Lice have been around for thousands of years. Cleopatra herself was buried with a louse comb. These tenacious pests have proven to be highly capable of evolving and adapting over the centuries. Although man-made pesticides such as permethrin and the pyrethroids found in popular over-the-counter products have been highly effective for treating head lice, this is no longer the case. Lice have developed resistance to these pesticides. Resistant lice are called ‘super lice.’ A study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology in 2016 revealed that super lice were present in all 48 states tested.
As a family physician, I would not recommend pesticide-containing head lice treatments for my patients. As a mother, I would not use them on my family members. Not only are those treatments no longer reliable, but recent studies suggest a link between exposure to pyrethroids and behavior and endocrine/developmental problems in children.
A more effective alternative treatment uses no pesticides or harmful chemicals. The FDA-cleared AirAllé device, used in more than 350 Lice Clinics of America clinics across 36 countries, is safe for children age four and older. It uses precision-controlled heated air to kill lice, super lice, and their eggs by dehydration. Some have suggested the comb-out following treatment with the AirAllé device is what makes the treatment successful. However, not all Lice Clinics of America clients opt to have a comb-out after the AirAllé treatment. In more than 800,000 treatments with the AirAllé device, there have been no adverse events, and the success rate is over 99%, with or without combing.
Precision-controlled heated air with the AirAllé device works with a single treatment, in about one hour, guaranteed.