Last updated on Jan 19th, 2021 at 02:03 pm

For thousands of schoolchildren the threat of lice infestation looms large as the warmer season approaches, leading to increased lice activity.

How are lice spread?

Head lice are small, wingless parasites which live on human hair and feed on tiny amounts of blood drawn from the scalp, causing skin irritation and sometimes infection. Infestation is most frequent in children, and is spread through head-to-head contact as well as hats, towels, brushes and pillows.

A study by PubMed Central, a US-based medical archive, indicates that up to 58% of all children in Africa will contract lice at some stage. The figure is similar in Asia at 59%, and in Europe it is 22,4%.

Are anti-lice shampoos any good?

Anti-lice shampoos are the most effective treatment, but many have serious side- effects due to poisonous ingredients, particularly the chemical Gamma Benzene Hexachloride (GBH), also known as Lindane and Kwell. These chemicals can be harmful if used incorrectly.

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What about home remedies?

Tea tree oil is also promoted as a treatment for lice, but has a high potential for allergic reactions, especially in children. The Food & Drug Administration in the US has recommended against its use. Other home remedies such as vinegar, olive oil or mayonnaise have also been disproved.

Treatment protocol

The following is a basic protocol, should your child contract head lice:

  • On discovering head lice, wash your child’s hair with non-toxic, nature-based shampoo.
  • Use a lice comb to extract the remaining lice and nits.
  • After administering the shampoo, use a nature-based preventative spray to further deter any remaining lice, and to protect your child’s hair from further infestation.
  • If possible, keep your child out of school, but all parents need to inform their children’s schools and/or other parents to help prevent further infestation.
  • A second treatment after 10 days is recommended as lice eggs require nine days to hatch, and a third treatment can be performed after five days.
  • Try to avoid contact between your child and playmates for at least 10 days to avoid spreading the lice.
  • Lice can become resistant to chemical products. It is much harder for lice to become resistant to natural products.

About the Author: Nature-based Picksan Lice Stop is a high quality, anti-lice shampoo which is non-toxic and contains natural active ingredients, including the MelAza extract, derived from a patented neem seed extract from the neem tree, used in India to treat head lice for thousands of years.

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