One way to treat lice without pesticides

Q: Two years ago, my entire family had a severe case of head lice, including my 4-year-old daughter, 6- and 10-year-old sons and my wife. (I was spared.)

We settled on the Cetaphil method. It worked 100 percent. We didn't even need to clean the sheets, vacuum the house or wash the slipcovers.

Two years later, all three children caught lice again. Once again, the Cetaphil method worked perfectly. I convinced two friends to try the Cetaphil method, and they had 100 percent success.

I have no issues with chemicals. We were just desperate, and our pediatrician recommended this method. I urge anyone with a family lice problem to use it!

A. To treat lice, Cetaphil skin cleanser is applied liberally to the hair and scalp. Use a blow-dryer after application. (It will form a hard shell on the hair.) Leave the hardened Cetaphil on the hair overnight and shampoo it out the next morning. All the lice should be dead (Pediatrics, September 2004). The procedure can be repeated a week later, if needed.

In addition to avoiding toxic chemicals, this "shrink-wrap" method that suffocates the lice eliminates the need to comb out the nits by hand, a tedious procedure for both parents and children. Thanks for your testimonial.

Q: I had horrible memory problems, shortness of breath and fatigue while on statins (cholesterol-lowering medications). My doctor finally agreed enough was enough. He said try modifying your diet: Give up either fat or carbohydrates. I chose the carbs.

My cholesterol dropped to an acceptable level. I also lost weight, and my joint pain went away. The diet is hard, but it is really worth the effort!

A. Statin drugs such as simvastatin or atorvastatin lower cholesterol, but many people experience debilitating side effects. The low-carb approach to cholesterol control has been shown effective (Nutrition online, June 5, 2012; Annals of Internal Medicine, Aug. 3, 2010).

Q: My grandson, 7, has had molluscum contagiosum for nine months, and it has spread. Are there any effective home remedies? His sister now has three spots.

A: Molluscum contagiosum, as the name suggests, can be transmitted from one child to another. It's a bumpy rash, caused by a virus in the pox family, and it's usually spread by direct contact or contact with clothing or toys. It's painless, and it usually goes away by itself after a while.

Another mother shared this home remedy: "My 2-year-old developed the common molluscum contagiosum rash. Most doctors agree it must just run its course.

"I used about 2 ounces of an Aquaphor-type ointment and mixed in 20 drops of lavender oil and 10 drops of thyme oil. (Never put undiluted thyme oil on the skin.) I smeared this on the rash every day and covered it (with a bandage) so it didn't get everywhere. The rash started clearing up within about a week, which is what I would consider a rapid response to such a natural remedy. I hope this helps someone!"

Another remedy has been tested by doctors in Idaho. They found that a combination of tea tree oil and iodine (ZymaDerm) was much more effective than either treatment alone in clearing molluscum rashes within a month (Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, March 2012).

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Send questions to them via

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