“Day in and day out, here at Lice Clinics of America, we have clients who come in who have tried home remedies that simply do not work,” says Mark Meyer, owner of Lice Clinics of America – Northwest, which services Portland, Clackamas, Vancouver, Salem and Bend. “Traditional over the counter treatments are also proving to be more and more ineffective as lice continue to develop an immunity to the chemicals used in them.”
“Often, we have clients who come in who have tried something mildly dangerous in their attempt to treat head lice on their own,” says Meyer. “We wanted to share a word from our National Medical Director, where she shares her expertise on why home methods don’t work and how dangerous they can become.”
From Dr. Krista Lauer:
“As Lice Clinics of America head lice professionals, we are all used to having the most effective and safe head lice treatment at our fingertips,” says Dr. Krista Lauer, National Medical Director of Lice Clinics of America. “It seems unfathomable that some people are still suggesting alternative remedies without any scientific basis. Even more concerning is the fact that many of these recommendations could be dangerous.”
A few months ago, someone posted a comment on a Lice Clinics of America Facebook post suggesting kerosene as an effective treatment for head lice. This came with a “how to” guide. “They suggested parting the hair into sections, applying kerosene to each section and sitting in the sun for a period,” says Dr. Lauer. “Needless to say, I was shocked!”
This comment came just a few months after a news story about a 16-year-old girl who was in the intensive care unit because a friend told her to put gasoline on her hair to kill lice. She’d taken gasoline from her family’s heating unit and dumped it on her head, igniting her hair. Her father, hearing his daughter’s screams, attempted to put out the flames with a towel. He was in the same hospital with severe burns to his hands.
Gasoline, like kerosene, is extremely flammable. Not only that, but both are associated with major toxicity. Kerosene and gasoline are both members of the hydrocarbon family of chemicals. According to US poison control centers, ingestion of these chemicals is responsible for one to two percent of all non-medication toxic exposures in children under the age of six. Ingestion or breathing in hydrocarbons can be fatal. It may cause respiratory failure. In fact, hydrocarbons were implicated in almost five percent of all single-substance fatalities in the pediatric population younger than six.
Lice Clinics of America – Northwest owner Meyer also added, “The stigma associated with an infestation may lead people to desperate measures…Despite our best efforts, misinformation continues to abound. Recently, when looking at educational materials available to teachers, we found an article on an official site suggesting the use of mayonnaise. We know this doesn’t work – mayonnaise doesn’t kill nits. And on top of that, our largest problem isn’t lice, but that people don’t speak to each other about their infestations, so everything becomes worse than it should or could.”
About Lice Clinics of America – Northwest
Lice Clinics of America has over 300 clinics in 35 countries, making it the world’s largest network of professional lice treatment centers. Lice Clinics of America – Northwest operates clinics in Portland, Clackamas, Salem and Bend, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington and is open seven days a week, 365 days a year by appointment. Call 503-404-0475 or visit liceclinicsnorthwest.com for more information or to schedule an appointment.