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How To Use Coconut Oil As A Natural Treatment For Head Lice

It’s on the list of parental nightmares: Your child comes home from school or daycare and clearly has an itchy head.

You do an examination as if you’re some sort of doctor and discover what looks like lice in your child’s hair. Out comes the razor, and… just kidding!

While you can shave your child’s hair off to deal with a lice infestation, most parents are understandably hesitant to do so. Luckily, there are many ways to eliminate lice without resorting to drastic means or using store medications, which often contain a cocktail of chemicals you may not want on your child’s head.

Coconut oil is one such alternative, and you can find it in most health food and grocery stores.

How Does It Work?

Coconut oil gets at lice in three different ways. Its fatty nature stays on the lice and your child’s hair even after a washing, which suffocates the lice and makes it harder for the pests to cling onto hair.

Since coconut oil is a natural lubricant, the lice can’t move freely, multiply at a normal rate, eat or attach their eggs easily. Because of these two properties, coconut oil also acts as lice repellant, helping to prevent re-infestation.

What To Do

Massage a small amount of coconut oil into your child’s scalp and hair. Use a louse comb, available at retailers and pharmacies, to comb through your child’s hair from scalp to ends and remove all the lice, nits and eggs you find on the comb.

Repeat this process at least twice more. Heavy infestations may require several combings.

After the combing is done, shampoo your child’s hair. Pay special attention to the back of the neck and behind the ears, as those are common places for lice to hide. Rinse the hair thoroughly.

Once your child’s hair is rinsed, towel-dry it as best as you can. Apply coconut oil to the hair a second time and massage it in to the hair and scalp as deeply as possible. Place a shower cap over your child’s hair or place a towel on his or her pillow, as you need to leave the oil in for at least eight hours overnight.

The next morning, comb through your child’s hair with the louse comb and remove anything you find as before. Repeat at least one time and then have your child rinse out his or her hair.

You’ll need to do the entire process again, from start to finish, at least two times each week for up to three weeks, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends checking for re-infestation for three weeks.

Preventing Re-Infestation

Coconut oil can take care of the lice on your child’s head, but you still may have some lice around the house that fell out of his or her hair. Wash and dry any clothing or items used by your child during treatment in the hottest settings on your machines or seal them completely in a plastic bag for a period of two weeks.

Pin ItAny combs or brushes used on your child’s head should be soaked in hot water for 10 minutes. This ensures any traces of the lice remaining on them are killed off.

Vacuum areas your child was in and furniture he or she used. You don’t have to go all out, as head lice can’t survive more than a few days without a host, but it’s still best to be on the safe side. Avoid using pesticide sprays, as these can be quite harmful to your family and pets if inhaled or absorbed.

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Katherine Hurst
By Mary Williams
As a child development expert and behavior specialist, I understand how challenging those early years can be. I am to provide parents with the confidence and skills they need to negotiate the parenting pathway and the challenges it presents with ease. In addition to my consultation work, I have also founded and directed school programs and also have years of experience in pregnancy and supporting parents with multiple births.

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