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Treating Head Lice Naturally with Tea Tree (Melaleuca) Oil

Treat head lice with natural tea tree oil treatment. Tea tree oil, also known as Melaleuca oil, can help kill head lice without using chemicals.

Head lice is a common childhood disorder and contrary to popular belief, being inflicted with head lice does not mean you have a hygiene problem. Head lice are very contagious and can be extremely difficult to treat. Conventional treatments take weeks to perform and often need to be repeated to ensure all head lice are removed. A natural alternative to conventional head lice treatments, is the use of tea tree oil. Tea tree oil, also known as Melaleuca oil, is reported to effectively and safely cure head lice infestations.

About Head Lice and What They Look Like

Head lice are the second-most common communicable disease that affects school-aged children. The first most common communicable disease is the common cold, and like the common cold, head lice can affect anyone. It is often prevalent in daycare centers and schools.

Lice are tiny insects that reside on your scalp and live off of the blood they find there. Symptoms of head lice are itching, redness and flaking of the scalp. In some cases it may even cause red bumps to appear on your neck or shoulders.

The adult head lice are visible to the naked eye and are three millimeters in size. Unlike the adult lice, the eggs are very tiny and not easily seen. They will reside around the hair shaft and may resemble dandruff. The adult lice are a bit easier to kill and comb out, but it’s the eggs that are often missed and will cause re-infection to occur.

Tea Tree Oil History and Natural Uses

Tea tree oil has many uses and has been used for generations by the aboriginal Australian people. This oil can be used directly as concentrated oil, mixed into lotions or creams and even inhaled as vapor, to treat chest congestion.

Traditionally, tea tree oil has been used to treat: fungal infections, cold sores, acne, skin disorders, cuts, scrapes, skin inflammation and scalp conditions.

Further medical studies need to be conducted before safety and efficacy can be established, but tea tree oil is reported by the Mayo Clinic as being used to treat acne, allergic skin reactions, athlete’s foot, bad breath, dandruff, dental plague, eye infections, lice, thrush, vaginal infections and fungal nail growth.

Misuse of tea tree oil can have harmful side effects; so it is important to be careful when using it and to ensure you follow manufacturers recommendations.

Treating Head Lice Naturally with Tea Tree Oil

Regular practice of treating head lice usually involves over-the-counter shampoos and lotions, and will sometimes require prescription products.

treating head lice with nit combShampooing your hair with a specially formulated shampoo to kill the lice and eggs is the first step in lice treatment. Then, using a nit comb, you will have to carefully comb through the hair and remove all the dead lice. You will most likely need to continue this treatment for a couple of weeks until all the lice and eggs are gone.

Regular lice shampoos often contain insecticides and harmful chemicals that can be especially harmful and even fatal to infants and fetuses. You should not come in contact with these ingredients if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Tea tree oil is found in some special shampoos, or you can just add some of the tea tree oil directly to your regular shampoo.

Side Effects From Using Tea Tree Oil

A study, published in the 2007 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, reported that consistent use of lavender or tea tree oil was suspected in enlarging the breast tissue of pre-pubescent boys. The condition is known as prepubertal gynecomastia and often subsides or disappears once use of those products is discontinued.

Due to these findings, both lavender oil and tea tree oil may be endocrine disrupters and capable of disrupting hormonal levels. However, short-term use of tea tree oil, for treatments of head lice, is not known to have any detrimental health effects.

Warnings on Tea Tree Oil

Just because tea tree oil is natural, does not mean it comes without risk of side effects. The following warnings and side effects have been noted for some individuals who used tea tree oil for medicinal purposes: Allergies, abdominal pain, diarrhea, drowsiness, confusion, balance problems and loss of hearing. It has also been reported to reduce contractions in pregnant women.

Tea tree oil should never be ingested as it may cause serious and even fatal health problems.

Treating head lice is not a fast process and will require diligence and patience. There are many options available to assist with the treatment and you can consult your doctor to go over those options. Using tea tree oil is a natural way to treat head lice and continuing use of tea tree oil shampoos can also prevent future outbreaks of head lice.

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