Combs, Not Lotions, May Be Best for Head Lice

Removal of head lice with the use of a fine-tooth comb is a safer method of controlling the problem than the use of insecticide lotions.

Head lice remains a health problem for schoolchildren around the world. In most Western nations, parents attempt to kill the lice and their eggs ('nits') through the use of insecticide lotions or shampoos. The average infected child carries less than 8 to 10 lice on his or her scalp on any given day.

A simple wet combing of the hair -- performed by parents once every 3 days with the use of a fine-tooth 'nit' comb -- may be just as effective as insecticide use in removing head lice in children.

British Medical Journal May 22,1999;318:1422

COMMENT: I just love these inexpensive, simple, non-toxic alternatives to toxic chemicals. If you know anyone who has lice, I would encourage you to tell them of this alternative to the toxic chemicals that are commonly used to kill the lice.

Kwell lotion is one of the older ones and it contains a potent neurotoxin that should be avoided. Newer chemicals, like Nix, are less toxic, but still capable of causing harm and lice are becoming increasingly resistant to all these chemicals. But it is impossible to become resistant to a mechanical solution like a comb.

The following tip came from one of my readers:

Using a nit comb is much more effective if the fine-toothed comb pulls through the child's hair smoothly and quickly--virtually impossible with long, tangled hair.

There is a solution to tangles: rinse with baking soda water (2 tbs./1 qt) after shampooing. No need to wash off the baking soda rinse.

This info is based on personal experience with my own daughter's very long blond hair which was tangle-prone due to chlorine build-up from her daily swims. An experienced hair-dresser showed us the baking soda miracle.

And, yes, she had lice on two different occasions. The teacher explained that lice are actually more commonly found on blond kids because the light-colored lice are less visible there.

This info re sodium bicarbonate should be added to each of Dr. Mercola's articles on head lice. It will help will make treatment ever so much easier.

Good luck and continued success to all of you who work with Dr. Mercola,

Patty Bray
Little Rock, Arkansas

Post your comment