As the frequency and level of pediculicide resistance increases throughout the world, the need for novel solutions to control pediculosis has intensified. The development and registration of new pesticides has become so costly that many chemical companies are unwilling to pursue it and health-care providers now face a serious lack of new commercial pediculicides. Many infested people resort to using “home-remedy” approaches that have not been scientifically tested. In this article, we examined the potential value of six purportedly effective “home remedies” (vinegar, isopropyl alcohol, olive oil, mayonnaise, melted butter, and petroleum jelly) to treat head louse infestations and the likelihood of drowning lice by water submersion. Results indicated that only the application of petroleum jelly caused significant louse mortality but no treatment prevented lice from laying eggs. Most home remedy products did little to kill eggs, despite prolonged exposure. Petroleum jelly caused the greatest egg mortality, allowing only 6% to hatch. It was extremely difficult to drown lice, despite extended periods (i.e., 8 hr) of water submersion, suggesting that killing lice by depriving them of oxygen is inefficient. None of the home remedy products we surveyed was an effective means of louse control. This suggests that when treatment failure occurs, an increased amount of time and effort should be focused on alternative chemical pediculicides and/or manual louse removal (i.e., combing) rather than using any of these products.
To read this article in full you will need to make a payment
Purchase one-time access:Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
One-time access price info
- For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
- For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'
Subscribe:Subscribe to Journal of Pediatric Nursing: Nursing Care of Children and Families
Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
Already an online subscriber? Sign in
Register: Create an account
Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect
- The adherent cylindrical nit structure and its chemical denaturation in vitro: An assessment with therapeutic implications for head lice.Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. 1998; 152: 711-712
- Controlled study of malathion and d-phenothrin lotions for Pediculus humanus var. capitis-infested schoolchildren.Lancet. 1994; 344: 1724-1727
- Evidence for double resistance to permethrin and malathion in head lice.British Journal of Dermatology. 1999; 141: 508-511
- Head lice.Pediatrics. 2002; 110: 638-643
- Increased frequency of the T929I and L932F mutations associated with knockdown resistance in permethrin-resistant populations of the human head louse, Pediculus capitis, from California, Florida, and Texas.Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology. 2003; 77: 115-124
- Human lice: Their prevalence, control, and resistance to insecticides. A review 1985–1997.World Health Organization/Division of Tropical Diseases/WHO Pesticide Evaluation Scheme/97.8. World Health Organization, Geneva1997
- Molecular analysis of kdr-like resistance in permethrin-resistant strains of head lice, Pediculus capitis.Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology. 2000; 66: 130-143
- Infestations.Current Problems in Dermatology. 1999; 11: 73-120
- Control of human lice (Anoplura: Pediculidae) infestations: Past and present.American Entomologist. 1996; 42: 175-178
- Permethrin resistance in the head louse Pediculus capitis from Israel.Medical and Veterinary Entomology. 1995; 9: 427-432
- Combating lousiness among soldiers and civilians.Parasitology. 1918; 10: 411-586
- Laboratory studies of susceptibility and resistance to insecticides in Pediculus capitis (Anoplura; Pediculidae).Journal of Medical Entomology. 1998; 35: 814-817
- Differential permethrin susceptibility of head lice samples in the United States and Borneo.Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. 1999; 153: 969-973
- Overdiagnosis and consequent mismanagement of head louse infestations in North America.Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. 2000; 19: 689-693
- Pediculicide resistance in head lice: A survey.Hospital Pharmacy. 2003; 38: 241-246
- A resistance of head lice (Pediculus capitis) to permethrin in Czech Republic.Central European Journal of Public Health. 1995; 3: 30-32
- Treatment resistant head lice: Alternative therapeutic approaches.Pediatric Dermatology. 1997; 14: 409-410
Takano-Lee, M., Edman, J. D., Mullens, B. A., & Clark, J. M. Transmission potential of the human head louse, Pediculus capitis (Anoplura: Pediculidae). International Journal of Dermatology [in press].
- In vivo and in vitro rearing of Pediculus humanus capitis (Anoplura: Pediculidae).Journal of Medical Entomology. 2003; 40: 628-635
© 2004 Elsevier Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.