Head lice are becoming more and more resistant to the most popular lice-treatment products in the United States, especially those that contain permethrin.
As a result, these "super lice" are becoming more difficult to kill, increasing frustration and anxiety among parents.
Enter the hot air lice killer
The AirAllé device, which is an FDA-cleared medical device, is now used in 85 Lice Clinics of America locations around the United States to treat thousands of lice infestations each month.
The device forces air at just the right temperature across the scalp, dehydrating the lice and their eggs using heated air rather than toxic chemicals, effectively killing the cycle of eggs and nits.Read: Diagnosing head lice
Clinical studies of the AirAllé device showed it killed 99.2 percent of lice eggs, which was important because many lice-treatment products don't kill eggs and require multiple treatments and extensive combing to remove the eggs.
In comparison, other clinical studies in the past six years have shown that permethrin-based treatment products, which lice have evolved resistance to, are less than 50 percent effective even after two treatments and 14 days.
Dr Dale Clayton, an evolutionary parasitologist who invented the AirAllé device, said, "There's no evidence that lice can evolve resistance to desiccation through heated air."
Watch: How the AirAlle treatment works
Read: Treating head lice
With 85 U.S. clinics and 105 international clinics, the treatment is available in South Africa through nitpickers.co.za
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PubMed NCBI (2014). Knockdown Resistance Allele Frequencies in North American Head Louse (Anoplura: Pediculidae) Populations. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4007213/