Comb and hair conditioner effective in treating head lice

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY

August 08, 1999|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon,Special to the Sun

Q. I am a medical student in London, now visiting the States on holiday. I read your column about head lice and want to suggest a possible solution.

In between leaving secondary school and starting medical school, I worked for a year in a boys' boarding school in England. We had many "lice attacks" and found that the most effective way to eliminate them was to use a very fine lice comb with plenty of hair conditioner. Put the conditioner in the hair and then pull the comb through the hair, carefully cleaning it after each stroke. Repeat until the comb is clear.

This kept the problem at bay in 150 boys and numerous staff! It may help your readers.

A. Thank you for the recommendation. This approach to lice eradication is old-fashioned and time-consuming, but it is effective. The comb removes nits (lice eggs) that would hatch into lice. A good comb can make this job easier. The National Pediculosis Association (888-542-3634, www.headlice.org) sells one called the LiceMeister.

Using conditioner to make the combing easier is an idea we had not considered. Some people may wish to use Nix Creme Rinse to kill lice simultaneously. An alternate approach might be HairClean 1-2-3, a shampoo containing coconut oil, anise oil and ylang-ylang oil. It is available from Quantum Inc., P.O. Box 2791, Eugene, Ore. 97402; 800-448-1448.

Q. I understand you have written about White Coat Syndrome, and I'm very interested. I believe I suffer from it.

I take Cardizem to control my blood pressure. At home, it runs about 130/55 with a pulse of 45 to 50, and I feel fine. At the doctor's office, it runs very high, and he keeps saying I should be on more medicine. I'm not convinced I like that idea.

A. You may be experiencing "white coat hypertension." Some people with normal blood pressure at home develop high readings in the doctor's office. In some cases, blood pressure measurements may be 30 points higher. A few individuals are so reactive that their numbers may jump 75mm above baseline when the nurse or doctor takes their pressure.

Treatment of white coat hypertension remains controversial. Many physicians now believe that aggressive drug therapy for blood pressure that is high only in the doctor's office may lead to excessive costs and possible side effects.

King Features Syndicate

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