|Oct. 15th, 2014 @ 12:43 am Science! |
The kiddo and I are currently science experiments. This would be easier if I had access to some simple lab equipment, but I don't, so I'm performing the experiments on us directly.
He got head lice, probably from school. We have each shampooed twice with louse shampoo, which is supposed to kill them and leave a residue that "prevents reinfestation." I used it preventatively right away, but even with little contact with him and washing everything, I found a couple on myself after a week. The people I've talked to say that it doesn't work well, and that the only real solution is meticulous combing and literal nit-picking...every single day...which takes about an hour per person.
I refuse to believe that is the best solution.
The problem is that the shampoo kills most of the adults/young but not the eggs, and isn't safe to use every day. In between treatments they breed more than can be kept up with. So we either need a treatment that kills all the adults and the eggs, or we need something that kills the adults and is safe to use every day. The latter seems more likely so that's what I'm trying to find. My list of possibilities includes: baking soda or vinegar (change in pH,) hydrogen peroxide, herbal flea spray with essential oils, diatomaceous earth, Neem, rubbing alcohol and Witch Hazel (both astringents: tiny things dehydrate easily,) dish soap (used on aphids,) chlorinated water, heat.
My head is currently powdered liberally with diatomaceous earth (and wrapped in a scarf to prevent a giant mess.) If you're not familiar with it, it is the shells of plankton that have silica exoskeletons. They die and collect in drifts in the ocean, where they are mined and ground to powder. It is microscopically razor-sharp and cuts insects to shreds. It is used on pets and in houses to kill fleas, so I know it is safe. I'll know in 2-3 days if it is effective.
Gregory has been rinsing his hair every day in the shower with a 50/50 vinegar/water solution. Today was day 3. The idea here is that most parasites have a very narrow range of conditions that they have evolved to fit. If you change those conditions, adjusting pH, temperature, or humidity, they often die. I don't expect this approach to kill the eggs, which means keeping it up for a bit longer than a full life cycle.
All of the things I want to try are cheap, safe, and readily available. If effective, they would fail to catch on because they can't be marketed and profited from. Still, I'm hoping for some new information that can help others as well as us.