong the effectiveness of pediculicides. As more parents turn to natural lice treatment remedies, shampoos are used less often, meaning that lice’s exposure to pediculicides is reduced. In this way, olive oil aids in preserving pediculicides.
Olive oil is most effective when coupled with a nit comb. Nits are lice eggs, and they are difficult to remove because they are firmly attached to hair shafts close to the scalp. Metal combs are the most effective nit tools. A parent should purchase a nit comb that is easy to control and that boasts small gaps between the teeth. These small gaps ensure that the comb will remove even tiny nits.
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