PHARMACY OF PEOPLES: dermatologists and pediatricians disagree on lice remedies

Q. My pediatrician confirmed my suspicions that my daughter had lice. Needless to say, I was upset. Soon she will go to the camp, and she did not want her to suffer the humiliation of being diagnosed there or of spreading the lice to other children.

The pediatrician warned me that lice have developed resistance to chemicals in lice shampoos. Instead, she recommended spreading mayonnaise on my daughter's hair.

We tried this technique and covered his head with a shower cap for a few hours. Then, I carefully combed her hair, rinsed and washed with shampoo. Three separate treatments a few days solved the problem!

A. There are a lot of home remedies for lice. Many involve the choking approach, with things like mayonnaise, olive oil, mineral oil, petroleum jelly, Cetaphil cleaner, amber Listerine and dimethicones (Deutsches Arzteblatt International, online, November 11, 2016) .

But an article in Pediatric Dermatology (September 2016) states that "home remedies, such as mayonnaise and essential oils, have not proven to be safe and effective, and can lead to serious adverse effects." On the other hand, an article in the PLOS One magazine (online, June 10, 2016) reported that a mineral oil shampoo was highly effective. Public health nurses always remind us that combing nits (lice eggs) is essential for a successful cure.

Q. I am a doctor, but traditional medicine has disappointed me. Knee surgery has not helped my knee pain. They also do not have stem cell injections. I have tried oral supplements without much success. Any suggestions?

A. Have you considered a topical NSAID as the diclofenac gel? It should be less likely to cause systemic side effects than oral medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen.

Although you have not had success with supplements, have you tried turmeric (curcumin), ashwagandha, boswellia, ginger, MSM, SAM, cherry juice or pineapple (bromelain)? We recognize that you will want some scientific support for such alternative approaches. You will find it and more details in our Electronic Arthritis Alternatives Guide on our website.

Q. Some years ago I read an article that said that the daily use of aspirin should not be stopped suddenly. The authors of this investigation warned that people had strokes when they stopped taking aspirin two weeks before surgery. I'm worried that blood clots will form if people stop taking long-term aspirin too quickly. Have you heard about this?

A. There is a surprising controversy surrounding the question of suspending aspirin. Some doctors recommend stopping aspirin three days before surgery. Others tell patients to suspend it five to 10 days before any surgical procedure. Many patients stop taking aspirin on their own without even consulting the surgeon or anesthesiologist. We discourage that approach. It is important to get a clear recommendation from the people who will perform the surgery!

A Swedish study involving more than 600,000 patients concluded that "In long-term users, the suspension of aspirin at low doses in the absence of major surgery or bleeding was associated with a greater than 30 percent increase in risk of events Cardiovascular Diseases "(Circulation, September 26, 2017). The authors speculate that a rebound effect may occur after the interruption of aspirin. In other words, there may be an increased risk of blood clots after stopping aspirin. If it exists, and how long it can last, it is uncertain and remains controversial.

Write Joe and Teresa Graedon at

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