Have you ever received one of those letters from the school or camp nurse that your child has been exposed to lice? The letter usually states how common it is for children to be susceptible to pediculosis or lice since kids often share personal items and clothing. Knowing this doesn’t make you feel any better, however, since you still have to get rid of those horrible creatures.
Lice are parasitic insects that feed on blood near the human scalp. There are 3 forms of lice: adults, nits which are eggs and nymphs which hatch from the eggs 8 to 9 days after they are laid. Treatment of lice can be difficult because it is necessary to kill all the nymphs that hatch from the eggs, but also you need to get the adults before new eggs are produced. Multiple treatments may be necessary.
Most of us are reluctant to use strong chemicals to combat a dreaded infestation of lice especially since the treatments will likely need to be repeated. Some chemical treatments such as Kwell or Lindane have real risks of seizures, allergic reactions or other side effects so searching for an alternate method is preferred.
Recently in the New York Times health blog, suggestions were made by those who have had success treating lice using alternative treatments:
● Get a good Nit picking comb: Licemeister was one recommended at www.bodylice.com/licemeister/index.htm . Licemeister claims that they are “The only comb endorsed by the National Pediculosis Association.®”
● Consider shaving the child’s head if they are a boy or for girls cut the hair very short to make it easier to part, locate and comb out the nits.
● Ceptaphil: A study was performed by Dr. Dale Pearlman where a solution, that turned out to be Ceptaphil gentle skin cleanser, was thickly spread onto the subject’s dry hair and scalp. The hair and scalp were thoroughly dried with a hair dryer and the solution was left on overnight then shampooed off in the morning. The treatment was repeated once a week for three weeks resulting in a 95 to 97 percent cure. The full treatment is described here http://nuvoforheadlice.com/Nuvo%20method.htm
● Liquid products: Licefreee at www.licefreee.com is a homeopathic solution that uses the mineral, Natrum muriaticum 2X (Sodium chloride, USP). Or, Babo’s Rosemary Tea Tree Lice Repel shampoo if used with conditioner claims to be 95 percent effective www.babobotanicals.com/_product_84879/Lice_Repel_Shampoo
● One device that kills lice on contact: Robicomb is a battery operated comb that finds and kills lice on contact using an electric pulse. http://www.robicomb.com/
If the whole idea of getting rid of lice yourself makes you queasy, you can hire someone else to do the job for $50 to $300. Search “lice removal technician” and an amazing number of hits will come up. Like any service, interview the person on how long they have been doing this, what products they use, how many treatments will be needed and how resistant cases are handled.
Lice may be an unavoidable encounter if you have children but there are numerous methods to try if you can get beyond that gross creepy feeling while combing them out. Otherwise, you can always call in a “professional” to help.
Michele is an R.N. freelance writer with a special interest in woman’s healthcare and quality of care issues. Other articles by Michele are at www.helium.com/users/487540/show_articles