Thursday, February 2, 2012


Head lice are as common as lizards in the Philippines. They are everywhere! It isn’t uncommon to see family members picking through each other’s hair in an effort to eliminate the creepy crawly varmints! And guess who got them while Gary and I were there? Needless to say, they were attracted to the one with waist-long hair! There are advantages to being bald!

While Americans often contend that it is other countries with such parasitic problems,
it is estimated that up to 12 million infestations of perdiculosis (head lice) occur each year
in the United States among children 3 to 11 years of age alone!

In fact, in 1996, America’s National Pediculosis Association reported that “head lice appear to be developing a resistant to commercially available chemical treatments.” While $100 million dollar a year may be good for the pediculicide industry, families are not only suffering from the expense of repeated purchases of such products, but repeated chemical exposures of these toxins are causing adverse consequences.

Not only are lice shampoos ineffective, a quick scan through FDA’s MedWatch reveals that the adverse effects of these pesticides range from minor skin irritation to death! (

The chemical ingredients are known hormone inhibitors, carcinogenic, neurotoxins, allergenic and more. Not a good thing for placing on the highly permeable scalp! It is reported that 60% of what is placed on the scalp is absorbed into the blood system!

What is The Center for Disease Control and Prevention doing about this problem? David Satcher, Director of CDC told the NPA, "CDC does not have resources for surveillance or applied research programs regarding pediculosis or scabies"! I bet Mr. Satcher has never had head lice! While the local and state health departments are the ones to whom CDC refers people, they are desperate for answers to this public health crisis!

So… what did I do? Not wanting to bring the little blood-sucking critters home with me, before leaving the Philippines and against my better judgment, I tried an over-the-counter product. It burned my scalp, irritated my eyes, made me feel quite dizzy and… it didn’t work! Not wanting to go through that again, when we arrived home, I began a relentless search for how to effectively deal with these pests without harmful chemicals. While I found some very interesting suggestions, this is what stood out to me as being worth my attention:

1) Vinegar dissolves the “glue” which holds nits (lice eggs) to the hair shaft.

2) Some nit combs are more effective than others. The best one on the market seems to be the NitFree Terminator. The best price that I found is at

3) Tea Tree oil is not only an effective insecticide that kills lice it is also a powerful repellant (!

Here is what I did! Before bed:

• Wash and towel dry hair as usual.

• Saturate hair with vinegar. Do not rinse or wring out!

• Place hair in a shower cap for thirty minutes. Place towel around neck to catch drips.

• Comb hair with nit comb. No, I didn’t comb every individual strand of hair or carefully segment it out!

• Do not rinse vinegar, replace shower cap and go to bed.

• Next morning – comb with Nit comb again.

• Four times a day rub organic Tea Tree oil, straight-up, into scalp, especially focusing on the hairline where nits like to live. Placing approximately ten drops of oil on fingertips and starting at the temple message your way to the center of scalp. Repeat with another ten drops on the other side, again from the nap up and again from forehead back.

After a few days, I quit looking for nits on the comb and crawlers in the sink. It only made me crazy! I knew I was on the right path because I began to experience less itching right away. Although I was relieved, I was persistent for at least three weeks! The life span for lice is about 30 days!

While it is often suggested that you vacuum daily, washing everything in sight, etc., lice do not live long without a human host. Besides using Tea Tree oil repels lice from wanting to be near you, so… don’t make yourself crazy trying to keep up with these time-consuming activities.

Yes, there were moments when I wondered what I would look like bald, but I can report today that my long auburn locks are louse-free. Well... at least they used to be auburn! That harsh dose of chemicals really did a number on the color of my hair (wink)!


P.S. Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at: You may also contact me at:

Bonnie Jaeckle

In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life

Diagonal Progress

505 Jefferson St.

Diagonal, IA 50845

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