October 11, 2013

Home head lice remedies may cause more harm than good

Having head lice can be an uncomfortable, embarrassing experience; no wonder those who have it want an instant solution, pronto. Some people who don’t want to bother with a trip to the drug store may choose to resort to traditional home remedies.

Home remedies for lice, to the mind of those who use them, have two advantages: 
1) Easy availability because the cures are just around the house; and 

2) Avoidance of embarrassment, which may occur when a person purchases head lice medication—such a person would be afraid of being thought of as being unclean or living in an dirty household.

The most commonly used home remedies include the use of gasoline, suyod (fine-toothed lice comb), and insecticide chalk. How effective and safe are these remedies?

Gasoline. Gasoline is a potentially toxic, extremely flammable liquid. In older generations, when head lice medication was either non-existent or not readily available, gasoline was applied on the hair and scalp to kill head lice. Our generation is very fortunate in that we no longer have to use gasoline as head lice treatment.

Why? First of all, gasoline can irritate the scalp and may produce a painful, burning sensation. It’s not made for safe, human skin contact. The smell is also irritating. But the most serious reason to avoid using gasoline as head lice treatment is the threat of fire. It’s not the gasoline itself but its fumes that are highly flammable. When gasoline is applied on one’s scalp and hair, the fumes will silently and invisibly mix with the surrounding air. 

The slightest spark from an appliance, a light switch, or a lit stove can cause the fumes to catch fire and this fire will also ignite the gasoline on the person’s hair and scalp. Serious, even life-threatening burns may occur. Many cases of such a thing happening has already been documented through the years. If you don’t want your loved one’s hair and head to catch fire, please never ever use gasoline or any other type of liquid fuel (like kerosene) to treat head lice.

Suyod. The fine-toothed head lice comb is actually effective in removing lice stuck to one’s hair. The downside to this is that there’s no guarantee that the head lice won’t come back.  This is because one never knows if the suyod was actually able to catch all the lice. Also, the eggs of the head lice are tiny enough to slip through the comb anyway, so they can always hatch into new lice and repeat the problem again. Also, the suyod poses a risk of spreading lice to other persons especially if it is not cleaned properly, and if not all the lice it removes are killed.

Insecticide chalk.  This home remedy for head lice has a doubtful effectiveness and is potentially poisonous. Some people make the mistake of ordinary chalk, which is less harmful (but still causes allergies and may trigger asthma attacks) but also not effective against head lice at all.  Others use the actual insecticide chalk (used usually to kill ants) on their hair and scalp. The biggest danger here is that the chalk contains pesticide toxins. On top of that danger, there are no scientific studies proving that insecticide chalk affects head lice.

These home remedies usually have the force of tradition behind them. Having been handed down by the elders, they become acceptable to descendants—especially in Filipino society where older people are greatly respected. However, we must do what is right for our health and avoid so-called remedies that do more harm than good. Taking care of one’s health is nothing to be embarrassed about, so buying proper lice medication should not be a cause for shame.

One guaranteed safe and proven effective treatment for head lice is LiceAliz. It removes not only head lice but their eggs (lice eggs or nits) as well.  LiceAliz is a head lice treatment shampoo made of natural ingredients with Pyrethrin as its active ingredient. It is made from extracts of Chrysanthemum flowers. Pyrethrin is proven effective in removing head lice and their eggs; it is safe to use for adults and children as young as two years of age.

LiceAliz is very easy and convenient to use because it is applied just like regular shampoo. It also contains a conditioner that keeps hair soft, healthy, and manageable. For the first two weeks of use, it must be applied twice a week. After that, it is applied only once a week to keep head lice from coming back. For best results, it must be left on the hair for ten minutes before rinsing.

Consumers prefer LiceAliz because it is proven effective, safe, and reliable and yet is priced as much as 50 percent lower than other brands of head lice shampoo. LiceAliz also has a variant with menthol for a cool, refreshing feeling on the scalp. LiceAliz is available in drugstores and department stores nationwide.

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