If you had a kid with head lice sometime in the last 30 years, you probably used one of a number of over-the-counter anti-lice medications, shampoos, and fine combs to kill and remove the pesky parasites. In recent years, however, you may have had considerable difficulty getting rid of the problem—perhaps you had to try multiple medications before you found one that worked. Resistance to insecticides and common anti-lice medications is becoming increasingly common around the world; head lice just aren’t as easily defeated as in the past.
Healthline’s startling photos of lice show just how ugly these tiny bugs really are. Treatment takes patience, persistence, and attention to detail. To add to the pressure of proper treatment, your child’s return to school likely depends on a clearing from a school nurse with special lice goggles who spends hours each week checking kids for the nasty little buggers. If your child happens to have an infestation from a variety of lice with resistance to common store-bought medications, what are you to do?
Lice Insecticide Resistance and Your At-Home Treatment Options
Resistance to common anti-lice drugs is the most common reason lice treatment fails. If you’re up for it, try another over-the-counter drug or take your child to the pediatrician for a prescription strength solution.
If you’re tired of dousing your kid’s head with insecticide or would simply like a cheaper, more natural option, consider home remedies for lice. Although not all of them have been thoroughly vetted with scientific trials, many of them are anecdotally useful for parents and offer a gentler way to clear your child’s condition.
Consider the following at-home treatments:
- Olive oil
- Almond oil
- Tea tree oil diluted solution
- Lavender oil diluted solution
- Clove, eucalyptus, or peppermint oil diluted solution
Other oils may be equally effective. The essential oil diluted solutions are often prepared in combination with olive oil or rubbing alcohol. Apply the natural solution to your child’s scalp and allow it to sit overnight. Always check to make sure your child does not have an allergic reaction to these oils or ingredients before applying the solution to the entire scalp.
Natural treatments for lice often rely on suffocating or smothering the adult lice and preventing the nits from hatching. Each application of natural oils should be followed by a thorough combing and a vigorous shampoo the following morning. Rinse lice and nits down the drain with hot water. Clean the comb and wash towels after each use.
Use these natural treatments nightly for a week, then comb for nits and lice nightly for another two weeks. If you spot more nits or lice, try the treatment again.