After a Bajillion-Year-Long Battle to the Scalp, Science May Have Bested Head Lice

I remember a day in third grade when the school nurse lined us up and methodically combed through our hair with a thin stick looking for head lice. It felt awesome and finally gave me an insight as to why cats get so zonked out when you scratch their heads. I also remember the day that she combed through my hair and found a louse. That felt less awesome and finally gave me an insight as to what it feels like to be a Dickensian orphan.

Head lice has plagued humanity for as long as people have had heads of hair for lice to nest in, and cures have been slow coming. Permethrin, the most common treatment, only works approximately 50% of the time and other treatments have been known to cause seizures. As of now, the National Health Institute recommends treating lice by picking it out with a fine-toothed comb as if we were a bunch of common monkeys.

It looks, however, that there may be some relief on the horizon. Yesterday, the New England Journal of Medicine reported on ivermectin, an "an FDA-approved, one-time, 10-minute, DIY hair-wash" that has worked on 95% of the patients it's been applied on. Way to go, people. It looks like we've finally won the war on lice. (JK, bugs are everywhere and are constantly adapting. Sorrrrrrrry!)

[The New England Journal of Medicine]

[The Atlantic]

Image via Kucharski/Shutterstock.