What can I do to treat my daughter’s nits?

My daughter picked up nits at school. I used a special treatment for her hair and it seems to have worked. What else can I do?

Head lice can be incredibly frustrating to deal with, especially when your daughter is at risk of being re-infested at school. It is essential to remain vigilant and continue to check regularly for the presence of nits and lice as the eggs hatch seven to eight days after being laid.

Adult head lice can live for up to five weeks, and females lay about four eggs a day. So you can see how quickly this problem can spiral out of control if even a single louse escapes your notice.

You will find nits and lice along the hair shaft near the scalp, with the back of the neck and behind the ears being the preferred areas. Fine-toothed metal combs can be useful for removing adult lice, but one of the most effective ways to get rid of nits or lice eggs is to pull each one along the hair shaft with your fingernails. Break the eggs onto a paper towel sprinkled with tea tree or eucalyptus essential oil and discard immediately.

Head lice are transmitted from host to host by crawling rather than jumping. It is therefore important that your daughter avoids direct contact with friends and does not share hats, scarves, hoodies and jackets. You will also need to run all bedding, headwear and tops through a wash and heat dry cycle, repeating weekly for two to three weeks to eliminate any new newborns. Hairbrushes and hair accessories should also be washed.

You can make your own preventative spray using a combination of lavender, tea tree, and thyme essential oils in witch hazel. Use 1-2ml of essential oil combination per 100ml of witch hazel. If you have neem oil, add 10-20ml to the spray mixture. Use this treatment once a week for two to three weeks for best results.

I have a hiatal hernia which I am managing with over the counter medications. Is there a natural remedy I could use instead?

Hiatal hernia can be quite difficult to manage, so it’s good to hear that you are finding some relief with over-the-counter medications. Hiatal hernia occurs when part of the stomach protrudes through the esophageal hiatus (an opening in the diaphragm) into the chest cavity.

This can happen for a number of reasons, but it is often a gradual process of weakening rather than a sudden incident. If your job requires heavy lifting on a regular basis, if you suffer from chronic or recurrent constipation, if you carry a significant amount of extra weight, or even if you have a nagging cough, all of these can contribute to a hiatal hernia.

Other contributing factors can include smoking and poor posture, and in some cases individuals are thought to have a genetic predisposition to developing this condition.

Constipation is not only a potential trigger, it is also a common problem after the hernia develops. Psyllium husks are one of the natural remedies that can help manage constipation. Take 1-3 teaspoons of psyllium husk mixed in a glass of water or apple juice and drink it once a day, with breakfast or dinner.

When the hiatus is weak, stomach acids can back up into the esophagus, damaging sensitive membranes and causing a burning sensation that is sometimes accompanied by chest pain. Rather than taking a natural remedy, certain dietary and lifestyle measures can help support the healing process. It is wise to avoid food or liquids for 2-3 hours before bedtime. Spices and fatty foods are common triggers, so it’s best to avoid them, along with caffeine, peppermint, chocolate, and alcohol.

Work on maintaining a healthy posture, as slouching can exacerbate your symptoms. Avoid activities that involve heavy lifting and bending (including gardening) or keep these movements to a minimum.

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NOTE: The information in this column does not replace medical advice. Always consult a doctor.

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