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Combing wet hair fights lice

Fine-toothed combs when run through wet, conditioned hair are more likely to rid scalps of lice than over-the-counter chemical treatments.

Combing wet hair fights lice

A kit that contains a set of 4 fine-toothed combs and instructs people how to run it through wet, conditioned hair is four times more likely to rid scalps of lice, as compared to over-the-counter chemical treatments.Although annoying, head lice are essentially harmless, and spread by head-to-head contact, usually amongst people who know each other well. They are most common in children, but adults can also get infested with lice, which attach their eggs to hair shafts. The bugs are usually found at the back of the neck and behind the ears. Pediculicides are chemicals that kill head lice by blocking their nervous system, and resemble the insecticides sprayed on flowers and vegetables to kill pests. Head lice chemical treatments, or pediculicides, have become much less effective over the years because head lice have become increasingly resistant to the chemicals. A kit, known as the Bug Buster, is widely used in the UK, and includes 4 fine-toothed combs. By removing lice from hair with a fine-toothed comb every 3 to 4 days, people break the life-cycle of the bugs and get rid of them for good.
Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK, asked the guardians of 133 children between the ages of 2 and 15 with head lice to try either the Bug Buster kit or a single-treatment of pediculicides. The researchers found that the kit was effective in 57 percent of the children who tried it, while the pediculicides worked only 13 percent of the time.The researchers did not test whether people got the same results as the Bug Buster Kit when simply using a fine-toothed comb on wet hair. There is evidence that wet combing as a treatment is only as good as the fine-tooth comb used. Consequently, wet combs might work, but perhaps not as well as the kit.
British Medical Journal,
August 2005
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