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Ailmemts & Remedies News on Health & Science

Beating those bugs(Lice)

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Lice infestation is universal. Head lice have co-existed with humans for two thousand years. They have been observed in the sarcophagus of well-preserved Egyptian mummies, in tombs that also contained fine-toothed combs to remove head lice. They do not pay heed to social, economic or geographic boundaries. A millionaire’s  offspring as well as the child of a slum dweller can both be seen scratching their heads. Closer inspection may reveal lice scurrying along hair shafts, or white nits (eggs) closely attached to the hair.

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Infestation is a social stigma. The child is perceived as “dirty” and the parents are seen as negligent caretakers. Neither of these statements, however, is necessarily true. Lice can survive submersion, oiling, shampooing and extremities of temperature.

Head Lice or Pediculus capitis (which literally translates to “lice of the head”) have not changed or evolved much. They are still small, brown insects with a tough outer coat and tapering legs adapted to cling tenaciously on hair shafts. They can survive huge climatic variations and lay dormant for up to 10 days. They cannot fly or jump; they move from one human being to another by crawling along the hair as heads move into close contact, or by walking along walls, floors, furniture and bedding. They are also very fastidious and host specific   they can survive only on the scalps of human beings, and not on other animals.

Head lice themselves do not cause disease
. But they cause intense itching which can interfere with sleep, concentration and efficient functioning. The scratching can cause secondary bacterial infection. This, in turn, can lead to painful enlargement of the lymph nodes in the neck.


In traditional societies, people found a way around this problem. Some families regularly went on pilgrimage. Their houses were cleaned and then locked. Unable to obtain a human blood meal, the lice starved to death within 10 days. And at the pilgrimage site, the whole family was tonsured. Thus, no hair meant no lice!

Bug-busting fine-toothed combs are readily available. They are safe and effective. The hair should be well oiled and all the tangles removed before combing. Most of the lice slip off with this treatment. The action has to be repeated every alternate day for two weeks till no lice are seen.

Chemical lice treatments are also available. They contain pyrethroids, permethrin, lindane or malathion. These compounds may be available as lotions or shampoos. The treatment must be repeated after 10 days.

About 17 per cent of lice are resistant to insecticides. Repeated treatment, using higher-than-recommended doses will not work. In fact, they may even be harmful and signs of toxicity may appear.

A combination of insecticide treatment followed by bug-busting combing is very effective.

Lice reproduce efficiently and explosively. Each couple can produce 100 eggs in a lifetime. Each egg hatches after eight days and the little bug develops into an adult in around 10 days. Unless the eradication treatment is repeated every 10 days, new lice will repopulate the hair.

After some time lice may reappear. This may be due to reinfection from another person or repopulation from lice that survived the original treatment.

If lice have gravitated to the eyebrows and lashes, they should be very carefully manually removed. Chemicals should not be applied.

Natural compounds are advertised for lice treatment. Some are neem-based. There may be others that contain organic pesticides in unregulated and dangerous doses. Before applying them, please read the fine print carefully.

Egg white and motor oil do not have any action on lice. On the contrary, they may cause hair loss.

Kerosene kills lice and nits. But it is also a dangerous, highly inflammable compound and therefore should not be used.

“Lice” is actually a generic term that loosely refers to head lice. Insects from the same family, called Pediculus humanus or body lice, can also be found on the body (not the head), in areas where there is overcrowding, homelessness and poor hygiene. These lice cause itching, particularly around the waist, groin and upper thighs. There may be an allergic reaction that aggravates the itching. The skin may eventually become discoloured. Secondary bacterial or fungal infection may occur.

Unlike head lice, body lice can cause typhus and relapsing fever.

Regular bathing, clean clothes and application of lotions or creams containing pyrethroids, permethrin, lindane or malathion will kill the lice.

Crabs or pubic lice (Pythiriasis pubis) are usually spread through sexual contact. They can also spread through infected bedding. These lice cause intense intolerable itching in the genital area. They also respond to the lotions and shampoos containing pyrethroids, permethrin, lindane or malathion.

It is possible to get rid of all types of lice provided the cycle of reinfestation is broken and good personal hygiene maintained.

Source:The Telegraph (Kolkata,India)

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News on Health & Science

Cell Phones Boost Brain Tumor Risk -270 %

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NewsTarget) Using a cell phone regularly   even a modern one   raises the risk of developing a brain tumor for many users, a new Finnish study published online in the International Journal of Cancer. The study, done by a collection of researchers from many universities and led by Anna Lahkola of the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority in Finland, found firm corollary evidence that using a cell phone causes the risk of getting a brain tumor called a glioma to rise by 40 to 270 percent on the side of the head preferred for using the phone.

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What you need to know – Conventional View

The study compared 1,521 cellular phone users who received a glioma to 3,301 control participants without tumors.

For people who have used a modern cellular phone for more than 2000 hours in their lifetime, the risk of getting a brain tumor rose by 270 percent.The study is considered the second that firmly correlates cell phone usage with an increased risk of developing certain brain tumors.

The risk was highest among people under the age of 2
Older-style analog cell phones already have been shown as a source of brain tumors, but even with the development of digital cellular phones, the risk is still there.

According to a scientist associated with the web site foodconsumer.org, the study results should not make readers assume that ten years of cell phone use will correlate to an immediate tumor, but that the tumor will show up later than that.

What you need to know – Alternative View
Mobile phone manufacturers have tried to suppress the dangers of mobile phones by funding their own distorted research that concludes the phones are perfectly safe.

• All people — but children and teens especially — should be warned against using mobile phones due to the increased risk of brain tumors.

Bottom line
Cell phone usage is shown to increase your risk of a brain tumor.

Source:www.herbalhealer.com