10 timely tips to prevent head lice infestations

Peak season looms for death-defying "super lice" to invade Canadian scalps

MONTREAL, June 25, 2014 /CNW/ - A new breed of "super lice" that has built up resistance to insecticide-based treatments for head lice, now infests scalps of almost all Quebeckers infected with head lice. As children aged five to 17 years1 have the highest rate of infestation, which peaks during summer and fall, preventive measures are urgently sought.

A recently published study of head lice in Quebec and other regions of North America reports hard-to-kill "super lice" account for 97% of head lice cases in Canada2. One in every 20 Quebec households with children had at least one head lice infestation in the past 12 months and one in every five (19%) infested children were aged four years or younger3.

Rinda Hartner, a former school nurse of Montreal, said: "Head lice are most often transmitted by children through head-to-head contact, which happens frequently at summer camp and at school. When they come home with head lice, everyone in the household is at risk of getting head lice.

"Head lice infestations can be prevented.  But, if they are contracted, head lice, including 'super lice', larvae and eggs, can be safely and easily killed."

Mme Hartner offers these 10 tips for preventing head lice infestations:

#1. Explain to children before they go to camp or back to school that, in group settings, they are at risk of getting head lice through head-to-head (hair-to-hair) contact, which should be avoided.

#2. Check for head lice on a weekly basis by fine-combing children's hair, with a special ergonomic, fine-toothed, metal lice comb.

#3. To look for head lice, it is preferable to wet the hair and use a conditioner to reduce the lice movement.4  It is important to part hair all the way down to the scalp in small sections and examine the scalp and hair for moving lice and eggs5.

#4. When checking for head lice, look closely in bright light, such as sunlight, under a lamp or flashlight, as head lice can be hard to see. A magnifying glass can be helpful.

#5. When checking for head lice, make sure your hair does not come in contact with the hair or scalp you are examining.

#6. Do not use combs, brushes or towels of other children or household members.

#7. Do not share clothing such as hats, hair ribbons, bandanas, barrettes, or scarves.

#8. Do not lie on pillows, blankets, beds or couches that a person with head lice has recently used.

#9. Wash clothing, bed linen and towels used by a person with head lice at a high temperature setting of at least 50°C.

#10.  When head lice are identified on one household member, check the hair of all other members. Treat everyone with lice on the same day.

If there is an infestation, said Mme Hartner, head lice, including "super lice", their larvae and eggs are safely and easily killed with the non-insecticidal treatment, like the dimeticone solution NYDA, which has proven efficacy of 97.2% in clinical trials.

 "NYDA kills head lice by suffocation," she explained. "First, it enters and fills the breathing system of the lice. Then it seals the breathing system, suffocating and killing the lice.  No living creature can build up resistance to death by suffocation."

Mme Hartner said that to successfully exterminate head lice, "It is essential to apply the full treatment of two applications of the pharmaceutical product. The first application of the NYDA is to kill all the eggs, larvae and lice. It is important to combine the use of an ergonomic fine-toothed NYDA metal comb to remove all the dead lice, larvae and eggs from the hair and scalp. The second treatment of NYDA is eight to 10 days later, combined again with the fine-combing."

NYDA is reimbursed by most provincial, federal and private health plans.

NYDA is a dimeticone solution. Dimeticones are not absorbed through the skin and are widely and safely used in infant medicines, cosmetics, shampoos and hair sprays. Most head lice treatments sold in Canada contain insecticide that does not kill all the eggs, leaving them to hatch, causing recurring infestations6, and to build up resistance to further insecticide-based treatment.

The presence of head lice does not indicate poor hygiene. In fact, head lice often prefer clean hair and scalps. Head lice infestations occur in all socio-economic groups and cultures throughout the world7.

Many parents and children are embarrassed by head lice infestations in their families. NYDA is applied in the home, providing privacy, time and cost savings, and, when more than one family member must be treated, convenience.

About Head Lice:
Head lice are insect parasites that infest the hair and scalp of human hosts, feeding off the host's blood by biting the scalp. Head lice are not known to transmit any disease and therefore are not considered a health hazard8. Most transmission of head lice occurs at school with infestation rates greater among girls and in urban settings rather than rural areas9. Head lice that fall off the head are unlikely to survive more than 24 hours10.

Adult female head lice lay six to eight new eggs each day for 20 to 30 days then die.  Eggs mature within six or seven days into nymphs (larvae), which then mature into adults and repeat the reproductive cycle.

About NYDA:
NYDA is approved by Health Canada for adults and children aged two years and older.  It is available without a prescription, at drug-store pharmacy counters across Canada.

NYDA Contraindications: NYDA must not be used in people with known allergies (hypersensitivity) to any of its ingredients.  NYDA should not be used in pregnant or breast-feeding women or in children under the age of two years, owing to lack of experience with NYDA in these patient groups11.

About Pediapharm Inc.:
Pediapharm Inc., headquartered in Montreal, is Canada's only innovative pediatric specialty pharmaceutical company.  Partnering with health-care organizations around the world, Pediapharm brings innovative new or existing over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription (Rx) treatments to the Canadian market to help improve the health and quality of life of Canadian children. For more information on NYDA, visit www.nyda.ca

1 Harris/Decima Televox National Telephone Omnibus. HealthComm – Head Lice. February 8, 2012
2 Kyong Sup Yoon,1 Domenic J. Previte,2 Hilliary E. Hodgdon,1 Bryan C. Poole,3; Deok Ho Kwon,4 Gamal E. Abo el-Ghar,5 Si Hyeock Lee,4 and J. Marshall Clark 1,2,6 : Knockdown Resistance Allele Frequencies in North American Head Louse (Anoplura: Pediculidae) Populations. J. Med. Entomol. 51(2): 450‹457 (2014); DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/ME13139
3 Harris/Decima Televox National Telephone Omnibus. HealthComm – Head Lice. February 8, 2012
4 MSSS (2012) Lignes directrices pour le contrÔle de la pédiculose du cuir chevelu dans les écoles et les services de garde éducatifs à l'enfance
5 MedlinePlus. U.S. National Library of Medicine. NIH National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000840.htm
6 Marcoux D, Palma KG, Kaul N, Hodgdon H, Van Geest A, Previte DJ, Abou-Elghar GE, Yoon KS, Clark JM: Pyrethroid Pediculicide Resistance of Head Lice in Canada Evaluated by Serial Invasive Signal Amplification Reaction. Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, Vol14, No 3 (May/June), 2010: pp 115-118
7 Norman G. Gratz: Human Lice: Their Prevalence, Control and Resistance to Pesticides. A Review 1985-1997. World Health Organization. Division of Control of Tropical Diseases
8 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA. http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/disease.html
9 Norman G. Gratz: Human Lice: Their Prevalence, Control and Resistance to Insecticides. A Review 1985-1997. World Health Organization. Division of Control of Tropical Diseases. WHO Pesticide Evaluation Scheme (WHOPES)
10 National Health Service. NHS Choices. Your health, your choices. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Head-lice/Pages/Introduction.aspx
11 Product Monograph. NYDA. Dimeticone 100 St. Solution, 50% w/w. Pediculicide. G. Pohl-Boskamp GmbH & Co. KG, Hohenlockstedt, Germany. Date of Preparation: September 7, 2011

SOURCE: Pediapharm Inc.

For further information: Patricia Archambault, HealthComm - (514) 710-1044

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