A myth is defined as, “1) a traditional story, especially one concerning the early history of a people or explaining some natural or social phenomenon, and typically involving supernatural beings or events; 2) a widely held but false belief or idea.”
When it comes to head lice, the second definition of myth is a big problem. There are lots of widely held but false beliefs and ideas about head lice. Fortunately, science and medicine are getting the upper hand on these beliefs.
Let’s look at the two most damaging myths about head lice.
- Only people with poor hygiene get lice. False. Anyone can get head lice. In fact, there is evidence that lice prefer clean hair and scalps because a clean surface is easier to grip and traverse. This myth is damaging in many ways. The perception that lice infestations have something to do with hygiene causes people to hide lice outbreaks from schools, other parents, friends and even family, which usually results in more people contracting lice. Many have said that the best weapon against head lice is communication.
- Superlice can’t be killed by anything. False. “Superlice” is a misleading term that has arisen in reference to lice that are resistant to the most common over-the-counter (OTC) chemical treatment products. Head lice in many countries have in fact developed resistance to Pyrethroids, the active ingredient in many OTC products, but that is all. This myth is damaging because it has led people to adopt all kinds of home remedies that don’t work and may in fact introduce health risks—mayonnaise, petroleum jelly, and olive oil, to name a few.
Head-lice treatment has suffered as myths proliferate and facts fail to dispel them. The good news is that scientific research and medical investigation have resulted in a new approach to lice treatment that moves it out of the realm of myth and mystery.
Researchers at the University of Utah studying lice found it difficult to keep their study subjects (lice) alive in the arid desert environment. This led to the hypothesis that lice could be killed with dehydration. The scientists were right. A few years of research later, including careful product development and rigorous clinical trials, the AirAllé medical device was born.
The AirAllé device uses warm air to kill lice and eggs through dehydration in about 90 minutes. The device has been cleared by the FDA as safe and effective for the treatment of head lice. The culmination of the researchers’ work was published in the scientific journal Pediatrics in 2006. A follow up study was published in the Journal of Entomology in 2011.
AirAllé lice removal is now available in more than 100 Lice Clinics of America clinics in the United States, and in some 20 countries world wide. The device has been shown to kill live lice and 99.2 percent of eggs, and treatment is guaranteed. All technicians at Lice Clinics of America clinics are trained and certified in AirAllé operation.
Thanks to the AirAllé device and Lice Clinics of America, parents, schools and health care providers no longer have to rely on chemicals or home products that don’t work, and can instead turn to science and medicine for proven, professional head-lice treatment.