|Head to head contact can spread lice.|
This is the main season for head lice, and it is estimated that between 6 million and 12 million young children are affected each year.
With many strict school policies in place to contain lice infestations, many parents turn to over-the-counter treatments and shampoos to get rid of the tiny creatures.
However, according to an iWatch News investigation, the chemical pesticides in these treatments may be more of a threat than the lice themselves.
Health experts warn against using treatments with lindane, a pesticide that has been targeted for a worldwide phase-out by the Stockholm Convention. Lindane has been linked to cancer, seizures and deaths, according to the FDA.
Pesticides called permethrin and malathion can also be problematic for lice treatment. Permethrin is found in popular over-the-counter products, such as Nix. Malathion and lindane generally require a prescription for drugs that go by the names Ovide or Kwell, respectively.
Important points to consider if you suspect head lice
- Make sure it is a case of head lice. Pediatricians warn that head lice infestations are often over-diagnosed, both by parents and health professionals. Symptoms of head lice can include having an itchy scalp, seeing red bumps on the child's scalp and neck, seeing live lice moving around on the child's head and finding nits (lice eggs), which are tiny white oval shaped specks that are attached to the sides of hairs
- Recent studies that show the shampoos are less effective than they used to be as lice become increasingly resistant.
- Problems may arise when lice shampoos are overused or directions aren’t followed.
- Children are generally more susceptible than adults to chemicals, experts say, and the application of a product directly to a child’s head – where only a thin layer of skin protects the developing brain – does not seem like a great idea.
- Natural home remedies are not regulated and may not be effective.
- If your child is 2 years old or younger, you should not use medicated lice treatments. You'll need to remove the nits and lice by hand, with a fine comb.
- Always talk to your health care provider and voice your concerns about chemicals and pesticides.
Sources: iWatch News, KidsHealth.org
Chemicals on the skin, chemicals in the air - exposure to chemicals and toxins can have serious health effects. To learn more about airborne chemicals and air treatment solutions from AllerAir, contact us today.