The best intentions, the most tragic consequences.

My heart goes out to the family in Springfield, Massachusetts whose daughter died earlier this year after trying a head lice home remedy. She was suffocated when the plastic bag that was placed over her mayonnaise drenched scalp slipped over her face.  You can read the details here. Mayonnaise on the scalp is a common home remedy for head lice that has no proven effectiveness and most people who try it then wrap the scalp in plastic to contain the mess. I am certain that this family was just trying to do the right thing and deal with this head lice.  In this family, a boy had head lice as well but they shaved his head instead.  This is common as the girls generally don't want to shave their heads but the boys are usually ok with it.

This was a tragic accident that demonstrates how we can sometimes lose perspective when we panic over head lice.  We can get so worked up about the bugs, which are rarely a health threat, and this can cause us to  take actions that are much more risky than the head lice themselves. Like putting a plastic bag over a child's head. Like the woman I met who slept in her car in the middle of winter thinking that the cold would kill the bugs when it could also have killed her.  Or the families I have met that have tried to treat their lice with their dog's flea treatment. Or Raid.  Or kerosene. Or gasoline. 

It is obviously that this family loved their little girl and they were trying to take care of her.  Many people turn to home remedies because they cannot afford the expensive lice "treatments", especially since these treatments require repeated use.   However, you don't need expensive products - head lice can be treated very inexpensively with tools that you can use again and again.   Lice combing on wet, conditioned hair is effective and safe.  You can get a good lice comb for the same price as any homemade concoction. If you are dealing with head lice, take the time to read the info in this blog and then proceed with good sense and perspective.  Take care in what you do - remember that there are things much worse than having head lice.