Lice prevention and treatment Pediculus capitis infection
March 27 2017

Head lice are small parasitic insects adapted to living mainly on the scalp and neck hairs of their human host. Their six legs are evolved to grasp hair shafts and provide a striking example of biological specialization. Head lice are equal opportunity parasites; they do not respect socio-economic class distinctions. Their presence does not connote a lack of hygiene or sanitation practiced by their host. Head lice are mainly acquired by direct head-to-head contact with an infested person's hair, but may infrequently be transferred with shared combs, hats and other hair accessories. They may also remain on bedding or upholstered furniture for a brief period.

Resistance to medication, some drugs no longer work
At least 25 states host lice populations that don't respond to common over-the-counter treatments. Permethrin, part of the pyrethroid class of insecticides, has long been the go-to weapon against head lice, mosquitoes, bedbugs and other insects. But continued exposure to permethrin has caused a huge swath of the dreaded insects to develop genetic mutations that render such drugs useless.

Diagnosis of head lice
Dr. Claudia Jahnke of the City Health Department in Braunschweig found that wet-combing a child's hair may be the best way to determine if he or she has an active case of head lice This method identifies active infestations 90 percent of the time, while visual inspection of a child's hair only spots 30 percent of the active infections. Archives of Dermatology, 2009.

Head Lice Treatment
Head lice are treated with chemical-containing shampoos, which can kill lice but not the eggs they leave behind. "Nit" combs remove lice eggs, but the technique requires some work -- thoroughly combing the hair in sections over several days, for up to two weeks. Lice are mutating and gradually becoming resistant to the chemicals used in delousing shampoos. Insecticidal shampoos to kill head lice raised the odds of leukemia.

J Young Pharm. 2013. Evaluation of quality and efficacy of an ethnomedicinal plant Ageratum conyzoides in the management of pediculosis. Infestation with the head louse, Pediculus humanus capitis, is one of the most common parasitic infestations of human worldwide. Traditionally, the main treatment for control of head lice is chemical control that includes wide variety of neurotoxic synthetic insecticides. The main difficulty posed in controlling the head louse infestation is increasing lice resistance to synthetic pediculicidal drugs. Plant-based drugs; especially essential oil components and standardized extracts have been suggested as an alternative source of materials for insect control. Ageratum conyzoides has been reported to possess antifungal and insecticidal properties. In the present research work, an attempt has been made to evaluate in vitro pediculicidal activity of A. conyzoides. A filter paper diffusion bioassay was carried out in order to determine the pediculicidal activity of different extracts of A. conyzoides.RESULTS:The study elucidates the active plant part and suitable extract responsible for the therapeutic efficacy of this plant in the management of pediculosis. Findings of the present study indicate the potential of A. conyzoides extract to be included in the formulations as a pediculicidal agent.

Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2012. Pediculosis capitis: an update. Head louse infestation, or pediculosis capitis, caused by Pediculus humanus var. capitis, is a common health concern in pediatric age group. An itching of the scalp is the chief symptom, whereas presence of viable nits confirms the diagnosis of head louse infestation. Secondary bacterial infection with impetignization with cervical and occipital lymphadenopathy can complicate the clinical scenario with physician misdiagnosing pediculosis to a primary bacterial infection. Screening and treatment of all close contacts is necessary for an adequate management of pediculosis. Medical management of head louse infestation requires proper application of topical pediculicidal agents', chiefly permethrin lotion and wet combing with a fine toothcomb. Severe cases with high parasitic load justify the use of either oral cotrimoxazole or Ivermectin. Other described technique involves a single application of hot air for 30 minutes. Radical but culturally unacceptable method would be shaving of scalp in resistant cases. Environmental fogging with insecticides is neither necessary nor recommended.

The LouseBuster
A hot-air device dubbed the LouseBuster is able to rid children of head lice and eggs in about 30 minutes. LouseBuster could offer a quick, chemical-free alternative for banishing head lice. In a study published in Pediatrics Journal, LouseBuster killed off nearly all of the lice eggs in children's hair, along with 80 percent of hatched lice -- a success rate good enough to cure most of the kids. The LouseBuster works by sending a high volume of hot air to the scalp through a long flexible hose that has a rake-like hand attachment for lifting the hair. The researchers envision it being used in clinics and, especially, in schools -- where lice infestations are often discovered, said Dr. Dale Clayton, a biology professor at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and the study's lead author. The LouseBuster uses air that's cooler than a standard blow-dryer, which could singe the scalp if used improperly. The LouseBuster was actually an "accidental discovery," Clayton said, that stemmed from his work on birds and the lice that infest them. When he first came to Utah, he found that his lab lice couldn't survive in the region's dry air. The LouseBuster is currently under commercial development by a company called Larada Sciences, for which Clayton is the chief scientific director. The device could be on the market within the next two years, he said. Pediatrics, November 2006.

Tea Tree Oil for Lice
Tea tree oil has been tested in various skin and medical conditions including acne, dermatitis, gingivitis, lice, dandruff, genital warts, and tinea pedis (athlete's foot).