Head Lice Removal: A Brief History
“Lice,” this one word is enough to cause of itchiness all over our head. These microscopic insects roam around in our hair follicles like a stowaway on a ship, lay their eggs, suck our blood, and give us the most creepy and itchy feeling. Lice are so old that they’ve been found on Egyptian mummies in their tombs.
Several removal options exist, but none of these could stop lice from spreading and multiplying. If these “lousy” insects have already attacked you, you will surely understand our concern.
Lice across the ages
The history of head lice and its treatment dates back to 1550 BC when Egyptians, in their medical guide called “Ebers Papyrus” documented the first lice removal method. This guide recommended sloshing warm date-meal and water in the mouth and then spitting it on your face to drive away lice and fleas. Since then, people of all eras struggled to rid themselves of with these blood-suckers.
Around 1200 B.C, some Chinese documents indicated the use of mercury and arsenic compounds, and by 450 B.C., Egyptians started endorsing shaving all the hair from the body to eradicate lice. These efforts didn’t reap any positive results until about 100 A.D. when the Chinese discovered an effective and natural insecticide. Extracted from chrysanthemums called as Pyrethrum powder, this powder was considered a near-magical compound by Marco Polo, and he brought it to Europe in 1300 A.D.
Cut to centuries later. In the 1940s, a more refined extract of this powder was developed known as Pytheris, which showed positive results at killing head lice. But, this powder was not adequate for killing the eggs of insects, known as nits. Later in 1977, Permethrin, a synthetic version of earlier Pyrethrin was introduced as a consumer product to treat head lice.
How far has head lice removal come?
All the evidence concludes that almost all lice have become super-lice due to their resistance to different chemical pesticides. Thus, making them even harder to eradicate.
However, specific effective methods can be adapted to control them. The National Institute of Health recommends buying a fine-toothed metal comb and combing thoroughly until all lice and nits are removed. Your doctor may also suggest a medicated shampoo, a lotion, or an OTC drug to kill the lice. For highly super-lice, your doctor may prescribe oral medication. Children under four years old can not use it. Neither can pregnant women or anyone with a compromised immune system. However, there is no instant cure, and even prescription treatments may not solve the problem.
A device called the AirAllé, developed in 2006. It uses controlled heated air to dehydrate head lice and eggs, but even companies that use the invention rely on manual combing to solve the problem for good.
Lice are evolutionary survivors and are here to stay with us until science finds something to destroy them for good.