Health Topics

Healthy Living

August 2010
I Hate Love Storys
Nit picking your hair...
Shruthi Pendyala R
When love happens between Mr Louse and Mrs Louse, they lay eggs called nits.Each nit then hatches into tiny baby nymphs which grow into a head full of lice – all this in a span of 40 days!

This dreaded love story isn’t ‘aww deserving’ like one of Karan Johar’s movies. In fact, it’s the very opposite- as you spend your days scratching with irritation, when the tiny creatures trot your scalp. Though most often, children find themselves faced with this problem, there is no boundary drawn; adults too suffer from lice.

How do I identify head lice?
A louse's colour varies from pale beige to dark gray. However, if they have been feeding on blood they become considerably darker in colour. It is said that over time they tend to camouflage into their host’s hair colour, making them even harder to find. 

You will face persistent itching or scratching at the back of the head or around the ears. Lice like to stay close to the head where it is warm and close to their food source, human blood. Upon careful inspection you might find tiny nits.Nits tend to be pale white when alive and a greyish brown when dead. Lice’s saliva works as a strong adhesive sticking the nits to the root of your hair, making them difficult to remove.

But I wash my hair
If you have been thinking that head louse are a sign of uncleanness, then stand corrected. Anyone can get lice; they spread by common day to day actions such as sharing a bed, clothing, combs etc. with someone who has lice. Even a few seconds of a hug can spread lice to your hair. So if you or someone you know has lice, make sure you zap them clear.

How do I zap them?
Getting rid of lice is not an easy task, it takes a few days and a lot of patience. You can’t look into your own hair, so asksomeone else to help you, especially if you have nits. Make sure it’s someone you are close to and doesn’t mind helping you out. You can choose to tackle lice either medically or by simple measures, this usually depends on the severity of your condition.


Grind neem seeds with water. Spread this paste properly on your hair and wash this after 4-6 hours using a decoction of neem leaves.

Apply generous amount on the hair and scalp and leave it on for a few hours. The breathing holes on the sides of the lice’s body gets clogged resulting in their death.

Garlic Paste and Lemon Juice
This is the best natural treatment for lice, as the anti bacterialproperties of garlic and acidic properties of lemon get rid of the lice effectively. Take equal quantity of lemonjuice and garlic paste, mix it well. Apply this mixture to the scalp and leave this on for at least 15-30 minutes. After this, wash your hair with a mild shampoo.

Medicated shampoo
If you let your head be a harvest ground for lice for long, then medicated shampoos are your only choice. You get a number of them in the market but before using the product, make sure you conduct an allergy test. The product comes with an instruction sheet with details on how to conduct the allergy test. If at any point you find the condition going out of hand, do consult a doctor immediately.

Whichever way of treatment you opt for, make sure you take extra measures to comb with a lice comb at least three times a day. Clean out bed sheets, pillowcases, hairbrushes, etc. as lice can survive two days off the head. It takes a lot of patience, but it’s no difficult task.
  • The information on this site does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for medical care provided by a physician.
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