Head lice in children is a dilemma than can turn a parent’s life upside down. But sometimes the cure is worse than the problem. Unfortunately, many parents are not aware that some lice treatments can be more dangerous for their children than the bugs themselves.
Many Head Lice Treatments Contain Lindane, Permethrin, And Malathion
Between January 2005 and October 2010, the Food and Drug Administration received around 200 reports of adverse reactions to treatments containing these chemicals. In fact, lindane has been banned by the EPA for use on livestock and pets in the US. However, the FDA still okays its use in products for children, even though lindane use has been implicated in cancer, neurological problems, and even several deaths.
Permethrin and malathion aren’t exactly safe either. These chemicals have been associated with weakness and tingling in the arms and legs, childhood cancers, seizures, and behavior problems. Sometimes these problems may not show up until months later, which can make it hard to link them with the pesticides.
Many parents are finding that these pesticides aren’t as effective against the little creepy crawlies any more. Desperate to get rid of the problem, some parents repeat treatments too often, increasing their kids’ exposure to these toxic chemicals, and upping the chances of an adverse reaction.
Is There A Good Solution?
There are several safe solutions, but none of them are particularly easy. The use of tea tree oil for head lice is a well-known herbal remedy. Some parents have found great success getting rid of these parasites by using Naughty Nits, a combo of products that contains several essential oils, including tea tree, rosemary, lavender, and neem.
Head lice combs are also recommended. The University of Nebraska has a great page on Managing Head Lice Safely . Scroll down the page to find an article explaining exactly how to use one of these combs to remove lice. This method of removing lice and their eggs is tedious and time-consuming, but it’s much safer than using dangerous chemicals on children. An electric lice comb can make the job much easier.
Don’t be tempted to take the easy route when dealing with a head lice infestation. Natural remedies and fine-toothed combs are a much safer way to get rid of these critters, especially on kids. Keep in mind that these annoying little creatures are definitely a nuisance, but they’re not life-threatening. The same can’t always be said about the products used to get rid of them.