Lice infestation is an experience, quite common to human beings and also other animals. Lice (or louse) are a species of insects that are wingless and belong to the order Phthiraptera. Lice are parasitic in nature, feeding on the host's body. They stick to the skin or scalp, and survive on the blood or sebaceous secretions of the host. Infestation by lice is also termed as pediculosis.
Lice are dark grayish in color, and female lice throng the host's body in larger numbers when compared to male lice. Egg of lice is named as nit. Nit sticks to the host's body by means of saliva secreted by lice. After the egg hatches, it takes a month for the nymph to mature in to an adult louse.
Lice can be categorized in to two broad types: Chewing lice or mallophaga and Sucking lice or anoplura. Lice cannot jump or fly but spread through close, direct host to host contact. Infestation by lice causes much itching that could be quite embarrassing at times.
1. Head lice - This is the most common form of lice infestation. They resemble a sesame seed in size. Girls, because of their lengthy hair, are easily infested with head lice. A female head louse produces about 10 eggs a day, and the eggs get glued to the hair shaft firmly. Head lice spread through head to head contact, sharing pillows, caps, headphones, and comb.
2. Body lice - They are slightly larger in size than head lice. Intense scratching, and tiny red bite marks on skin may be indications of body lice. Body lice are often caused under conditions like poverty, poor personal hygiene. Sharing of clothes, bed linens can spread body lice.
3. Pubic lice - They are round in shape. They resemble a crab with three pairs of legs on either side. They spread through contact. The problem of itching of the pubic region aggravates during night.
1. Saturating hair or lice infested area with olive oil can help a lot. One has to leave the oil layer for half an hour, and then wash off with shampoo in case of hair, or soap in case of skin or other areas.
2. A mixture of betel juice and camphor powder can also be highly beneficial.
3. A mixture of vinegar and tea tree oil is a good natural remedy. Vinegar loosens the grip of nits.
4. Massaging the affected areas with mayonnaise may also help.
5. Rinsing hair with Listerine can be a good remedy.
6. A mixture of lemon juice and butter can be applied on the hair to get relief.
7. Massaging scalp or the infested area of the body with pungent smelling onion juice can help to get rid of lice.
8. A powder of dried custard apple may be applied on the affected area over night to get relief.
9. A mixture of coconut oil and neem leaf extracts may be applied for elimination of lice.
10. The pungent smelling garlic extracts can eliminate lice.
11. Eucalyptus oil, lavender oil, basil leaf extracts can also kill the nits.
12. Massaging areas of body or the scalp with Vaseline suffocates lice, thus killing them.
13. Using neat combs will also help to pull out nits.