The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are 6-12 million cases of head lice in children 12 and under each year in the United States, many parents and educators would say that it’s closer to 12 million than 6 million these days, and we found 3 reasons head lice is getting worse.
1. The most commonly used (and recommended) lice treatments don’t work. A tireless team of researchers has been studying lice for decades, finding growing resistance to the most common over-the-counter lice products. Their most recent report, in 2016, found that most lice in 42 states have developed resistance to pyrethroids, the class of insecticides used in drugstore lice products. Unfortunately, these products are still recommended as the first line of defense by many pediatric and public health agencies.
2. Kids’ behavior is becoming more close-knit. Lice are spread by head-to-head contact, primarily among children. This happens through hugs, sharing hats, combs, brushes, hair accessories, and, increasingly, through selfies and headphones. Kids push their heads together to fit in a phone’s viewing field and create a situation ripe for head lice to spread. Sharing headphones, also increasingly popular since kids carry their music with them everywhere, is another way lice can spread.
3. Home remedies are ineffective at best and dangerous at worst. Search the Internet for lice solutions and you’ll find plenty of parents that will swear by mayonnaise, petroleum jelly, olive oil, or even kerosene. The CDC says that these are unproven and there is no scientific evidence to support their use. People continue to use them, and then are surprised when the lice don’t die and the problem gets worse. These products are meant to suffocate lice, which may indeed kill live lice. But eggs (nits) are the real problem, and eggs can’t be suffocated because they don’t breathe. The eggs will hatch, and you’ll have a fresh infestation on your hands.
Ready For Some Good News?
Yes, even with 3 reasons head lice is getting worse, there is some major good news on the front lines of the battle against head lice. A new medical device, introduced early in the 21st century, has been FDA-cleared and is clinically proven to kill live lice and 99.2 percent of eggs in a single 60- to 90-minute treatment, depending on the hair length. It’s called AirAllé, and it is available exclusively at Lice Clinics of America treatment centers where certified technicians provide a service that provides results in a single treatment.
The AirAllé® device
The AirAllé® device uses carefully controlled warm air applied at just the right temperature and at just the right location on the scalp to dehydrate lice and eggs. There are no chemicals involved, so the treatment is equally effective against pyrethroid-resistant lice and non-resistant lice. And, no painstaking nitpicking is required.