One-Year-Old Massachusetts Girl Found Dead After Home Head Lice Treatment

Our hearts are broken after learning of this story out of Springfield, Massachusetts. As reported by MassLive, a one-year-old girl was found dead this past February after a plastic grocery bag slipped over her head and suffocated her. The bag was being used as part of a home remedy for treating head lice.

Both the young girl and her older brother contracted head lice at the same time. Their parents decided to shave the boy’s head, but to treat their baby girl, they covered her scalp in mayonnaise and then covered it with a plastic grocery store bag. The girl was then left alone, where the plastic bag later slipped down over her face.

This is an absolute tragedy, but it is also a story that could have easily been avoided.

While there are many home remedies floating around the internet, the only sure way to treat head lice and prevent them from returning is to remove them and their nits (lice eggs) with a comb, one by one. Using mayonnaise, as the Massachusetts family attempted, is listed on many websites as a cheap lice treatment. It is important to note, however, that using mayonnaise to treat lice is little more than an old wise tale. The Centers for Disease Control does not have “clear scientific evidence” on whether it is effective, and the Mayo Clinic goes so far as to say, “there is little to no clinical evidence of the effectiveness of such treatments.”

Even over-the-counter (OTC) products aren’t as effective as combing treatments, as many chemicals do not target the nits. Since lice lay eggs before these treatments can kill them, patients often think they are lice-free until weeks later, when the eggs hatch and their heads start itching all over again.

Remove-A-Lice is Alabama’s only lice removal clinic certified in the Shepherd Method — a safe, natural, and eco-friendly way to get rid of head lice. Instead of using harsh and toxic chemicals, our certified professionals comb through patients’ hair, strand by strand, removing all the lice and their nits. We are located in the Birmingham, Alabama metro area and service Hoover, Gardendale, Trussville, Gadsden, Tuscaloosa, and other area cities.

While we understand it can be tempting to go straight to the drug store for a bottled treatment (or to try using what you already have at home), we hope this story will help raise awareness that these treatments are often not as effective, and that they can also be downright dangerous.

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