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In a small study reported in Formata-Regular, a hot-air blower called the LouseBuster safely and easily killed lice and eggs on children's heads in about 30 minutes.
The LouseBuster sends a stream of warm air to the scalp through a long flexible hose. The air is slightly cooler than that delivered by a conventional blow-dryer for hair. (Researchers believe that the treatment kills lice and eggs by drying them out, not by overheating them.) A rake on the end of the hose lifts hair during blowing.
In the study, the LouseBuster killed about 80% of lice and all the eggs in children's hair after 30 minutes of treatment. "Virtually all" of the patients were louse-free when examined a week later, and the treatment caused no adverse reactions.
The new treatment is promising because lice have developed resistance to many insecticide shampoos. But researchers warn parents not to try the technique with a standard blow-dryer, which could burn a child's scalp.
Goates BM, et al., An effective nonchemical treatment for head lice: A lot of hot air, Pediatrics, November 2006.
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