We hate head lice. But not for the reasons you might think. It’s not because they are dirty (they’re not) or that they represent some kind of social failure (they don’t) or because they cause terrible health problems (they don’t do that either).
The reason we hate head lice is because of the emotional toll they take on families.
People tend to get hysterical with head lice “happens” to their families. Granted, it is no fun. But the social stigma and its impact on parents and families are far greater than a simple lice outbreak really warrants.
The angst over lice outbreaks happens in part because there is so much misinformation presented and peddled about head lice. Pesticide-based lice removal products claim results that are not always credible (they kill live lice, not eggs, and ongoing meticulous combing is required to remove the eggs). Homegrown solutions like mayonnaise and petroleum jelly are simply unproven and rely on wishful thinking more than science. So-called “natural” alternatives are also unproven, and some are more toxic than pesticide-based products.
There is a bewildering amount of confusion about what lice are and how to treat them, and parents become frantic about removing lice out of embarrassment. Most wind up dealing with the problem for weeks and months because many of the products and remedies they try don’t work. The confusion is bewildering because head lice have been around for millennia, and up to 12 million cases occur each year in the United States alone. You would think that we would have treatment figured out by now.
It doesn’t have to be this way. The first step we need take is to remove the social stigma from the head lice world. Head lice are not the result of poor hygiene. They just aren’t. In fact, some studies show that head lice prefer a clean scalp and clean hair. The stigma leads people to confront lice on their own, trying various treatments by trial and error, hindering the sharing of information and the standardization of care. We don’t approach any other medical condition this way!
We also need a research-driven, outcome-based approach to lice treatment and prevention. Fortunately there are smart people working on this, and the results are exciting. One example: Larada Sciences has developed the AirAllé, an FDA cleared medical device that kills live lice and 99.2 percent of lice eggs—in a single treatment that takes about 90 minutes. The device has been adopted by Lice Clinics of America, and we are bringing this medically sound, clinically proven lice treatment to communities throughout the United States and around the world.
Now lice treatment doesn’t have to be done in secret, combining wishful thinking and trial and error. We are committed to educating people about the reality of what head lice are and aren’t, and to give parents, teachers, school nurses and healthcare providers the information they need to make the best available treatment recommendations and decisions.
At Lice Clinics of America, we hate head lice, but you shouldn’t have to. The condition is not as negative as it has been made out to be through centuries of misinformation (for more on this see A Brief History of Lice). And now it is more treatable than ever before. We even offer an advanced home treatment product called, coincidentally, “I Hate Lice,” for patients far from clinics or who prefer home treatment.