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Head Lice to Dead Lice Gets Rave Reviews!!
"Sawyer Mac has hit all the right notes here, using several clever production techniques,
including high quality animation...This tape would be valuable in all public libraries and pediatricians' offices."
"In what may possibly be the greatest head lice movie ever made...
Head Lice to Dead Lice is a funny, but delicately handled, look at a potentially embarrassing but common health problem. Highly recommended."
Children's Video Review Newsletter:
"An unceasingly spreading public health problem is given close examination,
explanation, and therapeutic recommendation in a manner which children and adults will appreciate
for its knowledgeable treatment and witty presentation..."
What Every Parent and Health Professional Should Know About Head Lice!
Can't get rid of head lice? It's not your fault! These pesky critters are now affecting
12 million Americans a year (some industry estimates put the figure close to 20 million),
And according to media reports from across the country the epidemic appears to be growing.
Sales of pediculicidal products are up 21% from last year alone.
And where do most people get their information on how to combat a head lice problem?
By and large, from the $200 million dollar a year chemical industry that produces shampoos
containing such pediculicidal ingredients as Lindane, permethrin, and pyrethrin, all pesticides.
"Hot line" customer service representatives, working for these chemical companies
advise consumers that if they do a sufficiently thorough vacuuming, laundering, and scrubbing job
- and diligently use the shampoos - the head lice problem will go away.
Not so. According to an overwhelming amount of anecdotal evidence reported to the
American Head Lice Information Center by health professionals, entomologists, and families,
no amount of obsessive cleaning, nit combing, and shampooing alone will help today's parents
and other caregivers win the battle against head lice.
The reason? Head lice, perhaps inevitably, have developed a resistance to pediculicides.
So what can you do when you've tried the shampoos, cleaned your house obsessively and
nit-picked until the cows come home, and the lice still won't go away?
The solution may be as close as your kitchen cabinet.
Olive oil, a non-toxic substance has been shown to kill active head lice.
Other research indicated that, because olive oil is a straight chain fatty acid,
it appears to have some insecticidal properties of its own.
Joan Sawyer and Roberta MacPhee, founders of Sawyer Mac Productions and producers of the video,
Head Lice to Dead Lice, further tested olive oil's effectiveness by working with families,
area schools, and a professional nit picker, Mary Ward, to refine the timings of the
olive oil treatments to coincide with the life cycle of the louse.
The resulting program, demonstrated in Head Lice to Dead Lice, outlines a
Five-Step Battle Plan that includes a complete, easy-to-understand explanation of the problem,
insights into the life cycle of the louse, and the correct way to apply and time the
olive oil treatments.
The video is available to health professionals and consumers through the
American Head Lice Information Center as well as through several major educational
and medical supply catalogue distributors.
Know Your Enemy
What is Pediculosis?
Pediculosis or head lice are tiny bugs about the size of a sesame seed or smaller.
They are wingless, have six legs, and live only on the human scalp.
Head lice can range in color from light brown to gray.
While annoying, head lice are not life-threatening.
How do you get head lice?
Since head lice do not hop, jump, or fly, they migrate through direct contact
with an infested person or their belongings.
Poor personal hygiene does not cause infestation and pets do not transmit head lice.
What are the symptoms of head lice?
The most common symptom of an infestation is persistent itching,
particularly around the ears, back of the neck and crown, but some people never itch at all.
Repeat infestations can cause some individuals to become super-sensitive to bites.
How do you check for head lice?
Diagnosis of head lice is usually made by finding nits (lice eggs).
Use a magnifying glass and check for nits in bright light.
Nits are tiny oval eggs firmly attached to the hair shaft at an angle.
Viable nits are usually, but not always, found within a half inch of the scalp.
How do you treat for head lice?
Getting rid of head lice is a 3-step process.
You must kill all the live lice, check for and remove all the nits,
and clean the home environment.
How do you get rid of live lice?
Most people first try an over-the-counter pediculicidal product
available at drugstores and pharmacies.
All of these products contain insecticides and must be used with caution.
Check with your doctor or pharmacist for the one most appropriate
for your family and follow the directions on the package exactly.
People should be aware that according to entomologists,
any insect over time can develop resistance to pesticides.
Therefore, it is not suprising that consumers, health professionals, and the media
are reporting a rise in drug-resistant head lice.
What is Lindane?
Lindane is a neurotoxic, possibly carcinogenic pesticide.
Consumer Union petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to outlaw this pesticide
as a lice treatment over 16 years ago.
Sold as a prescription medication called Kwell, there have been reports of seizures
and even death from improper use of Lindane.
Can you use olive oil as a treatment for head lice?
Yes. Recent lab experiments by entomologists at the Harvard School of Public Health
show that olive oil smothers and kills active head lice.
Olive oil can be used alone or as a supplement to pediculicidal products.
However, to be effective, olive oil must be correctly applied and the treatments
correctly timed to disrupt the life cycle of the louse.
You must also continue to check for nits frequently over the
three-week life cycle of the louse.
How should you clean the home environment?
Clean the home environment by drying clothing and bed linens in a hot dryer for 20 minutes.
Any items that can't be dried should be vacuumed carefully, including all stuffed animals.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend the use of
Once you have cleaned your home, concentrate on heads.
Head lice can not live away from a human scalp for more than 36 hours.
When is it safe to send my child back to school?
Most schools have a no-nit policy to control head lice outbreaks.
When you have completed one pediculicide treatment, one olive oil treatment,
a thorough nit combing and nit check as demonstrated in Sawyer and MacPhee's video,
(or two olive oil treatments and no pediculicide), and cleaned the home environment,
it should be safe to send your child back to school.
As long as you continue to treat with olive oil on the designated days
(and check for nits) over a three week period, your child should not infest anyone else.
Remember - when treating for head lice - persistence pays off!
Former Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop Praises Head Lice to Dead Lice
Joan Sawyer and Roberta MacPhee, producers of the video Head Lice to Dead Lice,
had the remarkable opportunity to meet one of the true heroes of public health,
Dr. C. Everett Koop, former U.S. Surgeon General, at the
American Medical Association's International Film & Video Festival.
Dr. Koop expressed interest in their video.
After viewing the video, he wrote the two women a warm, enthusiastic letter
which had this to say about Head Lice to Dead Lice:
"This is a beautiful video, and its message is indelibly printed on the mind of its viewer.
You have made a 'lousy' subject socially acceptable with good humour and excellent pedagogy."