I know that a lot of people could care less about hair most of the time and most of the time that is okay but during a long emergency, hair hygiene becomes more of an issue due to the increased levels of nasty stuff like lice, ticks, and mange.
In this post I will talk about the challenges faced and things you can do to prepare to keep you and your family free of hair related parasites and skin conditions. I will suggest some mainstream products you can buy and some methods for using more natural means to control or treat issues as they arise.
All About Hair For SHTF: Lice, Ticks, Mange, and More
Long hair vs Shorter Hair
Those that like to keep their hair long will have to be extra careful with it during a long emergency. Longer hair requires more care, and it provides more living environment and is an easy access ladder for parasites to make their home in.
I live in a Southern climate and some years are
Hats are an excellent way to create a barrier from parasites no matter what length hair you have.
Seasonal hair solutions
I live in a rural area with an extremely high proportion of bearded men. When hot weather hits, those beards get shorter and if anyone mentions it to one of them they will just tell you that the ticks are out! I have definitely had to do more haircuts and beard trimmings for men in the family during Spring than any other time.
Daily combing helps
If you comb your hair at the end of every day, it can prevent problems from occurring. A fine tooth comb or good brushing will eliminate ticks and other nasties that may be making their way to your skin. If you choose to keep long hair during a SHTF scenario, it may be hard to remember or even find the time to do this but you should when you can.
A big pack of cheap plastic combs is not a bad trade item and it will allow you to have a higher level of hygiene. This 144 pack is under $13. No, they are not fancy but they are useful and inexpensive prep.
Those reading this that have kids probably know all about the fear factor when a school releases a notice that there is a lice outbreak. Sometimes the incident may be isolated but the fact remains that anywhere you get a bunch of people coming together in a given place, lice can happen.
There are many ways to get rid of lice. The typical way nowadays is to use Nix or RID. This product line comes in spray and shampoo form and it is available over the counter. This is not a bad thing to have in your preps just in case. Even a few extras may not be a bad idea because it is a medical supply that could have value during a long emergency.
Keep in mind
Wash all bedding and pillows
Linens and bedding must be washed well. Lice in hair can lead to a lot of work, especially when hot water and washing may be hard to do. This is one reason
If you use the cheap $5 pillows then you might consider just spraying good and not washing because they tend to not handle washing that well.
Anti Lice Spray can help rid rooms and other areas of lice. If you want to be very careful then clean rooms thoroughly and then spray lice killing spray.
Shower caps are something that should be in your preps. I recommend the cheap hair processing caps sold at beauty supply stores. I buy these 30 or 100 at a time for using when I want to condition my hair or use henna. The other use I have is to treat and prevent the spread of lice, ticks, or bugs, during a long emergency.
The caps can also prevent parasites from spreading if
Most doctors would say that everyone still needs to
One of the many uses of diatomaceous earth is to get rid of fleas, ticks, and lice. Place a disposable shower or processing cap partially on the head of the person to
You will need to shampoo hair well after treatment. The dusty nature of diatomaceous earth makes it something you definitely don’t want to get in your eyes so you will want to go straight from treatment to wash to avoid this.
Soaps to prevent and treat
Tea Tree or Peppermint Dr.
The alternative is to add a few drops of tea tree and peppermint essential oil to what soap you have on hand. Don’t skimp on the soap either. You want your hair
Lather well and wait 5-10 minutes before rinsing.
Dangers of ticks, lice, and parasites
Ticks carry Lyme Disease and that can be deadly or very serious. There are people right now that are severely weakened at times because they had Lyme Disease. You may never be 100% of what you were.
If a tick becomes embedded you need to make a note of the day and count 10 days after and see if any symptoms occur.
Doxycycline can save your life if you get Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Doxycycline is available as “fish antibiotics” and will treat Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever if someone shows symptoms. Don’t delay treatment especially in kids and elderly. Tick related illness is on the rise and at least part of the reason for this is that doctors in many regions are not trained to recognize it or consider it because it mimics other conditions and is usually not the most likely.
Lice and fleas lead to itching and scratching that opens the skin up and makes it prime for infection.
Even if you have a lot of antibiotics on hand, they are precious during a SHTF scenario. It is best to only take antibiotics when absolutely necessary so again, prevention is so important. I know that when I have had to take strong antibiotics like Cephelexin it has made me feel pretty out of it which means I was not at my best when doing tasks. If SHTF you want to be on top of your game as much as possible.
Scabies or sarcoptic mange
In my region this is sometimes called “The Itch”. Scabies are caused by microscopic parasites that burrow into the skin. Although they are often found first on hands or other body parts that most commonly come into contact with others, they can make their way to your scalp and burrow in. This leads to intense itching, red bumps, and rash.
Scabies is very easy to get. All it takes is touching someone’s hand that has it. This is one of the reasons it is so rampant in schools and nursing homes.
Tea Tree Oil can be used to kill the parasites but it cannot reach any eggs that may exist under the skin.
If left untreated, scratches can lead to infection and the constant scratching of hair can lead to hair loss.
If someone gets scabies you definitely need to check and treat everyone that the person has come into contact with in the home. It is incredibly contagious so the sooner you deal with it the better.
On other body hair
Ok so your head is not the only place that hair grows. If you have access to razors and some water, you may want to consider removing some of the extra hair on your body occasionally to prevent any of the conditions discussed in this article. The more hair the more living environment for pests.
Some people are hairier than others so keeping things trimmed may be more of a concern for some than others.
Learning how to cut hair
I have went to a professional hair cutter once in the last decade and that was just because I was on vacation and got bored. Matt and I do all of our own hair care and cuts at home. For him we keep an electric razor style kit that has attachments to cut hair various lengths. For a lot of men this is all they really need. If you like things to be a little more fashionable then you can use different length combs on the top or bottom.
I use scissors and a razor comb on myself but I think that Matt will be doing any future major haircuts for me because the last time I needed a trim I showed him a picture and he did it exactly like I asked which is not something I can always say happens at a professional salon regardless of how much you pay.
Unfortunately while I do offer hair cuts to him and my Dad, I am really not that good at it but I am getting better. I have did a lot of haircuts but that doesn’t mean they were good ones.
I am including a hair clipper that can
Helpful items to have on hand
Other good practices
Do checks for lice and parasites
The sooner a problem is dealt with the better. Parents should keep a close eye on kids hair and skin during hard times. Brushing hair can be a soothing thing for some children so it doesn’t have to be like you are “inspecting them” formally. You just need to be more observant than you would normally be.
Natural Essential Oil Solutions
I took Gaye’s advice and got a copy of The Guide to Essential Oils and Aromatherapy”. If you do not have a copy of that book already in your preps, I advise getting one ASAP. This is a great book to add to your prepper library and it doesn’t have a bunch of garbage and crackpot ideas in it like some of the essential oil books and articles do.
Lice Deterrent Essential Oils
Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Lemon, and Lavender
-Valerie Ann Worwood
Put a stop to any name calling or anyone making fun of an affected person
There is a stigma attached to getting lice, scabies, ect. If someone makes fun of another for
Try to pin point the original source of the problem
It may be impossible to actually tell where somebody picked up lice, ticks, scabies, etc but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to figure it out and avoid the circumstances again.
Watch out for reinfestation
Even if you think you really knocked out the problem and scrubbed everything well, there is a chance you missed something or that someone has contact with somebody or goes to a certain area again. The sooner you see the problem start to resurface, the easier it is going to be to be rid of it once and for all.
Do you have any natural remedies for hair related issues? Any experiences you would like to share? Did I leave out anything that you think should be included?
Samantha Biggers can be reached at [email protected].
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