What is Head Lice?
Printable: Alberta Health Services Head Lice Fact Sheet
Lice are tiny insects that live on humans and feed on blood. When a large number of lice live and multiply on a person, it is called an infestation.
Scientists have found that head lice are becoming immune to the most common treatments used by parents. In a report presented at the 250th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society, researchers revealed that lice populations throughout the US have developed resistance to over-the-counter treatments still widely recommended by schools. That means many parents and teachers will be fighting a losing battle when it comes to lice outbreaks unless they are properly prepared.
“There are prescription drugs available, such as Spinosad (Natroba) and ivermectin (Sklice) to treat lice. But prevention, early detection and immediate action are your best bets to fight lice,” says Jason Chan-Remillard, Pharmacist at London Drugs.
It has been estimated that over than two million Canadians experience head lice per year, and the Lice fact sheet from Alberta Health Services states that at any one time, 10 per cent of elementary school children can have head lice. Throughout the year, many schools report head lice cases to parents so they can take preventative measures at home.
“If a note gets sent home that another child has it, parents should immediately inspect their children’s clothing – especially hats and scarves – sporting equipment like helmets, and pillows. They should look for eggs.”
Eggs are yellow, brown or tan objects that look like tiny seeds. And They can be difficult to spot. However, a new medical device launched in Canada this year, helps parents easily spot lice and remove them without the use of chemical based products. The Nitview LED Lice Detection Device incorporates ultraviolet light and a detachable comb with micro channelled teeth for removal of both lice and nits. The lice and their eggs grow under the UV light making them very easy to find amongst the hairs and remove them with a comb. The device can also be used to check clothing, towels and bed linen.
“It’s important to remember that head lice are more of a nuisance than a serious health risk. They don’t carry disease. Chemicals and antibiotics should be considered a second line treatment,” says Chan-Remillard.
Common signs of head lice are an itching or tickling feeling on the scalp, as well as visible small white objects in the hair. If you notice any of these signs, Chan-Remillard says, “manual removal using a tool like Nitview is preferred. If lice are noticed before they multiply exponentially, the removal process will be far less tedious.”
NitView LED Lice Detection Device
The NitView LED Comb is fairly compact. It fits within the palm of my hand.
The device takes 3 AAA batteries (not included) and turns on and off with the press of a button. Couldn't be simpler. The comb has two "blacklight" LEDs on either side of the comb. The idea being that the exoskeleton of the Lice will glow in the light.
My daughters, while lice free, were excited to help me try it out. And I was excited to have some peace of mind in my hand.
First up, Buggie.
The comb ran easily through her hair. We dimmed the lights in room to make the light even more noticeable.
Oh crap - something glowed on the third section of her hair. Do you see it?
It's not lice, though. Just a little fluff. But it makes it pretty easy to see how the lice would light up with this device. And the comb made quick work of the fluff.
Then on to Doodle, who has longer hair.
No lice. No fluff.
Both of my girls are honey blond, so I wanted to see how it might be on a darker hair colour. So enter me. Just to give you a visual of the light against dark hair.
So - even with the lack of lice on us, I find just having this little device on hand is bringing me some peace of mind in knowing I am now prepared to diagnose at the first sign of itching so I can take care of the little buggers before they can creep us out more than they have to.
I also like the fact that you can also use the light to check bedding and furniture.
The device retails for $44.99 on the London Drugs website.
NYDA Head Lice Treatment
Also in my package, was a bottle of NYDA Head Lice Treatment.
From the London Drugs website: NYDA® does not contain any neurotoxic chemicals. NYDA® has a UNIQUE dual action dimeticone 100 cSt allowing it to penetrate deeply into the tiniest parts of the lice, larvae and also the egg’s breathing system, replacing the air. This prevents the exchange of gases, provoking death of head lice and its eggs in a physical fashion within 58 seconds.
I could not test this product and I want to keep it read and waiting in case I do need it, but I love the fact that this stuff doesn't contain any neurotoxins. Instead, it is a silicone product that basically suffocates the nits and lice. And, because of how it is formulated, the lice will not become resistant to the formula.
A 50ml bottle of NYDA retails for $33.49 on the London Drugs website.
Please note: All prices are as of the time of publication and may increase or decrease over time. I was provided with these products for review, free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion.