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Head For The Pesticide Free Lice Treatment

lice_nadine_cropBy Deirdre Imus
If you’ve ever had a kid or been a kid, chances are you’ve encountered lice at some point. After all, they’ve been around for thousands of years, pestering their way into our lives and tormenting parents whose sole purpose temporarily becomes eradicating these minuscule bugs from their children’s scalps. Until recently, the most reliable (and most toxic) remedy was a chemical-laden cream that paralyzed and eventually killed the lice. But the bugs are on to us.

Last summer, researchers concluded that lice and other insects are becoming increasingly resistant to pyrethroids, the active ingredient in most over-the-counter treatments. This so-called “super strain” of lice has spread to 25 states so far, and is present in a handful of others. As such, health experts have suggested a bigger dose of chemicals would be required to kill off the lice.

Pyrethroids are toxic to insects, but also to mammals, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR). Last I checked, humans are mammals, meaning pyrethroids are toxic to me and to you, and to our children. The ATSDR notes on its website that pyrethroids can interfere with nerve and brain function, and large amount of skin exposure can cause feelings of numbness, itching, burning, stinging, tingling, or warmth that could last for a few hours. This sounds just about as undesireable as the lice itself. Were you to accidentally ingest pyrethroids, you may experience dizziness, headache, nausea, and even loss of consciousness.

Luckily, you don’t have to rely on poisonous pyrethroids or other pesticides used in lice treatments to purge your head of pests. Safer, chemical-free alternatives are available, effective, and can remove lice without harming humans. One option is a colorless, odorless, silicone-based liquid called dimethicone. Research published last year by the Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® found that after just one day of treatment with the dimethicone producd LiceMD, 98.3 percent of children in the study were lice-free.

What’s more, dimethicone was listed as a treatment alternative in the American Academy of Pediatrics’ 2015 Clinical Report on head lice, since it is essentially as reliable as pesticide-based remedies. Given the choice between applying a neurotoxic pesticide to a child’s head or something undeniably safer – well, that isn’t really much of a choice at all.

Another new option literally smokes the bugs out – with heat – at professional clinics. An FDA-approved device called AirAllé applies controlled, heated air in a specific pattern on the head, which dehydrates and eventually kills the humidity-loving lice eggs. It is more than 99 percent effective, and is completely nontoxic. 

Finding out that you or your child has lice can send even the most rational person into a tailspin. Before you panic and settle for a removal method merely because it is popular, consider if it is safe. Pesticides have no place on your lawn or in your food, and should certainly come nowhere near your child’s head.




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