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BBB Tip of the Week: Head lice

Sun., Sept. 23, 2012, midnight

 Last week I told you that the Federal Trade Commission recently filed deceptive advertising charges against a marketer of bed bug and head lice treatments. Back-to-school season does bring, unfortunately, some hordes of pests. Back in 1998, the FTC put out a press release stating that 6 million to 10 million children a year deal with head lice infestations.

 The FTC wanted companies to disclose, in their print ads and promotional materials, that “reapplication (of lice remedies) and egg removal are required to ensure complete effectiveness.”

 The Centers for Disease Control website says “retreatment of head lice usually is recommended because no approved pediculicide is completely ovicidal.” (I think this means it doesn’t kill all the eggs. If a company claims that their product does completely eliminate lice and lice eggs in a single application, be skeptical.)  Further tips include:

• Launder on high heat. Lice and eggs are killed by exposure for five minutes to temperatures greater than 128.3°F.

• Hats, combs and towels that come in contact with the hair of an person with lice shouldn’t be shared.

• Vacuuming furniture and floors can remove an infested person’s hairs that might have viable nits attached.

• Avoid head-to-head (hair-to-hair) contact during play and other activities at home, school and elsewhere.

• Disinfest combs and brushes used by a person with lice by soaking them in hot water (at least 130°F) for 5-10 minutes.

• Vacuum the floor and furniture.

• Do not use fumigant sprays or fogs; they can be toxic if inhaled or absorbed through the skin.

More tips or to report scams: Visit the BBB website at Call (509)455-4200 or (800) 356-1007.

Holly Doering, BBB editor

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