LouseBuster uses warm air to cure head lice

May 25, 2010 6:06:51 AM PDT
There's a new alternative for schools and parents to using chemicals to cure head lice. After a decade of research and many clinical trials the government has just given its approval to a unique device. It's like a hair dryer that literally dries the bugs and their eggs to death.

Say the words head lice and parents get a headache. Just ask Raymond Ruiz whose company has been removing nits in the Bay Area for 10 years.

"Finally a solution to the head lice problem," said Ruiz.

Ray is using the LouseBuster on a Livermore girl. The FDA just approved the first-of-its-kind device. It blasts warm air onto dry, untangled hair. Its applicator tip lifts hair to deliver the air straight to the root and kill the lice and eggs that tend to fester there. A biology professor at the University of Utah invented it, while researching birds and feather lice.

"Since we had accidentally discovered lice can't survive under dry conditions we thought we would try drying out head lice on kids to control them," said Dr. Dale Clayton of the University of Utah.

The LouseBuster's air is not as hot as a hairdryer's. You hit one spot for 30 seconds, then move on to the next until you've covered the entire head. Dr. Dale Clayton says one treatment is all it takes.

"It kills 100 percent of the eggs. It's extremely effective on eggs, which is important because other methods don't work on eggs, except for combing all of the eggs out," said Dr. Clayton.

Ray Ruiz says the LouseBuster is also completely non-toxic, unlike many pesticide-based therapies and simpler than hours of combing. But he cautions the louse buster may not be for everyone.

"There's still a place for doing it hands on maybe younger than four, babies," said Ruiz.


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