Home Remedy for Louse Treatment

Lice that infect people come in three varieties: head lice, body lice and public lice (crabs). If you’re seeking a home remedy for louse treatment, it helps to understand that these are only effective when used in conjunction with traditional medical treatment methods.

Body Louse Treatment

A body lice infestation is generally the easiest type to treat at home. Body lice are typically the result of poor hygiene or lack of access to clean clothing. Body louse nits can be observed in the seams of clothing and in bedding, toweling and other personal effects. Because body lice can only survive without the blood of a human host for five to seven days, simply leaving the infested area for that time can be effective.

Body lice infestations can be remedied by routine bathing and a thorough cleaning of the infested items. The Centers for Disease Control recommends laundering the infested person’s clothes, bedding and towels in hot water that’s at last 130 degrees Fahrenheit and then dried on the hot air cycle. Most of the time, these simple measures effectively remedy a body louse infection. However, if bathing and cleaning the infested person’s personal effects don’t eliminate the infestation, there are over-the-counter lotions and shampoos, such as Nix and Rid, that can be applied to the body to kill remaining lice.

Head & Public Lice Remedies

The first-line treatment to remove head and public lice from an infested person is an over-the-counter pesticide, such as Nix or Rid. If these products don’t effectively kill lice, your physician may prescribe a stronger topical medication. When over-the-counter treatment instructions are followed down to the letter, louse infestation on a person can be adequately treated.

However, an important secondary remedy is to make sure to treat the home environment and personal items as well. To kill pubic and head lice that linger in clothing (including hats and scarves), bedding and towels, the CDC recommends all items be machine-washed and machine-dried using hot water and a hot dryer cycle. All items that cannot be washed can be sealed in plastic bags or containers for at least two weeks. Carpeted areas and furniture should be thoroughly vacuumed and the vacuum bag disposed of immediately.

What Remedies Don’t Work

When it comes to treating lice, there are an abundance of “old wives’ remedies” that are ineffective or dangerous. Never attempt to treat head lice by applying mayonnaise, olive oil or vinegar, as these can irritate the skin and are not effective in killing lice. Many commercial products purport to dissolve or smother lice and nits; however, these products lack scientific study to back up their efficacy. Some home remedies, such as applying gasoline or kerosene to the hair to kill lice and nits, are extremely dangerous and should never be employed.

If you choose not to use a product with insecticide properties, the only option is to wet comb the hair using a fine-toothed “nit” comb, which physically removes lice (the Mayo Clinic recommends this treatment for children under the age of two). Wet-combing should be repeated every three to four days for four weeks.

Lice that infect people come in three varieties: head lice