Head lice are small, wingless insects that feed on human blood. They are just found as parasites in humans.
Female head lice put small oval-shaped eggs (nits) on hair. The eggs measure 0.3 to 0.8 millimeters. The eggs hatch in approximately 7 to 10 days and must have human blood over 24 hours to survive.
Head lice become sexually mature in approximately 8 to 10 days. They live for approximately 30 to 40 days.
What causes lice?
It’s possible to get lice by coming in touch with lice or their eggs. Eggs hatch in approximately one week. Lice can not fly or walk on the floor. They spread via:
Head-to-head or body-to-body contact. This may happen as kids or household members play interact closely.
The proximity of stored belongings. Storing infested clothing in closets, in lockers or on side-by-side hooks in school, or storing personal items such as pillows, blankets, combs and stuffed toys at proximity in your home can allow lice to spread.
Items shared amongst friends or family members. These could consist of clothes, headphones, brushes, combs, hair decorations, towels, blankets, pillows, and stuffed toys.
Contact contaminated furniture. Lying on a mattress or sitting in overstuffed, cloth-covered furniture lately used by someone with lice may spread them. Lice can live for one or two days from the entire body.
Sexual contact. Pubic lice usually spread through sexual contact and most commonly influence adults. Pubic lice found on kids might be a sign of sexual exposure or abuse.
Using apple cider vinegar to lice
Part 1: Using Vinegar for Head Lice
1. Understand the benefits and limits of using vinegar. Vinegar is a frequent home remedy for head lice, but some folks mistakenly think it’ll kill adult lice and their eggs, that are known as nits. In fact, vinegar can’t kill head lice straight because it’s not toxic for them. But it can help eliminate the nits stuck into your own hair, which prevents fresh lice out of hatching and infesting your mind.  More specifically, the malic acid in vinegar dissolves the protective shells surrounding nits and disables them from sticking with their own hair.
Following the use of vinegar, then the nits either drop from your own hair or become a lot easier to eliminate with a fine-toothed comb.
Though vinegar can not kill parasitic lice, they could have the ability to kill newly hatched lice known as nymphs. More research is required to understand the effects of vinegar or acetic acid on head lice.
2. Use an over-the-counter treated shampoo first. Since vinegar won’t kill the lice and eggs, it is very important to care for the lice using a medicated shampoo first. Lice treatment shampoos are also referred to as pediculicides.  After using a pediculicide, then you can use vinegar to remove the nits out of the hair.
Using a medicated shampoo first can help to ensure that the adult lice are dead and this will lower the chances of spreading the lice.
3. Choose the sort of vinegar. All types of vinegar include acetic acid, but some types and brands really are a bit more focused than others. Generally, choose a vinegar which has approximately 5% linoleic acid it’s sufficient to dissolve the coatings nits, but not acidic enough to irritate most people’s skin.  White vinegar is plain acetic acid diluted in water and usually the least expensive option. Red wine vinegar is significantly more expensive and frequently has between 5-7% linoleic acid. Apple cider vinegar may also work, but be sure that you choose non-filtered and pasteurized types because they have a tendency to be the strongest concentration (approximately 5% linoleic acid).
A higher concentration of acetic acid (greater than 7%) may irritate your scalp, but much weaker concentrations may be unable to dissolve the nits’ attachment to hair. Stick into kinds of vinegar that have between 5-7% linoleic acid.
The itching in the head lice is a result of an allergic reaction to lice saliva. Not many individuals have an allergic response and also get itchy.
4. Stand in the shower or bathtub and put on the vinegar. As soon as you’ve decided on the kind and concentration of vinegar, then undress and stand in the bathtub or shower. Dampen your hair using some water first (but not too much so it’s dripping wet) then pour onto a couple of cups of vinegar right to your scalp. Massage the vinegar in your scalp and attempt to pay as much of your hair as possible this may be hard if your own long hair, but just take your own time. After that, allow the vinegar to sit on your own hair for between 5-10 minutes, and it is plenty of time for it to dissolve the nit’s exoskeletons (coverings). 
Be sure that you close your eyes once you put on the vinegar. Diluted acetic acid can not harm your eyes, but it could surely cause them sting for a couple of minutes.
Avoid becoming vinegar onto your own clothes because it can stain them particularly red wine and apple cider vinegar.
5. Run a fine-toothed comb through your hair. Following the vinegar has been on your own hair for at least 5 minutes, run a fine-toothed comb thoroughly. The loosened nits and some mature lice are going to be taken out by intensive combing.  For best results, consider purchasing a special”nit comb” (very fine-toothed plastic or plastic combs) in the drugstore or on the internet. After cleaning your own hair for a couple of minutes, rinse the rest vinegar and then towel dries it but is sure not to share your towel with anybody as you still possess some head lice.
Using vinegar is excellent for loosening nits from the own hair, but maybe not for murdering mature lice in your scalp. Thus, do not be surprised to see some head lice following vinegar therapy.
Vinegar treatments can be carried out daily until no longer nits stay attached to your own hair. The acetic acid may also get rid of the oils from the hair, so it may appear dry or frizzy following the vinegar treatments.
Nits hatch within 7-9 days of being set up, and older lice can survive up to 3-4 weeks. Thus, if you are just using vinegar to fight your mind lice, it might take a month until the infestation is totally gone.
Part 2: Using Different Remedies for Head Lice
1. Ask your physician about over-the-counter shampoos. Make an appointment with your health care provider or dermatologist and have properly diagnosed. Then ask your physician about the most effective over-the-counter (OTC) shampoos or ointments for head lice which could be purchased at mainstream pharmacies. Your health care provider will probably suggest OTC products based on pyrethrin, a chemical from chrysanthemum flowers that’s toxic to lice.  Popular brands include Nix (a synthetic version of pyrethrin) and dents (pyrethrin mixed with other compounds toxic to lice).
These pyrethrin-based shampoos are great for killing head lice, but not usually nits. As such, consider combining vinegar and pyrethrin treatments to eliminate both lice and their nits. 
The side effects of using pyrethrin-based shampoos include scalp irritation, redness, and itchiness especially among kids allergic to chrysanthemum or ragweed.
Head lice do not spread disease (viral or bacterial ), but scalp itchiness can cause excessive scratching which leads to infected sores in some individuals. 
Don’t follow the lice treatment shampoo using a normal shampoo or shampoo. This will lessen the effectiveness of the lice treatment shampoo. 
2. Consult with your doctor about prescription medications. In the event the head lice infestation is not controlled with vinegar or OTC shampoos, then you should speak with your physician about obtaining a stronger medicine. In some geographical locations, head lice have developed resistance to OTC shampoos, so prescription medications are that work. The most common prescription medications recommended for head lice are benzyl alcohol (Ulesfia), malathion (Ovide) and Lindane.  Together, medicines that may kill warts are known as pediculicides and each of them should be used cautiously, especially with kids.
Benzyl alcohol kills lice on the scalp by depriving them of oxygen. It’s powerful, but possible side effects include skin irritation, allergic reaction, and seizures, so it’s not suggested for children younger than 6 months old.
Malathion shampoo is approved for children aged 6 years or older because of possible serious side effects. Take care to not expose this shampoo into a hot hair drier or get it close to open fire because of its high alcohol content.
Lindane shampoo is sorted a”last resort” treatment for head lice because of its elevated risk of serious side effects (such as seizures). As such, it’s not suggested by the American Academy of Pediatrics for use for kids of almost any age or pregnant women. 
3. Consider using a natural herbal remedy. Some research indicates that particular plant-based oils might have a toxic effect on head lice and their eggs (nits). The plant oils together with the most promise for combating head lice include tea tree oil, anise oil, ylang ylang essential oil and nerolidol (a chemical found in many plants). Even though these plant oils aren’t accepted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat warts, they have a fairly good safety record generally and probably worth a try if your budget allows for this.
Plant oils such as tea tree oil are usually utilized in natural medicated shampoos marketed to treat dandruff and psoriasis, but they are able to get the job done nicely to fight head lice also.
Generally, these plant-based oils really are as safe for kids as they are for adults no more serious side effects are reported.
Some other all-natural remedies which may kill head lice by”smothering” these (depriving them of oxygen) comprise olive oil and butter. Employ either to a scalp for 5-10 minutes before rinsing off using a medicated shampoo for best results.
Head lice can’t fly or jump so that they spread into others usually by head-to-head contact. However, indirect methods of spreading are possible through sharing hats, brushes, combs, towels, pillows, scarves, hair accessories and stereo headphones.
Medical remedy for lice
Your doctor will probably suggest over-the-counter shampoos using permethrin (Nix) or pyrethrin (rid ) as the first step to take care of an infestation. It is possible to locate Nix and Rid shampoos on the internet.
Prescription oral drugs
If your mind’s possessions are a strain that has developed resistance to permethrin and pyrethrin, your physician may prescribe an oral drug, such as ivermectin (Stromectol).
Prescription topical medicine
Your Physician may also prescribe topical medicine to place in your scalp and hair, such as:
- Spinosad (Natrona)
- Malathion (Ovide)
- Benzyl alcohol cream (Ulesfia)
- Ivermectin cream (Sklice)
- Home care for head lice
Even if you’re using prescription drugs, there are still several steps you should take when managing an infestation of head lice, for example:
Examine the family. Make sure others in the household do not have head lice. If they’re, start therapy.
Comb hair. Use a fine-toothed comb to physically eliminate warts out of the wet hair.
Wash bedding, clothes, etc.. Bedding, stuffed animals, hats, clothing anything that may have been polluted should be washed in soapy warm water that’s at least 130ºF (54ºC). Dry for at least 20 minutes on high heat.
Wash brushes and combs. Wash brushes just like clothes and bedding, or soak them for one hour in rubbing alcohol.
Seal up items. For items that can not be washed, seal them in an airtight container for a couple of weeks.
Though apple cider vinegar hasn’t been scientifically demonstrated to work, lots of individuals have reported success using it.
In case you choose to use apple cider vinegar, then understand that it may not work in any way. In case it doesn’t, speak to your physician. They can help you select the most effective and least toxic way to deal with your head lice infestation.
Medically reviewed by Gerhard Whitworth, RN on October 24, 2018 Written by Scott Frothingham