Q. I have battled head lice with my daughter for more than three years. She keeps getting them over and over. None of the medicines that I have used are working. Please help!
A. We have heard from many parents that head lice have become resistant to some OTC drugstore treatments. With summer camp approaching and increased exposure, children will be more vulnerable than usual.
Although home remedies are rarely tested in a scientific manner, many desperate parents have reported success suffocating the lice with mayonnaise or Cetaphil cleanser. One mother wrote: “I coated my daughters’ hair with lots of mayo, wrapped the hair in plastic wrap and put shower caps on them. In an hour, I took the hair down, washed it with dish soap (great to get rid of the oil), combed out the bugs and repeated these steps until the hair was clean. No more lice!”
A father reported: “We settled on the Cetaphil method. It worked 100 percent. We didn’t even need to clean the sheets, vacuum the house or wash the slipcovers.” The hair is drenched with the cleanser, then dried with a blow-dryer. This is left on overnight and washed out in the morning.
Another approach uses old-fashioned amber Listerine mouthwash: “I got lice while working at a summer camp. I have super-long, thick, curly hair. I put Listerine on my hair for two hours, then washed it out and used coconut conditioner. The dead lice were falling off my head. It was disgusting, but I’m so glad they are gone.”
Any home remedy used for lice will need to be repeated within a week, since these approaches do not kill the eggs. It is important to destroy the lice that hatch out before they, too, can start to lay eggs.
To reduce the chance of your child catching lice at camp, make sure she knows not to share hats, pillows or brushes with other children. In your home, bedding should be washed and dried at high heat. Stuffed animals need to be sequestered in a plastic bag for a week so that they can’t serve as a reservoir for re-infestation.
Gelatin for split fingernails
Q. I had weak fingernails that split easily for years. Then I started taking one package of Knox plain gelatin daily. I usually mix it into my oatmeal. When I faithfully ingest an envelope of gelatin daily, I have extremely strong nails that never chip. If I stop, my nails begin to split again. Within two or three weeks of resuming the gelatin, my nails are once again almost indestructible. This remedy also works for my husband.
A. The best study we could find on gelatin was published many decades ago in the AMA Archives of Dermatology (September 1957). The researchers reported that “forty-three of fifty patients with brittle nails who ingested gelatin daily for three months showed improvement in their nail structure.” Like you, many of those who stopped taking gelatin developed brittle nails again after a few months.
People with nail fungus do not benefit from gelatin.
Joe and Teresa Graedon: www.peoplespharmacy.com