Head lice: nitting it in the bud

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Indy Lifestyle Online

I have five daughters between the ages of 4 and 12 and I've found myself in a constant battle against head lice. I have tried pretty much everything but the treatments I am using don't seem to be doing the job anymore. I read in the newspapers recently that chemicals are now regarded as ineffective, and I am also quite concerned about putting chemicals on my children's hair and skin, especially the little ones. Is there an effective natural remedy I could try?

Dr Fred Kavalier answers your health question:

This question appears in the postbag with painful regularity. Head lice seem to be an integral part of school life these days, and there are no treatments - chemical or otherwise - that are guaranteed to succeed. I have always been impressed by the results of the bug-busting technique, which does not use any chemicals. It relies on stubborn determination and an understanding of the life cycle of head lice.If you can prevent the head lice from reproducing, they disappear. In order to do this you have to remove all live lice before they lay their eggs (the eggs are the tiny grey droplets that stick to the hair shafts). Get a big bottle of ordinary hair conditioner and a very fine comb. Wet the hair with conditioner and comb through the hair right down to the roots, removing live insects and as many eggs as possible. If you do this every three days for three weeks, you will prevent any new eggs being laid. If your children come into contact with other children, there is always the risk that they will become reinfected. If this happens, you need to start again. With five young girls, you have your work cut out.

Please mail your questions for Dr Fred to health@independent.co.uk. He regrets that he is unable to respond personally to questions.

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