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Why Head Lice Are So Hard To Beat (and How To Beat Them)

Apr

20

Why Head Lice Are So Hard To Beat (and How To Beat Them)

No one wants to talk about head lice.

Until your child has head lice. Then you find you can’t talk or think about anything else. While head lice cause stress and embarrassment to parents, most of the stress comes from the fact they are so darned hard to get rid of. Here’s why.

Lice are determined, evolutionary survivors. They have adapted to be extremely good at reproducing. According to Dr. Sarah Brewer, “a female head louse only has to mate once during her life and stores sperm in a special tube, squeezing them out when needed.”

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This means that once fertilized, a female louse can lay eggs—nits—any time for the rest of its life. It only takes one fertilized female louse to start a fresh infestation.

“A mature female will lay 5 to 10 eggs every night,” Dr. Brewer says. “These oval egg capsules, commonly known as nits, are each stuck to a single hair, close to the scalp for warmth, using the insect equivalent of super glue. This glue has a similar amino acid composition to human hair, so designing a product to dissolve the glue without harming your hair is not an easy option.”

 

This is why most lice treatment products require multiple applications, multiple comb-outs of lice and nits, and have such a high degree of failure. Miss a single louse or nit, and the chances are you’ll have a fresh case of head lice. The margin for human error is extremely high.

It doesn’t help that most of the over-the-counter (OTC) lice products are no longer even effective, as most lice have developed a genetic resistance to their active ingredient, a class of pesticide called pyrethroids. The most recent study found that 98 percent of head lice in most states are now resistant to OTC lice products.

Fortunately, a game-changing solution is available at the world’s largest network of professional lice treatment centers—Lice Clinics of America. These clinics offer a service that removes head lice and eggs with an FDA-cleared Class I medical device that has been clinically proven to kill live lice and more than 99 percent of eggs.

Researchers at the University of Utah studying a type of bird lice developed the device called AirAllé. They found that the subjects of their study—lice—struggled to survive in the arid desert climate. This sparked the idea of being able to kill lice through dehydration. After ten years of development and testing, the AirAllé device was brought to market. It uses carefully controlled and applied warm air to dehydrate lice and eggs.

Most treatments take about an hour and are guaranteed to be successful. Getting rid of head lice in an hour makes it a lot less stressful for parents and children alike, and makes lice treatment about as difficult as getting a hair cut.

There are more than 300 Lice Clinics of America treatment centers in more than 30 countries. The company has successfully treated more than 350,000 cases of head lice with a success rate better than 99 percent.