Lice are tiny parasites that spread by personal contact and sharing belongings. Children in school are particularly vulnerable to catching and spreading lice. You can help avoid lice by using clove essential oil! Clove has the ability to keep lice at bay!
In a nonclinical, experimental study, live lice (Pediculus humanus corporis) avoided the area of a petri dish with clove essential oil. The study found two components of Clove oil, eugenol, and beta-caryophyllene, worked together to repel the lice. The combination of eugenol and beta-caryophyllene was better at repealing the lice instead of the components individually.
Essential Oil Lice Spray
Knowing that lice avoid Clove, here’s a simple spray solution you can make. Apply this spray to wet hair massage into scalp and let sit for a few minutes. Then wet comb (see below) the hair. If you suspect lice, perform this treatment at least twice a day.
- 3 drops of Clove Essential Oil
- 3 drops of Melaleuca Essential Oil
- 8 ounces water
- Glass Spray bottle
This blend is a great natural alternative that works. Lice is a common occurrence among children. Make sure you are ready this year with your essential oils!
Wet combing involves using a very fine-tooth comb known as a nit comb to remove lice and nits from the hair.
- Wet the hair and remove tangles with a detangling comb.
- Spray wet hair with the Essential Oil Lice Spray.
- Massage into the hair and scalp.
- Position the teeth of the nit comb as close to the root of the hair shaft as possible, and then pull the comb through the full length of the hair from root to tip. Comb from both the underside and topside of each section, as nits are laid on only one side of the hair shaft.
Wet combing should be repeated every three to four days until it’s been two weeks since the last appearance of any lice or nits. If you aren’t sure if the lice are gone, shine a black light on the hair and scalp. Live nits glow when exposed to black light.
Life Span of Lice
The life cycle of the louse has three stages: egg (nit), nymph (newborn lice), and adult. The nits are difficult to see and are often confused for dandruff or hair spray droplets. Nits are laid by the adult female and are cemented at the base of the hair shaft nearest the scalp.
The nit must have a human host to live. They require the warmth of the scalp for incubation before hatching. Nits that are dislodged from a hair shaft will most likely die before they hatch.
Upon hatching, the nymph requires nourishment. Using their claws, the nymph and adult louse, crawl from the strands of hair to the scalp, where they feed on the host’s blood multiple times a day. As long as there’s a food source readily available, lice can live for as long as 30 days on a human and continue to multiply. Female lice can lay up to six eggs every day.
In some ways, lice are hardy in that they can survive submersion for up to six hours (swimming and showers will not kill lice). However, they are unable to jump, hop, or fly. That’s why head-to-head contact is usually required for them to spread. Without a human host, lice become dehydrated and die. They can survive only about 24 hours on surfaces like carpets, hardwood floors, clothing, furniture, sports helmets, headphones, or hair accessories. Isolate and wash these items if you’ve found them in your home. Ideally, the washing should be done within 72 hours of finding the first louse.
Symptoms of Lice Infestation
Itching is the most common symptom of any of the three types of lice. Lice do not carry any diseases and don’t cause any actual harm, except for the itching. The bite causes an allergic reaction in humans that produces the itchy feeling. However, it may take up to six weeks to notice the itch if the infestation is light. In addition to intense itching, other symptoms are:
- a tickling feeling of something moving on the head, hair, or body
- sores that develop from scratching itches
- difficulty sleeping
- red bumps on the head, neck, or other areas of the body
- the appearance small white objects in your hair – lice eggs
Head lice are contagious. You should take precautions to avoid catching or sharing lice. At home, don’t share personal belongings such as hairbrushes, hair clips, combs, and hats. Launder clothes and sheets regularly. If you think there is a lice infestation in your home, vacuum the floors and furniture. Then, cover the furniture for two weeks with a plastic drop cloth.
In school or childcare settings, it’s hard to prevent the spread of lice. Have children avoiding shared spaces for clothing and hats, such as closets and lockers. Teach children to avoid head-to-head contact with others during playtime to help prevent the spread of lice.
Lice Treatment Caution
- If you decide to use an over-the-counter, medicated shampoo or lotion be aware these often contain flammable chemicals, so don’t dry hair with a blow dryer after applying these treatments.
- Don’t use more than one commercial head lice treatment at a time.
- Don’t use the same treatment repeatedly (more than three times).
- Don’t use commercial sprays to treat head lice.
- For the most effective lice treatment, don’t use a cream rinse or conditioner before applying the treatment,
- Don’t wash hair for a day or two afterward using an over-the-counter treatment.