July 3rd, 2009
02:18 PM ET
Heady advice on lice
By Andrea Kane
Pssst: Come here… A bit closer. I have a confession to make: One of my daughters has L-I-C-E. And it is driving me crazy, because it just will not go away, no matter how much I cut, comb and nitpick her hair. And I’ve been doing a lot of nitpicking lately – at times, I feel like a mama chimp grooming her child (minus popping the “prize” into my mouth). My daughter gets cranky having to sit there for an hour (especially when I pull an individual hair strand to remove an egg - aka: nit - that is cemented on) and I get cranky, too.
According to the CDC, there are an estimated 6 million to 12 million head lice infestations each year in the U.S. among children 3 to 11 years old. Lice are usually transmitted through direct head-to-head contact. Less commonly, they can be passed on via a hat, comb, pillow or other personal object (contrary to our worst fears, lice don’t dive-bomb from one person’s head to another’s). Cleanliness and socioeconomic status have little to do with getting head lice, although race may have an impact; African-Americans are less likely to get them.
Aside from being icky and itchy, head lice are not known to transmit disease (although hard scratching can cause a secondary infection). That said, you don’t want them hanging around.
Our “ordeal” started in mid-May when I stopped by the school nurse’s office for her to have a look-see because her two best friends had it (that, and she was scratching an awful lot). “You see right there - those are nits,” she said, pointing to what looked like a bitty grain of salt on the hair shaft.
The nurse instructed me to shampoo my daughter’s with an over-the-counter pediculicide (lice-killing) shampoo, then comb out all the nits because OTC shampoos do not kill all the eggs (only the heavy-duty, super-toxic, prescription shampoo does). The third step (after shampooing and nitpicking) is to delouse personal objects.
At the drug store, the choices were many: popular OTC shampoos (with either pyrethrins – derived from chrysanthemums - or their synthetic cousin permethrin), homeopathic treatments (that promise to kill lice without harsh chemicals), gels to help with the nitpicking– even an electric comb that electrocutes the lice.
I ended up buying the store brand, partially because it offered the most shampoo at the cheapest price (the shampoos are expensive and we are - except for my husband - a household of long, curly-haired females, so we needed quantity, especially since we didn’t want to skimp). I slathered it on my daughter’s hair, waited 10 minutes, then rinsed and, with a fine-toothed comb, I combed… and combed… and combed, trying to get all of the nits out. Have I mentioned that she has long curly hair? A lot of it? A thick underbrush of it? Well, it took a long time to through it all. Except that I didn’t get it all: We both grew impatient before I was done.
Then, I threw all of her bedding into the wash, boiled all the combs and hairclips, and quarantined her stuffed animals and brushes. And for good measure, my husband and I shampooed our hair and washed our linens (as luck would have it, there had been a thunderstorm the night before and we played musical beds). I also checked her sister’s hair: Nothing! Mom 1, lice 1.
The next day, the lice were gone. And for a few glorious days, I thought we had dodged a bullet.
With most of the OTC shampoos, you have to retreat between seven and 10 days after the initial treatment, when the eggs that the shampoo failed to kill the first time finally hatch and repopulate the hair - but before the nymphs can grow into adults capable of reproducing. The life cycle of lice is about three weeks.
But before we could get halfway to retreatment time, they were back. So I cut off six inches of my daughter’s hair and we tried another brand of OTC shampoo; this one did not work at all (lice can become resistant to a particular pediculicide). So I went back to the first shampoo and I bought the electric comb (which was pretty cool and did electrocute some lice, but apparently not all). When that failed, I tried the homeopathic shampoo that works by dehydrating the lice and their eggs (this one you have to leave on for at least an hour, instead of 10 minutes). At the time of each treatment, we washed linens, boiled hair accessories all over again. The stuffed animals never made it out of quarantine.
But still the lice returned.
After about a month, at wits end, I called my pediatrician’s office. The nurse on call told me I could try the prescription shampoo (did I detect hesitation in her voice or was that me projecting?) or I could try one more “weird” treatment. Since I wasn’t particularly excited about the prospect of using poison so close to my child’s growing brain, I chose the latter. She recommended “Dippity-do.” Yup: The pink or green hair gel popular in the ’50s and ’60s. (It now comes in other colors too.)
But, she warned, I’d have to wrap my daughter’s hair in plastic wrap and a shower cap and leave it on for 12 hours. Similar to other home remedies - like mayonnaise and olive oil - the idea is to smother the lice in a thick coat of glop. The advantage of Dippity-do over the oily foodstuff is that it is much easier to wash out of hair (and doesn’t stink like unrefrigerated mayonnaise).
If this doesn’t work, I’ll be tempted to pull out the big guns: No, not the prescription shampoo but the electric razor – and give my daughter a buzz cut.
Have you or a family member had lice? How did you finally defeat it? Did using harsh chemicals on a small child worry you?
Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.
cialis tadalafil treat http://boxtadafil.com/ tadalafil vs sildenafil citrate
does erectile dysfunction get better https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ erectile vasectomy
buy generic cialis http://cileve.com/ – cialisis online shop for cialis
I'm curious to find out what blog system you happen to be working with?
I'm having some small security problems with my latest site and I'd like to find something more safeguarded.
Do you have any suggestions?
Here is my website – pg slot
20 mg tadalafil https://boxtadafil.com/ – sildenafil vs vardenafil vs tadalafil tadalafil 20mg (generic equivalent to cialis)
I've been surfing online greater than three hours as of late, yet
I never discovered any interesting article like yours. It's pretty price enough for me.
In my opinion, if all site owners and bloggers made excellent content material as you probably
did, the internet shall be a lot more useful than ever before.
how to buy teva sub for viagra in canada https://canadaviagrastore.com/ viagra from canada
cialis canadian https://canadacialisstore.com/ cialis, sale, canadian pharm.
cialis without rx http://cileve.com/ – cialis professional review cialis 20 mg for sale
Hi there, yeah this post is genuinely nice and I have learned lot of things from it concerning blogging.
priligy pills for sale priligy for sale uk
Stunning quest there. What occurred after? Take care!
average perscription pills taken by 65 year old canadian? https://canadapillstorex.com/ canadian pills online
sildenafil 100 mg tablet usa https://eunicesildenafilcitrate.com/ order cheapest sildenafil
buy avanafil usa avanafil stendra dosage
chloroquine tab https://chloroquineorigin.com/ clorquine
dapoxetine hydrochloride 60 dapoxetine for sale
best viagra pills 25 mg canada pharmarcy https://canadaviagrastore.com/ is it legal to bring viagra back to canada from mexico
chloroquine side effect https://chloroquineorigin.com/ sulfur effects on body
buy avana canada buy avana
cialis canadian https://canadacialisstore.com/ cialis canadian pharmacy
Thorazine http://canadianeve21.com/ drugs for sale
erectile bands https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ erectile cream for me
10 mg cialis https://asciled.com/ bye cialis online from usa
average perscription pills taken by 65 year old canadian? https://canadapillstorex.com/ best canadian mail order pharmacies for diet pills
generic cialis lowest prices https://asciled.com/ cialis online
cialis canadian https://canadacialisstore.com/ canadian meds cialis
counterfeit canadian drugs cialis https://canadacialisstore.com/ canadian generic cialis safe
levitra 20 mg street price http://uslevitraanna.com/ levitra soft tabs kaufen
200 milligram viagra https://gensitecil.com/ viagra pill cost
online buy cialis https://rcialisgl.com/ buy cialis black au
pfizer viagra price http://loxviagra.com/ how long before viagra works
is chloroquine phosphate over the counter https://chloroquineorigin.com/ chloroquine tab
avanafil 50mg buy avanafil online
priligy 30 dapoxetine hydrochloride
viagra cause peyronie's disease http://llviagra.com/ viagra versus natural
viagra vs.levitra http://loxviagra.com/ viagra information
buy avana online buy avanafil uk
priligy pills dapoxetine tablet price in india
original cialis pills http://ucialisdas.com/ canadian pharmacy for cialis for sale
Itss like you read my thoughts! You appear
to understand a lot about this, like you wrote the bok in it
or something. I feel that yyou just could do with some percent too force thee
message house a little bit, however other thann that, this is wonderful blog.
An excellent read. I will certainly be back.
malaria drugs list https://chloroquineorigin.com/ chloroquine cvs
canadian pharmacy online http://xlnpharmacy.com/ Forxiga
how much does cialis cost http://ucialisdas.com/ – 5mg cialis taking cialis and viagra together
จุดแข็งของ sagame คือ ความมากมายของเกมคาสิโนที่มีให้เลือกเยอะที่สุด แล้วก็ถือเป็นทางเลือกสำคัญของการเล่นเกมคาสิโนออนไลน์ในยุคนี้ ที่ใช้เงินเล่นพนันไม่มากมายแม้กระนั้นผลตอบรับที่ได้กลับคืนมาเกินความมุ่งมาด เราเป็นเว็บไซต์ที่ยังคงรักษามาตรฐานสูงสุด รวมทั้งคิดถึงการพัฒนาระบบคาสิโนที่ตอบปัญหาสำหรับผู้เล่นอย่างดีที่สุด พวกเราอยากให้คุณรู้สึกอุ่นใจสูงที่สุดที่ได้เลือกใช้บริการกับพวกเรา เชื่อมั่นเล่นเกมคาสิโนออนไลน์กับ Sa Game จะไม่มีปัญหาการใช้งานทั้งเว็บไซต์แล้วก็หน้าระบบเกิมเดิมพันให้เสียอารมณ์ เล่นได้อย่างต่อเนื่อง
24 ชั่วโมง พร้อมทั้งพวกเรามีคณะทำงานคอยให้บริการตอบคำถามถ้ามีปัญหาการใช้งาน ท่านสามารถติดต่อคณะทำงานได้โดยทันที
Hello, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues.
When I look at your blog in Ie, it looks fine
but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, great blog!
Visit my homepage Halebarns Carpet Cleaning by Your Local Halebarns Carpet Cleaners
Appreciate this post. Let me try it out.
viagra with alcohol http://jokviagra.com/ female viagra reviews
buying cialis on line https://cialisee.com/ – best online to buy cialis whats better cialis viagra or levitra
cialis pills low price https://cialisee.com/ purchase cialis