Head lice is an extremely contagious disease, especially among school-aged children. It can be difficult to treat due to the small size of the eggs and the quantity that can be laid. Although there are many over-the-counter chemical-based treatments available, many parents are leery of the side effects and opt for a safer method. Vinegar is known for its power to clean and has been touted as a good at-home remedy to remove lice nits.
A louse is a small brown wingless bug that needs human skin and blood to survive. "Lice" is the plural form of louse. Lice use hair as a nest to lay their eggs, also known as nits. Nits are tiny and have brown or tan dots that adhere to the individual hair strands. If your child is scratching his head excessively and/or has a red rash on the back of his neck, it's time for a head check.
To do a proper head check, separate your child's hair into sections and carefully examine individual hair strands for nits and/or lice. Pay extra attention to the areas behind your child's neck and ears, as these warm areas are where lice like to lay eggs.
Even Hippocrates, the early Greek physician, considered vinegar to have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties and used vinegar to fight off infection. Doctors also used vinegar to treat scurvy during the American Civil War and to soothe wounds during World War I. Today, due to its powerful acidic content, vinegar's use outside of cooking has skyrocketed. Vinegar's high level of acidity is known to kill bacteria and mold, so it has become a modern-day staple in many people's pantries as well as their cleaning closets. Not only is vinegar used to clean, but its power to deodorize and remove stains is also well documented.
Vinegar and Lice
One of the most difficult parts of treating lice is the nit removal. Vinegar is a great help with this process, as the acidity helps to loosen the "glue" that keeps the nits attached to the hair strands. After washing your child's hair with shampoo, rinse it with 1 cup of water and 2 tbsp. vinegar. This rinse can help destroy any lice as well as help remove the nits during the comb through.
After washing your child's hair, a proper comb through is an essential part of the nit removal. Get a lice comb or any comb whose teeth are close together. Separate your child's hair into small sections, and begin to comb. After each stroke, be sure to clean the comb off in a cup of water. This will allow you to see whether you are getting the nits. If there are tiny brown dots floating in the cup, then you are successfully removing them. Combing should be followed up for at least 1 to 2 weeks following a lice outbreak. Your goal is to have a clear cup of water after a comb through.