If you search for head-lice-removal assistance online, you might get the impression that formal research and development in the field has stopped. The same products have been on drugstore shelves for years. You are more likely to find moms and bloggers claiming to have come up with so-called foolproof treatments straight from their pantries and medicine cabinets using products like mayonnaise and petroleum jelly to suffocate lice. Unfortunately, there is no scientific evidence that homespun remedies work.
The lack of scientific research and technical innovation is surprising for a couple of reasons. First is the increasingly documented issue that head lice have developed resistance to the pesticides used in the most common over-the-counter (OTC) lice removal products. Secondly, the number of head lice cases in the United States and the rest of the world have been on the rise as a result of these pesticide-resistant strains of head lice.
The lack of new products, and the ineffectiveness of existing products have combined to create a void in the practice of head lice treatment. There isn’t really a standard of care that healthcare providers, educators and parents can tap into because it is hard to know for certain what works. It is known that OTC treatments are increasingly ineffective, and it is not known if alternative treatments work at all.
This is starting to change with a new medical-device-based approach to head-lice removal developed by researchers at the University of Utah. The researchers found that carefully controlled warm air is effective at killing head lice and their eggs. As the team refined their product and conducted ongoing research, they developed a device with a heated-air source and applicator that ensure that the air is delivered to the scalp at the right temperature to kill head lice without harming the treatment recipient.
The device is called AirAllé. It has now been through rigorous clinical trials and is cleared by the FDA as safe and effective for head-lice treatment. This is one of the first new products developed to treat head lice in decades, and it uses an entirely different approach. In clinical trials the AirAllé was shown to kill head lice and 99.2 percent of eggs in a single treatment.
The team that developed the device took an entirely different approach to ridding families of lice. Instead of adapting existing treatments or trying to improve them, they came up with a brilliantly simple solution. As a result, families now have a fast, safe and effective way to eliminate head lice that is medically proven and scientifically sound.
AirAllé treatments are now available exclusively at Lice Clinics of America treatment centers throughout the United States and in some 20 countries throughout the world. It is quickly becoming the standard of care that parents, healthcare providers and educators expect from a lice treatment.