Completely Safe Lice Treatment for Kids
So, you got the dreaded call… “Can you come and collect your child from school? We have found head lice.”
This is always such a tricky position for any parent. You need to be at work, but your child can’t be at school. Additionally, you’re anxious about the possibility of lice being transferred to other kids, or members of the household. What should you do?
Firstly, if you do get “the call,” don’t panic! According to the CDC, there are an estimated six to twelve million infestations of head lice each year among children aged three to eleven. They are not known to transmit disease and it is certainly not an indictment of the cleanliness standards in your household – in fact, lice love nice, clean scalps!
Secondly, it’s important to get a correct diagnosis, confirming that your child has lice. A report from the American Academy of Pediatrics reveals that lice are commonly misdiagnosed, leading to unnecessarily missed school days. Further studies show that there are 12 to 24 million school days missed due to head lice each year. You might save yourself the time away from work and school with a simple checkup.
If the lice infestation is confirmed, then you need a safe, expedient lice treatment for kids, and ASAP! Let’s examine a few options:
What about chemical lice treatments?
One of the most common concerns about chemical lice treatments for kids is whether they are safe. Even the CDC states: “The drugs used to treat lice are insecticides and can be dangerous if they are misused or overused.”
Chemical solutions that you buy over the counter or on prescription tend to be pyrethroids – a class of insecticide that kill lice. The issue with pyrethroids is that they are also known neurotoxins. The safety of using these lice treatments on kids has been in question for years now. Problems associated with pyrethroids include burning and tingling skin, respiratory trouble, involuntary twitching, dizziness, nausea, fainting, convulsions and seizures.
The effectiveness of these chemical lice treatments on kids is also questionable. Research published in the Journal of Medical Entomology found that head lice in 42 states are 100 percent resistant to over-the-counter treatments!
There is a new generation of “super lice” in town (as itchy as that probably makes you feel right now!), and they’re genetically evolved to resist those chemical treatments. Which brings us to other options…
How do enzyme lice treatments work?
Enzyme lice treatments for kids are usually in the form of shampoos. They are designed to disable and kill lice by mimicking their own molting enzymes and dissolving their exoskeletons. They also work to loosen the nit “glue” which sticks the eggs to the hair. Studies have shown this to be an effective method of lice treatment for kids.
A big plus for concerned parents is that enzyme lice treatments are not loaded with nasty chemicals. This makes them safe for your kids, without the side-effects that can be associated with chemical use. They are also effective for getting those “super lice,” as there is no resistance to the enzyme shampoo.
Unfortunately, this sort of treatment doesn’t kill the eggs; it just makes it easier for you to comb them out of your child’s hair. Treatment is still a two-step process – shampoo, then comb. You may need to repeat treatment to ensure that no eggs were missed.
How do dimethicone lice treatments work?
Dimethicone lice treatments for kids are usually in shampoo or gel form and are designed to suffocate lice. They have been shown to effectively kill the eggs in many cases. One study found that after one day of treatment with dimethicone, 98.3% of subjects were free of live lice and 55.2% were free of viable eggs. On day 14, 96.5% were still free of live lice, and 80.7% were free of viable eggs.
Dimethicone is a silicon-based polymer that works to suffocate the lice and lubricate hair so that removal of lice and eggs is made easier. It is another option that does not contain troublesome chemicals.
Even with dimethicone lice treatments for kids, follow-up treatments will still be required. As shown by the study results, some live lice and eggs may still be present days later if only one treatment is given.
How do electric lice combs work?
Electric combs are designed to zap lice with electricity and kill or stun them. The combs emit an electrical pulse that is safe for kids, as rubber tips on the ends prevent the user from being shocked. You simply turn the comb on, comb your child’s hair in sections, and check the comb for lice each time. Lice can then be discarded in warm, soapy water.
This method involves no chemicals and can be used on dry hair, so you could treat your child’s hair from anywhere you happen to be. When you use an electric lice comb, there is no mess to clean up either!
Sometimes an electric lice comb will stun the louse, rather than killing it, so you will need to be thorough with combing. Electric lice combs don’t kill the eggs, so you may need to reuse it over a 10-day period, to cover the time it takes for nymphs to mature and lay eggs. Alternatively, you can use a stainless steel comb in addition to an electric comb to ensure all lice and eggs are completely killed and removed from the hair.
There are a few different options for getting your child back to school, and yourself back to work, without using harsh chemical lice treatments. Try a safe lice treatment for kids, which is also most likely to more effective than those chemical treatments (and without the nasty smells)!
- LiceGuard Webmaster