COLUMN: Getting rid of head lice and pinworms -- naturally.
At this time of year, I always have a few parents come in with children who have contracted head lice and pinworms and are asking not only what they can use to get rid of them naturally, but also how NOT to pick them up themselves!
What do they look like?
Head lice are typically identified as small dark brown or black moving specks on the scalp. They can be contracted from playing with another child who has lice or using a comb or brush of a person with lice. The eggs can be transferred, as well as the lice themselves. The scalp will tend to be itchy, but, not necessarily inflamed. They can easily be spread amongst children, especially in mild weather.
How do we get them?
Pinworms are common with children playing in the soil or living in close quarters and you can become infected by unknowingly ingesting microscopic pinworm eggs that can be found on bed linens, towels, clothing (especially underwear and pajamas), toilets, bathroom fixtures, food, drinking glasses, eating utensils, toys, kitchen counters, desks or lunch tables at school and sandboxes. The eggs pass into the digestive system, hatch in the small intestine and the larvae continue to the large intestine, where they live as parasites attached to the inside wall of the bowel.
Two to four weeks after a person acquires the pinworm eggs, adult female pinworms begin migrating from the large intestine to the area around the rectum. There, they will lay new pinworm eggs, which trigger itching around the rectum. When someone scratches the itchy area, microscopic pinworm eggs are transferred to their fingers and fingernails. Contaminated fingers can then carry pinworm eggs to various surfaces, where they’re able to live for two to three weeks. Therefore, the most common symptom is an itchy rectal area which worse at night. If the area is scratched, a rash or a bacterial infection can result.
In females, an infection can spread to the vagina and cause a vaginal discharge. If you have an infection, you may be able to see what looks like tiny pieces of white thread that are the size of a staple floating in the toilet after you go to the bathroom or see them on your underwear when you wake up in the morning. If you suspect an infection you can put a sticky piece of clear cellophane tape against the rectum at night and the eggs will stick to the tape and can be seen under a microscope in a laboratory. Samples can be taken from under the fingernails to see if there are any eggs.
To clarify, your family pet can’t carry pinworms.
Getting rid of them:
Both pinworms and head lice can be eradicated by using a very potent form of grapefruit seed extract. It is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and a potent anti-parasitic, so it can also be used for skin rashes, mouth inflammation, throat infections, ear infections, sinus & nasal infections, fungal nails and skin, thrush and vaginal infections. It can also be used as a bacterial facial cleanser, all-purpose cleaner, as a veggie/fruit wash, a cutting board cleaner, as a cleaning additive to the dishwasher or washing machine, as well as for pets and livestock. Depending on the use determines what strength you may need. For either infection:
· Apply grapefruit seed extract drops in shampoo to the scalp in each shampoo for 1 week
· Wash all bedding, including pillowcases/sheets/blankets/comforters with it
· Wash any contact surfaces with the grapefruit seed extract dilution
· Wash all stuffed animals with the dilution
· Wash all clothes of children and adults in contact with infected children
· Use special comb to comb out lice and their eggs and wash the comb each time in the dilution
· Add two to five drops of grapefruit seed extract in a half glass of concentrated juice two to three times day for the pinworms as well until gone
· In both cases, I use a good Probiotic such as New Roots Probiotic Urgency to establish good bacteria in the system, so that in the future these pesky critters can’t establish themselves as easily. For adults, three probiotic capsules before bed, and for children, sprinkle the contents of one or two capsules into a bit of water and have them drink it before bed.
Over the years, this is the most effective method I have found.