When I was a student, I saw that if a student unluckily had head cootie, he or she would be boycotted by other children. Head lice are terrible. Those who suffered from them had all kinds of awful chemicals applied or no hair on their heads.
While the stigma of head lice appears to have relented, the incidence of head lice hasn’t, nor has the use of environmentally unfriendly chemicals used in treatment.
Some head lice preparations (and shampoos for that matter), contain Lindane. Lindane is a toxin that persists in the environment, making its way into waterways after being rinsed off.
The US EPA classifies lindane as a bioaccumulative and toxic chemical and belongs to the same family of chemicals as DDT and PCBs. It can be absorbed through the skin and affect the central nervous system. It’s also known to cause liver and kidney damage – so it’s a good idea to check your head lice treatment for this chemical.
Nothing is as good as monitoring to prevent head lice infestation, but an excellent alternative to environmentally harmful chemicals is Tea Tree Oil. A capful of tea tree oil poured into a spray bottle then filled with water is said to send head lice scarpering and to keep them away.
Not only is this a more environmentally friendly option, but with Tea tree oil only costing a few dollars a bottle and being useful in many other applications, it’s a much cheaper alternative. You can also add a few drops of tea tree oil to your shampoo as an easy ongoing preventative treatment.
Another alternative is to add a tablespoon of hair conditioner mixed with a small amount of hot water, plus 10 drops of lavender essential oil to a spray bottle, then top up with water. Spray your children’s hair daily, followed by a quick brush through.
By the way, head lice combs can be a rather expensive item to buy – try a flea comb, which can be purchased from a pet store; you’ll find it to be a much cheaper yet equally as effective alternative.