It was with a heavy heart that I read the news of a 16-year-old in the intensive care unit as a result of a head lice infestation. A friend told her to put gasoline on her hair to kill the bugs. She took gasoline from her family’s heating unit and dumped it on her head. In doing so, her hair ignited. Her father, hearing his daughter’s screams, attempted to put out the flames with a towel. He is in the same hospital with severe burns to his hands.
How can a horrific tragedy like this occur? Although this incident happened earlier this week in a European/Asian country, even in North America, the story is sadly familiar. Though head lice are not dangerous and do not spread disease, or result in any long-term medical issues, the stigma associated with an infestation may lead people to desperate measures. At Lice Clinics of America, our clients relay all sorts of ways they have attempted to manage their infestations before seeking definitive, professional care. From kerosene to mayonnaise and a plastic bag, we have heard it all!
Tragedies like the one from the news this week can be avoided. Please do not panic if you, or someone you know, or love has a head lice infestation. An infestation has nothing to do with personal hygiene or the cleanliness of your home or school. Take a moment to collect yourself. Before taking matters into your own hands, be sure to research all your options. There are treatments available that are both safe and effective.