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Olive Oil for Head Lice

Bidisha Mukherjee
Using olive oil is one of the most effective natural methods to get rid of the unwanted and disgusting head lice. Read this story to find out about the symptoms and its treatment through the use of olive oil.
The infestation of head lice is often referred to as pediculosis. They are small bugs that live on the human scalp. They are wingless creatures, have six legs, and are brown to gray in color. Small children below the age of 12 are more prone to get this condition.
These insects spread from one human head to the another due to direct contact. Neither does it get transmitted via pets nor does it infest due to lack of personal hygiene. Rather, they prefer to live on clean heads.
An identifiable symptom is the continuous itching of the scalp, neck, and back of the ear. This infestation is very bothersome, but it does not cause any serious harm to the health of a child. However, excessive scratching can lead to secondary bacterial infection.
The usual treatment is the use of chemicals or head lice shampoos. The use of these chemicals can cause allergies as a child's skin is highly sensitive. For this reason, using olive oil is a good alternative.

Why Olive Oil?

Tests have been conducted in various research laboratories, and it has been found that olive oil is an excellent form of alternative treatment. Head lice breathe through tiny holes present at the sides of their body. When olive oil is poured on them, these holes get blocked, and as a result they are smothered to death. Pediculosis can be treated this way using other agents like butter, Vaseline, or mayonnaise.
However, they are avoided in most cases, because they can cause allergic reactions, while olive oil rarely causes any such reactions. Moreover, oil is much easier to wash off from the hair. Most importantly, it is not very expensive. You do not have to use expensive virgin olive oil for this purpose, as the oil of low price range can work equally well.

Treatment Procedure

First of all, you have to talk to the child so that he/she is aware of what you are going to do, why it is important, and then start the treatment. Here are the step-by-step instructions:
1. Make your child sit in a corner of a room, and place a towel around his/her shoulders. This will absorb the excess oil.
2. Take a generous amount of olive oil, and apply it all over the head of your child so that the oil covers the hair thoroughly.
3. Gather the longer hair strands at the crown of the head, and wrap up the head with a plastic wrap. Try to ensure that all the hair strands remain inside the wrap. Then put a shower cap over it. Finally, wrap a towel tightly over it, and tuck it well so that it does not fall off. This is done to lock the oil on the scalp.
4. The oil has to be kept on the head for a while, because head lice are capable of staying alive for hours by shutting down all their systems. Therefore, it ideally should be done before your child goes to bed to let the oil smother the lice all night long.
5. The next morning, take a head lice comb, and divide the hair into a number of sections. Then, comb each of the sections of the hair repeatedly so that maximum dead nits are removed from the head.
6. Wash the hair thoroughly with a mild shampoo so that all the oil is removed. You can mix one part of vinegar and four parts of water, and use this mixture as the last rinse after shampooing. This will help to get rid of the oil residues from the hair.
This treatment will give the best results if it is applied at an early stage of the infestation. Otherwise, the treatment has to be repeated several times before the problem can be completely eliminated. There are chances of reinfestation if any other members of the house still have head lice. Therefore, it is advisable that all the members of the family undergo the olive oil treatment one by one to wipe out head lice effectively.