Learning about lice is essential

As I shared in Part 1, Homeopathy can help with Head Lice infestations and the side effects of toxic treatments. In Part 2 I’ll share a little more about these very successful creatures…

The low-down on lice

The head louse is a beautifully adapted six-legged wingless breeding machine. Having found a new host, it uses its specially adapted legs and claws to grab hold of the hair strands. It will try to stay close to the scalp, often hiding in the thicker hair at the back of the scalp or behind the ears where it bites and feasts on blood. To survive, it will need to feed daily on human blood and live in human hair. Contrary to popular opinion, it will not give a hoot if the hair is clean or filthy provided there is a heart beating somewhere beneath it!

We are family

Adult lice, from around two weeks old, can start to mate. The female begins to lay eggs (nits). They are tear-shaped and pinhead size. Using a natural glue on the hair strands, she sticks the eggs near to the scalp where the warmth of the head will help them to incubate. The unhatched eggs reflect the color of their surroundings making them very difficult to see in dry or wet hair. She may lay 6–10 eggs a day for up to 2weeks. Do the math and you’ll see that could mean up to 140 offspring waiting to happen. Cozy and hidden, her progeny will emerge around 7–10 days later.

Once the baby louse has hatched, its empty eggshell will glisten white on the hair, making it easy to spot, but by that time the little critters will already be out and about. In just 7–14 days the louse will molt three times until it is the size of a match-head, then just like Ma and Pa it will start doing the nasty too. 140 x 140 = 19,600. How many angels was it that could fit on the head of a pin?

The road less traveled

So much for know thine enemy. Next we had to decide what to do about it. Philosophically and practically we had seen and heard enough to know that the pesticide route was not the way forward. Such antipathic approaches often cause the original problem to escalate. Over time, more and more medicine is needed just to get the same effect.

Antibiotics have given rise to multi-resistant strains of bacteria, and the use of pesticides has created super lice. Whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, and the same is true for insects and microscopic organisms. Natural treatments such as tea tree and neem oil claim to be safer, and perhaps they are, but they still work on the same premise, namely they kill things by poisoning them.

This left one approach,the wet combing method. Initially we tried a very fine-toothed metal comb designed for combing fleas from pets. This caused many a tear before bedtime (mostly mine in pure frustration) and was discarded. Then finally we had a breakthrough.

More about this in Part 3.

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