Is your toddler or child constantly scratching their head? Do you suspect a case of lice? Worse still, do you find yourself joining the scratching party ? Is a severely toxic chemical anti lice product your only option?
Lice infestation - a chronic reality for parents of young children:
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that every year 6 million to 12 million children in the age group 3 – 11 years in the U.S.A get an attack of head lice. We unforutunately do not have similar estimates for India, but teh rpoblem is probbably as big, if not bigger in a tropical and humid country like India.
Head lice are wingless, blood-sucking parasitic insects that can only live on the human scalp. They lay their eggs on the human hair shaft, which hatch in about nine days. Lice can live for about a month and the female louse can lay about 10 eggs per day. So it is very easy for the lice infestation to spread really fast on a person’s scalp. They spread fast and cause severe itching and irritation on the scalp. If left untreated for a long time, chronic lice infestations can cause Iron deficiency anemia due to the constant blood sucking.
Lice also cause secondary trouble by harboring several microbes that can cause other infections to the host human. For example the typhus bacterium Rickettsia prowazekii can spread through the head louse to the hosts. Typhus , which spread through lice, was a global scourge even till the early part of the 20th Century. In 1812, Napoleon’s army of half a million men was reduced to a mere 35,000 men due to a Typhus outbreak. Typhus, courtesy of lice, killed millions of people in eastern Europe around the time of the first world war. Vladimir Lenin famously complained that “either socialism will defeat the louse or the louse will defeat socialism” .
The problem with current chemical lice treatments
The immediate treatment when you first discover the dreaded lice itch is to physically remove the lice with the eponymous comb. This provides temporary relief and does not carry the risk of spreading the contagion through the comb, since lice cannot survive a few hours away from the human scalp. But these little critters leave several tens of their nits (eggs) attached to the hair shaft, which hatch in the next days to continue the attack on the host’s head. Nits are very difficult to remove with the comb. This necessarily means that apart from the comb, a topical treatment like a lice-oil or shampoo is required to win the battle.
Malathion and Permethrin are two common chemical insecticides used in lice treatment products across the world.
Malathion is a very common organophosphate used as a pesticide in agriculture & in public health programs to kill mosquitoes. It is also now used commonly in head lice products where it works by killing lice and partially killing the nits ( eggs). Malathion is bad news for human health and for the environment. While manufacturers of malathion claim that it is of low toxicity, it is also known that if malathion is absorbed into the human body, it easily metabolizes into Malaoxon which is 61 times more toxic than its parent compound.
Children who ingest malathion may experience headache, dizziness, fatigue , seizures, muscle weakness and even paralysis. Anti-lice products which contain malathion have to be applied & left on the scalp for several hours before wash off. This provides a route for malathion to easily enter the body especially when applied on small children. These products do not provide permanent relief from lice and have to be used repeatedly which aggravates the risk of absorption into the body.
Malathion is now being replaced by another chemical called permethrin in anti-lice products. Permethrin is a broad spectrum insecticide and works by killing live lice. Common side effects of permethrin are itching, swelling and redness, stinging, numbness, tingling & skin rash. Permethrin can be absorbed through the skin and is very toxic if it accidentally comes in contact with the eyes. If permethrin is accidentally inhaled, it causes irritation in the nose and lungs, difficulty in breathing, headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. After using a permethrin based product, we must remember to thoroughly wash our hands to prevent accidental ingestion with our food.
Due to the indiscriminate wide-spread use of malathion & permethrin in lice products, US & Australia have now reported the emergence of “Super lice” and “ Super Nits” that can survive these chemicals. So now we have a dangerous situation where a permethrin based product is ineffective in controlling lice, causes severe side-effects and after prolonged use creates “Super lice”. The phenomenon of Super bugs happens only with chemicals because they are inert and fixed in their pathways. However bugs like lice are alive, smart and are capable of mutating fast to evade the chemical pathways and emerge as new super bugs. This does not happen with plant based solutions as plants are intelligent, live beings capable of adapting to the bugs and helping humans fight them without any side-effects.
The Krya Natural anti lice range of products
The Krya range of natural anti-lice products have been formulated as a safe, completely natural, effective option to chemical based lice products. We use only safe, completely non-toxic, largely edible herbs to formulate our products. For example: there are several “natural” Anti-lice products which use plant based insecticides like the seeds of the Sitaphal ( Annona Squamosa / Custard Apple). Now this seed is a very effective anti-lice product and has no side-effects. However if it accidentally falls on to the eyes, it is very toxic and can even cause blindness. Due to this at Krya, we strongly advise against the use of Sitaphal seeds in Anti-lice products – the risk is just not worth it. We do not use toxic plant based herbs like Sitaphal seeds in our anti lice products.
The Krya natural anti-lice range of products has been formulated as a 3 part hair system with a Natural Anti - lice hair oil, an anti - lice hair mask and an anti lice hair wash. The Krya Anti lice hair oil is the keystone product for reducing lice infestation in this system. When used along with the Anti lice hair mask and Anti Lice hair wash, our consumers report reduction of both nits and lice. In addition the scalp is well nourished with good hair growth as well. All the Krya anti lice products are non toxic and safe for children to touch and handle.
For details of the herbs that go into each indivdual product and how each product should be used, please vsit the individual product pages in the Krya website.