As Lice Clinics of America head lice professionals, we are all used to having the most effective and safe head lice treatment at our fingertips. It seems unfathomable that some people are still suggesting alternative remedies without any scientific basis. Even more concerning is the fact that many of these recommendations could be dangerous.
A few weeks ago, someone posted a comment on our public Facebook page suggesting kerosene as an effective treatment for head lice. This came with a “how to” guide. They suggested parting the hair into sections, applying kerosene to each section and sitting in the sun for a period. Needless to say, I was shocked!
This comes just a few months after a news story about a 16-year-old girl who was in the intensive care unit because a friend told her to put gasoline on her hair to kill lice. She’d taken gasoline from her family’s heating unit and dumped it on her head, igniting her hair. Her father, hearing his daughter’s screams, attempted to put out the flames with a towel. He was in the same hospital with severe burns to his hands.
Gasoline, like kerosene, is extremely flammable. Not only that, but both are associated with major toxicity. Kerosene and gasoline are both members of the hydrocarbon family of chemicals. According to US poison control centers, ingestion of these chemicals is responsible for one to two percent of all non-medication toxic exposures in children under the age of six. Ingestion or breathing in hydrocarbons can be fatal. It may cause respiratory failure. In fact, hydrocarbons were implicated in almost five percent of all single-substance fatalities in the pediatric population younger than six.
The stigma associated with an infestation may lead people to desperate measures. And, despite our best efforts, misinformation continues to abound. Recently, when looking at educational materials available to teachers, we found an article on an official site suggesting the use of mayonnaise. Seriously!
LCA’s Schools Without Lice National Educator Partnership aims to inform educators, nurses and communities by providing fact based educational information and resources. Take a look at the amazing wealth of free, downloadable material available to the professionals in your community through this program. Together, we can educate and eradicate the many dangerous myths and the misinformation surrounding head lice.
About Lice Clinics of America
With 330 clinics worldwide in 36 countries, Lice Clinics of America (www.LiceClinicsOfAmerica.com) is the largest network of professional head lice treatment centers in the world. Its patented heated-air device, AirAllé, has effectively performed more than 500,000 head lice treatments. Lice Clinics of America and AirAllé (www.airalle.com) are brands owned by Larada Sciences, Inc., which is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Reviewed by Dr. Krista Lauer for accuracy.