Head lice is common in schools and other environments with large numbers of people. Lice can spread by head-to-head contact, but you can also catch it through indirect contact, like using someone else's brush, borrowing someone's hat or even cuddling with an infected person's stuffed animals. Though home remedies can play a role in helping to soothe itchy scalps caused by lice infestation, they are most effective when combined with medicated shampoos.
The most effective way to stop itching caused by lice is to get rid of lice--and according to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County, combing is the oldest and safest way to do that. Combing is the least toxic way to treat lice, but it requires time and patience in order for it to be effective. To treat lice by combing, you need a special fine-tooth comb, called a nit comb. Under good light, you slowly work the comb through the infected hair, one section at time, removing lice nits and eggs as you spot them and occasionally wiping your comb with a tissue to remove residue.
Disinfecting objects that could have been contaminated--such as hats, pillowcases, clothing or stuffed animals--is another essential part of stopping itchy scalps caused by lice. Left untreated, these items could give lice the opportunity to re-infect your hair. The Mayo Clinic recommends disinfecting these items by washing them in soapy water that is at least 130 degrees and drying them for at least 20 minutes at high heat. You should store anything that can't be washed in airtight plastic bags for three to four days--any existing lice won't be able to survive without nutrition.
Most doctors recommend medicated lice shampoos or treatments because there's at least some limited research to support their use, but the University of Michigan says that some herbal remedies may be helpful for killing lice and soothing itching. A combination of tea tree oil, paw paw and thyme oil extracts in a shampoo or lotion may have effects similar to over-the-counter lice treatments. If you use a natural remedy like this, check after three days for lice nits or eggs after using it to be sure it's working for you.
Please consult your physician before attempting herbal remedies at home.