HeadLice.Org Hot Spots
When Nit Picking Comes In Handy

January 04, 2001

Go into just about any community in the country, and you'll find children with head lice. By some estimates, 6 to 10 million kids a year become infested. There are a variety of products on the market to treat head lice, but your best weapon against lice may be good old-fashioned nit picking.

"Scientists say lice have been hanging around human heads for centuries, but finding the little buggers can still send parents into a cold sweat.

"I think widespread panic was the first reaction, and just dread. What were we going to do from there on?"

"Cathy Molinelli found lice living on her son and daughter's heads last fall. She shampooed their hair with over-the-counter lice treatments twice, and even tried olive oil, but she still found live lice. She believes they may have been drug resistant.

"There are prescription products available to fight lice, but they're controversial. Lindane, also known by its trade name "kwell," was banned in California last year. Another product called ovide, contains the chemical malathion, the same chemical used in aerial spraying to kill mosquitoes and other bugs.

"The good news is there's a simple and safe solution to ridding heads of head lice."

"Sit down and pick the nits out of the hair -- the most effective way is to actually manually pick them out."

"Need help figuring out what lice and their eggs look like? You can order a free 'critter card' off the Internet.

"If you have lice, experts recommend laundering recently used linens and clothes. But don't go overboard, and stay away from lice sprays. Lice can only live 24 hours away from a human host, so don't worry too much about catching them from your couch."

"The likelihood of being infected from those sources is not very high and you've exposed your family and your pets to very toxic sprays."

"You're better off spending time and energy getting to the root of the problem."

If you'd like to order the free "critter card," you can contact the national pediculosis association at (781) 449-NITS. Or go to

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