What if measles were lice?

iStock_000010310899Small

Anti-vaccine parents are rather unimaginative.

It requires imagination to recognize that just because you haven’t seen a vaccine preventable illness, that illness still exists. It requires imagination to recognize that just because you’ve never seen anyone die of a vaccine preventable illness, that doesn’t mean they aren’t deadly.

I thought we might help out anti-vaccine parents by offering a thought experiment:

What if measles were head lice?

Every parent, except those of the very youngest children, is familiar with the scourge of head lice. Most of us have had the experience of a child who comes home from school or camp with an infestation. Though I’ve met many parents who dismiss the risks of measles, I haven’t yet met anyone who thinks an ongoing infestation of head lice is just fine.

Why is that?

  • It can’t be because head lice are more dangerous than measles. Head lice aren’t dangerous at all, while measles sickens and kills.
  • It can’t be because head lice are more contagious than measles. The transmission of head lice requires very close personal contact, while measles is transmitted through the air.
  • It can’t be because head lice have more complications than measles. Head lice don’t have complications, while measles can lead to brain damage.
  • It can’t be because head lice are more natural than measles. Both have been with us from time immemorial.
  • It can’t be because the treatment for head lice is more natural than measles vaccine. Effective treatment for head lice usually involves harsh chemicals, while vaccination involves working in harmony with the body’s immune system.

There’s nothing wrong, unnatural or dangerous about head lice.

So, anti-vaccine parents, how would you feel if other parents made the following claims?

  • I refuse to treat my child’s head lice because I don’t want to expose them to harsh chemicals.
  • I refuse to treat my child’s head lice because head lice are natural.
  • I refuse to treat my child’s head lice because I am philosophically opposed to killing lice.
  • I refuse to treat my child’s head lice because ex-Playboy Playmate Jenny McCarthy told me that treating head lice causes autism.
  • I refuse to treat my child’s head lice because I had lice when I was a kid and it didn’t hurt me.
  • I refuse to treat my child’s head lice because I’m not concerned about whether all the other children around him or her get head lice, too.
  • I refuse to treat my child’s head lice because freedom means that I am free to let my child pass head lice to all the other children he meets.

Anti-vax parents, would that be okay with you?

Would you be willing to let your own children (and probably yourself) get head lice repeatedly because other parents refused to treat their own children for head lice? Would you cheerfully pick the nits out of their hair, wash and dry their bedding, clothes, stuffed animals, etc. each time they got head lice? Would you cheerfully pick the nits out of your own hair repeatedly, since infestations would be very common, and you couldn’t avoid them? Or would you just accept the itching and the live lice crawling through your hair since they are natural?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that you would be very, very upset if other children kept infecting your children with lice. I doubt you’d be setting up websites to advocate for the freedom to ignore lice, or creating message boards to support parents who have philosophical objections to treating lice.

What’s the big difference between measles and head lice?

Most anti-vax parents have never seen a case of measles, but nearly all have seen head lice. It’s just a matter of personal experience.

But you know what? Measles, like head lice, exists whether you’ve personally experienced a case or not.

And if you wouldn’t abide another parent sending her child to school with head lice and passing it on to your child, why should anyone else abide your decision to send your child to school unvaccinated, and therefore capable of transmitting measles?

They shouldn’t, should they?

  • Jim

    Does it matter what my reason behind my choice to not vaccinate myself or my children is (or is not)? Does it really matter?

    There will always be a special circumstance or perfect situation which can be used to justify why my reason for not vaccinating is wrong. While my reason is not right for you, it’s right for me. It’s my choice. I made my choice after careful considerations and much thought and research; In part, that’s why I’ve read this article and many of the comments on this page. But that’s not good enough, now is it?

    You cannot understand my reasoning. No matter what that reasoning might be. The reason for vaccination is so clear to you that if I’m not onboard with it, then something must be wrong with me. That’s where pro-vaccination arguments lead; If I’m not on the vaccination train, label me unfit and force me to bend to your will. We can’t have someone walking around infecting others, now can we? If not that, we are mentally unfit to make this choice because our choice to not vaccinate is so obviously harmful to us and those around us that no sane person would make such a choice, so goes the logic.

    My reason doesn’t matter.

    My choice doesn’t matter.

    I’m against vaccination. No reason other than that is needed. Will you sacrifice my liberty for your perceived safety and force me to comply?

    • demodocus

      *force* you, no. Mock you, maybe. Hope you’re no where near my newborn or my sister on chemo with some disease you won’t realize you caught until tomorrow when you’re contagious today, definitely.

    • LeighW

      Clearly you’ve never met anyone who’s lived or worked in a polio ward.

    • Azuran

      Anti vaxxer’s reasons for not vaccinating are not ‘good enough’ because they are based on false science, made up evidence and fear mongering. Vaccination is the most effective and safest of all medical advances.
      No one is his saying we should strap you down and give you or your children a vaccine. But we don’t have to respect your decision, unless you have a real medical condition, then your reasons are not valid, they are made up by the anti-vaccine movement.

      Not vaccinating you kids without any real medical reason is the same as deciding that you won’t put your children in a car seat. Or giving honey to your newborn. It’s dangerous without any valid reason.

    • Charybdis

      Force you, no. But you will have to live with the consequences of your decision, which you will then bitch to high heaven about. If you can’t enroll your child in school because you didn’t have them vaccinated (because you “don’t believe” in them, not because they have a genuine, documented medical exemption), you will then attempt to cry “FOUL” and claim your rights are being trampled upon. Friends and/or family won’t let you visit their new baby/elderly relative/compromised person because they don’t want to risk their family member getting sick? You will then again cry “FOUL” and then act like you are being oppressed. Not so.

      You have every right to choose not to vaccinate yourself and/or your kids, but you have to be willing to accept/tolerate the consequences of that action. Most of the anti-vax brigade is not willing to bear the burdens of their choices. Being denied enrollment in school, camp,etc or not being allowed to visit folks in the hospital/hospice/newborn by people who DO vaccinate is just another reason for you to whine, bitch and claim you are being discriminated against.

      You are free to not vaccinate. But you then have to deal with the repercussions of that decision like an adult. Cough hard, drop a pair and accept the consequences of your decision like an adult person.

    • guest

      Your choice to harm other people does matter. It’s a choice society has the right to restrict you from making. You are not permitted by law to shoot someone simply because you don’t like them. You’re not allowed to steal property from another person’s home. Now, vaccinations, we ALLOW that choice. But we don’t have to like it – and we won’t, because you risk the health and lives of others when you choose not to vaccinate.

      But don’t act like we don’t support choice. I’ve never seen anyone here state that they think vaccinations should be mandatory.

    • Gene

      I saw a febrile unvaccinated child in my ED recently. Because the child was unvaccinated, he was at significantly higher risk of certain infections (h flu, strep pneumo, many others). Because of his age and vaccine status, we treat him differently (more invasive testing, etc) than a child who is protected. The family was FURIOUS that we wanted to perform painful and invasive tests (blood draw, urinary cath) and expose him to radiation (chest X-ray). They kept insisting that we should treat ALL children the same and that we were obviously punishing them and their child for being anti vaccine.

      They completely missed the point that the vaccines PROTECT their child and the risks of performing the procedures (lumbar punctures, etc are not risk free) outweigh the risks of watchful waiting. It’s why febrile babies under 1-2m of age (depending on the studies you refer to) have a full septic work up including LP and hospital admission, those 2-6m (partially vaccinated) get a modified work up, and those who are have received their 2/4/6 month vaccines get lots of watchful waiting.

    • Monica

      You are free to choose what you want, but your freedoms end where mine begin and my children’s begins. If you’re going to use mine and my children’s heard immunity to stay safe and put my children or someone else’s children at risk of getting ill then you better believe I’m going to say no. So please, feel free to not vaccinate your children, but if you’re going to do that, then please don’t bring them out in public. Because you don’t have the right to put my children in harms way simply because of your beliefs. Abide by the laws and don’t whine and cry foul when you’re not allowed somewhere because you haven’t been vaccinated. It’s for your own protection, but more importantly for the protection of the rest of the population. When did we become a society of selfish cry babies where everything is all about me me me?

    • guest

      No one here is “sacrificing” your liberty. You’re an idiot, and you’re free to be an idiot – just not free to endanger the lives of others with your idiocy.

      • Nick Sanders

        I don’t know who you are, but I like you.

  • George O

    Great article. It’s not just a thought experiment though!

    Unfortunate reality: Many parents absolutely refuse to treat their kids with lice using harsh chemicals. They’re nuts. They pay a fortune or spend hours removing ’em by hand.

    I suffered fleas because I have an acquaintance (ex-friend) whose cat has fleas and she refuses to treat the cat with the harsh chemicals needed to keep it flea-free…and invites folks over for parties and doesn’t tell her guests, so they bring the fleas home and infest their pets. Seriously. People are insane.

    • Roadstergal

      Ugh, that’s horrible. The flea/tick preventive stuff works so well, and ticks and fleas are so nasty – how can you put your pet through that?

      • George O

        Thanks, @Roadstergal! It was horrible indeed – I kept getting bitten too, after my then-girlfriend’s dog and house got infested, thanks to that party. Tried to help her eradicate them but she refused to take effective measures, or allow me to, too, so I stopped going over to see her. With the house full of fleas and the dog kept outside, they were feeding on the humans instead — for months on end! Should have realized then that it was a sign of insanity, the extent of which would bite me in the ass later.

        • sdsures

          We just had a flea infestation with our cats. Those flea bombs work great!

  • Roger Birkhead

    Thank you. This is a fantastic thought experiment. Keep up the good work!

  • Michael

    Thanks for a great article.

  • Montserrat Blanco

    On the Spanish equivalent to mothering.com has just appeared a thread asking if it is possible to do something LEGALLY regarding head lice in children. Apparently non vaccinating is fine but sending your children to school with head lice is a reason to call CPS or the police… I could not stop laughing.

    • sdsures

      Seriously?

  • MWguest

    aaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnddd Dr Bob Sears compares measles to ADHD

    https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=846060162099136&id=116317855073374

    • S

      What the hell did i just read??

      Someone needs to work on positive ways of asking for attention.

      • yugaya

        That’s…ugh…do they all turn into sociopaths when cornered?

        “4. Plus, we all know that untreated ADHD is contagious. If you don’t medicate your child, he might transmit ADHD to my child. And that’s just not fair. But what’s even worse is what if MY child then brings home ADHD to my baby – a baby who is too young to even have ADHD meds yet. I don’t want my baby to catch ADHD. So, please, for the love of God, medicate your child. Not to mention immunocompromised kids – ADHD affects them much worse than regular kids. How many millions of
        immunocompromised kids catch ADHD every year? They can’t get meds themselves because of their compromised immune systems.”

        • Young CC Prof

          And “seems to be dying down.” 19 new cases reported last week, many in new states or counties.

        • Tonya

          Because ADHD has killed how many people? I’m positive the numbers are staggering and rival those of VPDs.

        • S

          OMG it’s SATIRE don’t you know?!!! What a mess of a post. It took me awhile to realize that he probably purposefully used analogies that make no sense, so that he can’t be held accountable for anything he says. Which makes him even more of an asshole.

      • Tonya

        …wtf Mind you, I have ADHD and take adderall and have since I was 8. I have to or else I am pretty much useless and wouldn’t see myself able to keep a job for long. ADHD is a spectrum disorder though, and not everyone is as bad as others. Plus I would think that if they distract your child that much because of that (besides the talking) they may also have ADHD. And a spectrum disorder learning disability is totally comparable to VPDs.

        If they really wanna make it mandatory, I’d totally be happy to have meds donated to me. I don’t have health insurance and gotta pay $40 a month after using an Rx discount card and coupons here and there.

    • tonya

      So here’s a hypocritical comment I’d like to share with you as I was perusing the comments on the status. Someone seriously said this:

      “This is an EXCELLENT comparison. However, I think that patients with ADHD should be required to eliminate artificial dyes and colors from their diet. They should be required to stop ingesting synthetic substances that cause ADHD, as opposed to medicating it.”

      So, its OK to mandate that, but not vaccines to prevent death? Wtf?

  • Lisa C

    On
    a side note, an 18 month old girl died of suffocation in Massachusetts after “The family…put the child to
    bed on Friday night with mayonnaise and a plastic bag on her scalp in an
    attempt to treat head lice… As the infant slept, the bag apparently covered
    her face, suffocating her”

    http://www.foxnews.com/health/2015/02/05/massachusetts-toddler-dies-after-lice-treatment-goes-awry/?intcmp=ob_article_footer_text&intcmp=obnetwork

  • Dr Kitty

    Can I just note that the UK seems to have rather different approach to head lice than the U.S.?

    I’ve got the government head lice info booklet the school nurse gives out to all the first year parents in front of me.

    It advises checking children’s hair every Friday with a fine tooth comb, and only treating if live lice (not just nits) are found. There are detailed instructions on how to wet comb and how to use different chemical treatments safely and effectively.

    It says NOT to keep children off school, just to tell the teacher so that a note can be sent to classmates, and to treat as best you can before sending them in to school.
    “As lice are merely inconvenient, they are not sufficient reason for your child to miss learning opportunities at school”.

    Also, that lice on hats, clothing and bedding are dead or dying, and as eggs are only laid on hair on living scalps, there is no need to disinfect or treat fabrics, clothing, bedding or toys. Certainly, I never bothered doing any of that.

    Just, you know, FYI.

    • MichelleJo

      “As lice are merely inconvenient, they are not sufficient reason for your child to miss learning opportunities at school”. That is such a typical screwed British comment. (I am a British national, so don’t jump on me.) Weighing up the child’s missed education of one day; how long to catch up?; to possibly hours of ridding infestations by an unknown amount of pupils. And it’s not a reason to keep them off school either, so they could further come to school partially treated and spread it to whoever didn’t catch it the day before. Because in Britain we think education is sooooo important. Not if produces brains that can make such a daft weigh up. Reminds me of the volcano ash a few years ago and people were stranded around the world, many sleeping on airport floors and existing on salted nuts, and the then PM Gordon Brown declaring that ‘the situation must be brought to an end as swiftly as possible so that children can get back to school….’ followed by all the less important like being able to get home and eat and sleep, relatives returning to their elderly parents whose temporary carer had left three days ago, the sick who took a break for a day or two to be able to continue their regular treatments and parents on a quick weekend break can get back to their babies.

      • Roadstergal

        My UK friend was telling me that they don’t cover the chicken pox vaccine over there, and sent me the NHS position statement on it. I was… unconvinced by it. :

        • Wren

          So was I, but I failed to get my kids vaccinated for it privately. My son says he would have preferred 200 shots to the chicken pox after having a terrible case.

          As for the lice issue, I have 2 kids in years 3 and 4 now (they are 7 and 9). We have dealt with lice a couple of times and I have never considered keeping them off school for it. An hour of combing for her, 20 minutes for him (short hair is soooo much easier in this case) then they are back in school. I have treated with the chemicals once, but the other times the combing alone was enough.

        • MichelleJo

          Well, you would have been, because they made it up. The real reason is because we. don’t. want. to. pay. for. it. They have to spend their money paying for lawyers for the unbelievably stupid mistakes their NHS doctors make. The NHS is free, it’s wonderful – if you’re healthy.
          About ten years ago, my parents were over here in Israel visiting us, when my mother went into sudden heart failure. She was near death by the time she got to the hospital, but they diagnosed it on the spot as a rare type of heart failure, (known by it’s Japanese name Takotsubo, as they were the first ones to recognize it,) and with incredible speed, treated her accordingly. She was touch and go for a few days, but thankfully, walked out of the hospital ten days later. When she went to a cardiologist for follow up in the UK, he’d never heard of it. She managed to find one doctor in the whole north-east who had, but he reassured her that in all documented cases of survivors, none had had a re-occurrence. Duh. Four years later, she became a new statistic, because it happened again. The ER doctor was clueless, and my father had to spell out what she had had previously, and he looked it up on the internet. I kid you not. Luckily, it was a much milder event, and she presented earlier, still conscious, and she pulled through that as well. I keep telling them that they should retire to Israel πŸ™‚ (It is now much more widely recognized and is referred to as Apical Ballooning, or Broken Heart Syndrome)

          • monojo

            I’m so happy the doctors in Israel were so quick to treat and diagnose your mother’s condition! As an only somewhat related aside, have you ever read Zoobiquity? It’s a totally fascinating book about similarities between human and animal diseases written by a cardiologist who came up with the idea after studying Takotsubo.

    • fiftyfifty1

      It varies from school to school here. Most districts around here have a policy of just tell the teacher so s/he can send out a note to the parents. Children are not kept out of class.

  • Therese

    According to that analogy there shouldn’t even be medical exemptions for vaccination because would you be okay with a kid who can’t medically be treated for lice attending school every day and spreading lice around? Yet I don’t know a single person who minds a kid with a medical exemption to vaccines attending school.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      I don’t know how that follows at all.

      Sounds like a major strawman to me.

      • Therese

        Well, attending school with lice is being compared to attending school unvaccinated. Attending school with lice is unacceptable, so therefore attending school unvaccinated should be unacceptable too. The problem is attending school unvaccinated is fine in some instances (like with valid medical exemptions) while attending school with a chronic case of lice should not be considered acceptable, even if it was for medical reasons (in that case the school should provide a tutor).

        • Nick Sanders

          Why should a kid stay home if they legitimately can’t be treated for their lice, when they can come if they legitimately can’t be prevented from vulnerability to a deadly disease?

          • Therese

            Well, taking the analogy to its logical conclusions neither one should be allowed.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            How so? As far as I know, no one has argued that kids with medical indications that prevent vaccination should be kept out of school. None of this discussion has anything to do with true medical exemptions, except for the part about how it is important to do what we can to help them.

          • Therese

            Well, do you think kids with chronic cases of lice that continuously go untreated should be allowed in schools? If your answer is no, does it matter WHY the kid’s lice isn’t being treated? Would you be okay with your kid being continually infected with lice if the kid that was responsible for spreading lice had a valid medical reason for why he couldn’t be treated for lice? I personally would not be ok with that and while I would be very sympathetic to the poor kid, I would hope the school not allow the kid to attend and instead provide a tutor. The child has a right to an education, but not a right to infect everyone with lice, even if it is no one’s fault that he can’t medically handle lice treatment.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            You don’t see a difference between deliberately choosing to inflict lice on others and reluctantly doing it because you have no choice?

            IOW, the difference between an asshole and a victim?

          • mythsayer

            Just like your kids don’t have a right to infect others with measles because they aren’t vaccinated.

          • mythsayer

            Here is the problem with your argument. The kid with a medical exemption DOES NOT HAVE TO STAY HOME BECAUSE THAT KID IS NOT SICK. If the kid GETS sick with something like measles, it’s because herd immunity was destroyed, not because THAT KID wasn’t vaccinated. That kid would get sick because of YOUR kids, and others’ kids, who aren’t vaccinated. That kid would get sick because YOU and others with the same mindset destroyed herd immunity.

            The kid with lice would be welcome in school when the kid doesn’t have lice. It’s a guarantee that a kid with a permanent lice infestation would not be allowed in a public school. And the kid with measles would also not be allowed at school… so that others who can’t have the vaccine don’t get sick. I literally don’t see where you are getting this “medical exemption kids should have to stay home, then” argument. No… YOUR kids should have to stay home before the medical exemption kid has to stay home. See, the more logical analogy is this: if there is a kid who can’t be treated for lice who does not have lice, that kid is allowed at school. It’s the kid WITH LICE that isn’t allowed. The kid that’s a “danger” to others is the one who must stay home. You’re mixing up your kids here.

          • Nick Sanders

            How is that the logical conclusion of the analogy?

    • mythsayer

      Seriously? That’s not at all what she said. The entire purpose of vaccinating everyone who can be
      vaccinated is to protect those who can’t be vaccinated… those who get
      medical exemptions, for example. It’s when you don’t vaccinate your
      children, who probably (this is a general you, here) don’t need the
      medical exemption, that we run into problems. If you destroy herd
      immunity, you are potentially harming those with immune system issues or
      those too young to be vaccinated. That’s all… there’s nothing more
      sinister about Dr. Amy’s point. When you flex your freedom and destroy
      herd immunity, YOU are harming those who can’t be vaccinated. The rest
      of us who vaccinated our kids are doing our part.

      And honestly, if there was a kid who couldn’t be treated for lice, I’m pretty sure the school would tell the parents to keep that kid home until something was figured out. Schools already tell kids to stay home when they get lice… soooooo… I seriously doubt a kid would be allowed to infect everyone with lice over and over and over. Therefore… by that logic, we should be able to keep unvaccinated kids home.

    • KarenJJ

      No it’s like other more “educated” people not treating nits on their kid even though they’re healthy and able, and then letting your kid catch nits from them when your kid is so horribly allergic to nit combs it could put them in hospital.

  • Maya Markova

    “Though I’ve met many parents who dismiss the risks of measles, I haven’t yet met anyone who thinks an ongoing infestation of head lice is just fine.”
    My friend, with whom I discussed this post, said that her mother in-law thought exactly this. When her granddaughter came back from school with lice, the grandma said that she does not intend to take measures because (1) she has no time and (2) the child got the lice at school, and was going to attend the same school again, so what’s the point? Lice would be back anyway.

    • Cobalt

      That’s just mean.

      • Maya Markova

        Actually, she knew that my friend, who is an aunt of the said child, would not leave things this way. So grandma says “Lice are OK with me” and rests comfortably on the sofa, leaving the hard anti-lice work to the daughter in-law. I guess that, in a similar way, many antivaxers rely that other people will vaccinate.

  • Montserrat Blanco

    I am so jealous of these people!!! Anti-vaxxers, natural childbirth, natural health, etc, etc.

    Because they are really lucky. They do not have a child that a simple rubella can kill, they have been so lucky with childbirth that their only problem was if everybody was nice and they could move around, they have never ever been near death enough to know what it feels like and how you would give anything to continue living and get any treatment available even if that meant nasty side effects or a possible dissability.

    I am not that fortunate and I feel profundly jealous of them.

    • Linden

      Don’t be. They are not immune from medical disaster either. When it happens, some will sober up and re-examine their beliefs; others will find something else to blame.

      • Montserrat Blanco

        I really do not wish that to anyone. I can’t. After 2 months at a NICU I can’t wish that to my worst enemy. I would really love them having some clue about how it is to live in the real world.

    • jhr

      And they have not had the experience of having a lovely little 5-year old getting diagnosed with leukemia, entering “cancer world” where they ultimately feel lucky because she has “only” acute lymphocytic leukemia, as opposed to the other parents in the Child Life playroom whose kids have a far lesser chance of survival! Oh the arrogance of thinking one’s child is untouchable because they don’t go to McDonalds and instead, drink kale smoothies.
      I do not wish disaster on anyone and particularly never would I wish that a child suffer, even if the child’s parents would not give a damn about my immune-compromised little one. But reading some of the comments from anti-vaxxers does tempt me sometimes to imagine them in our place…

      • Montserrat Blanco

        I am really sorry that you are going through that with your little one.

        • jhr

          Thank you. Diagnosed on 12/30; after initial inpatient chemo, follow-up bone marrow indicates that she is in the “standard” risk category which means that she is responding well to the treatment. The first-world medical community has a well-established protocol for treating pediatric ALL and we feel very lucky to be dealing with this NOW and with access to these protocols.
          Much in the way that I believe myself fortunate to have access to modern vaccines, as opposed to what existed when my grandparents and even parents raised children.

          • Montserrat Blanco

            I am glad she is doing OK given the circumstances. Best wishes for your family, especially for her. And yes, we are very fortunate of living in 2015, not in 1955.

      • MichelleJo

        OT, but I do wish you a smooth ride (or as smooth as cancer can be), until your child is completely well. I am in awe of parents of cancer patients.

        • jhr

          Thank you.

  • MichelleJo

    Love this post. Besides those who won’t treat head lice, (though such people probably don’t exist), there are those who cannot detect when their child has an infestation, and those who discover it just before the school bus and just shove them on anyway because they haven’t got time now and they’ll see to it later, and those who do not know how to get rid of the infestation. Which is the reason I think that we don’t have outbreaks of lice, they seem to be here to stay. (At least where I live.) Back when I had four daughters between the ages of four and twelve, I seemed to be forever treating infestations, silently raging at other parents who didn’t bother. But after a while, I started to have a different attitude, one which made me much calmer, had no need for chemical killers and hours of nit picking, and most importantly, my children stopped getting infested. I took it as a given that my children have lice, in the same way as they have bacteria on their teeth. And just like we brush their teeth regularly in order to stop the bacteria building up and leading to problems, we should do the same with lice. That is, twice a week, after washing their hair with plenty of conditioner to get rid of the knots, I would brush their hair completely straight, and using a lice comb, methodically move round their head doing downward strokes with the comb, each stroke the width of the comb. It takes a couple of minutes, and twelve to fourteen strokes to get around the head. I often picked up one or two lice that they had caught in the last day or two, but because I was doing this twice weekly, they never built up to an infestation. It had to be a long toothed comb, to ensure that it was getting right through their hair until the scalp, and we said good bye to lice forever. As a plus, they always had shiny, untangled and dandruff free hair.

    • Roadstergal

      My mom checked my hair for lice every evening. It’s silly, but I remember those sessions with fondness – it was very close, sitting with her and having her spend so much time going all through my hair, very warm and sweet. I never ended up with lice, but she wanted to be proactive.

      (Oh, and she fully vaccinated me to schedule. She was very straightforward and calm about it all, and I have absolutely zero needle-phobia when it comes to shots and blood draws now. Two approaches to preventive care.)

      • MichelleJo

        πŸ™‚ I used to use a lice analogy to anyone who tried to tell me that nursing created a better bond between mother and baby, because of the nursing position. The baby can hear the mother’s heart beat blah.. (I am a mother who exclusively bottle fed, and never apologized for it.) Guess what? I bottle fed my babies in exactly the same position, simply because it is the most practical and comfortable way to do it. And the nursing position is how it is because the design of the human body is in tandem with it’s different functions, in order to do that function in the most efficient and comfortable way. (generally). It’s the position most people would choose anyway. So go decide which came first! But I rarely used that as a reply, because I was never defensive about bottle feeding. Just for the kick of it, I’d say that I bond with my kids when I treat or check them for lice. On my lap, right up close.

        • Therese

          Well, isn’t that how monkeys bond? By removing ticks and fleas from each other? So it makes sense humans could be the same way.

          • MichelleJo

            Do you have s source for that? I’d love to add it to my reply with a straight face. (It is a scientific fact, studies show et al.)

        • Young CC Prof

          At summer camp in this area, campers bond with each other by checking for ticks, which can carry any one of several potentially serious diseases.

  • Guest

    I’m a parent. My child hasn’t had measles, but did have chicken pox because I live in a

  • TG

    margarine isn’t a harsh chemical, and it’s used fairly often as a treatment for lice, no?

    • Therese

      Margarine? *gasp* Margarine has trans fats!!! What if they are absorbed into the scalp????

      These are people who probably think shampoo is too harsh of a chemical for their head. I wonder if coconut oil would kill lice? No crunchy could object to that. Or maybe there is an essential oil that would do it?

      • Amy M

        I read one of those links posted below about alternative lice treatments. One said that “delousing chemicals enter the child’s bloodstream.” I’m thinking they are using it wrong.

        • Therese

          Well, I think it is true that the skin absorbs some of what it comes in contact with. Or is that completely woo?

          • Young CC Prof

            Depends on the chemical. Some are absorbed into the bloodstream very well through the skin, some not at all.

  • Your argument is invalid

    Refusing to treat lice would be comparable to refusing to treat measles. You are comparing it to refusing to vaccinate against measles. So, you would have to argue that people are willing to administer chemicals prophylacticly to avoid possible lice contamination, which they are not. You also state that lice can be caught over and over, this is true, but it isn’t true of measles. Your analogy is stupid and false.

    • Who?

      Is there lice prophylaxis? I bet anyone who’s lived through a bad infestation would think about it.

      • Using rosemary oil on the head is touted as a preventative. I haven’t seen that it works, but one’s head does smell nice…

        • KarenJJ

          That fits my friend’s theory – the lice get confused and think your head is a plant.

        • Isramommy

          I’ve been putting rosemary oil on my daughter’s hair everyday for two years before sending her to daycare. We started doing this on the advice of our pediatrician(!) and so far, no lice. I’m not sure if/how it really works, but we have passed a few daycare “outbreaks” with no lice. Either way, her head does smell nice, and it’s actually a pretty decent styling aid for doing up toddler pig tails.

      • Cobalt

        Alter (or completely remove) the hair shaft so they can’t breed. Hair dye does pretty good at this, the more damaging the better. A ton of hair spray or gel creates a temporary physical obstacle to slow them down.

      • me

        I suppose you could keep the kids’ heads shaved (like completely bald – not just a ‘crew cut’). I don’t think you can get head lice if you don’t have any hair. Of course, little girls might not be hip to that particular preventative measure. But it would prevent another infestation.

      • mythsayer

        Absolutely I would if I could. I just said that above.

    • Young CC Prof

      If there was a treatment with a safety record as good as the measles vaccine which could prevent my family from ever getting lice after just one or two uses, I’d do it.

    • mythsayer

      No. You’re missing the point. The point is that if people treat lice and keep their kids home, the chances of passing on the lice is fairly low. We are talking about kids who ALREADY HAVE LICE. Or ALREADY HAVE MEASLES. See… when the unvaccinated kid has measles and passes it to others because herd immunity is destroyed, we then ask “why was that kid allowed to do that?” Same thing with lice. Once lice becomes apparent, you take measures to ensure that other people don’t get lice. And that’s the point. We can stop measles in its tracks before it ever gets to the “infect others” point. If we could do the same for lice, PERMANENTLY, are you seriously suggesting we wouldn’t do it? I totally would. I had lice once when I was 11. They found it when I went to get my hair cut. Do you have any idea how embarrassing that is???? To have your mom called over to look at your hair and then have to get out of the chair and walk about the door of the salon, knowing that everyone knows what’s wrong? It’s awful. I felt horrible. So yeah, if there was shot I could give myself and my daughter to ensure we’d likely never get lice, I would do it in a heartbeat.

  • Rosanna

    Stacey48918 will be making a donation in my name! I think this is great, I will hold you to it! You all have such great passion, why don’t you join her? How much $ can you raise towards a cause you are this passionate about? Also, I want help to understand the truth, so I have asked for readers to please share their resources with me, so please let me know where you turn to. What are your top three resources? I already know about CDC so please provide three more.

    • Stacy48918

      Are you planning to donate to protect children in the 3rd world from VPIs?

      I’ll post my screenshot here when I do. Will you?

      • Rosanna

        Not yet, because I am not as educated as the rest of you. When I do, I will absolutely donate and yes, you make take a screenshot. I am a woman of my word as I am sure you are.

        • Stacy48918

          I do not consider myself “educated”. I trust those who are. I know that no amount of internet, book, or paper reading will ever make me as educated on vaccinology, immunology, statistics, etc as the people writing the recommendations for all public health practitioners.

          ETA – and I’m a veterinarian. I actually GIVE vaccines, albeit to dogs and cats. I’ve had a graduate level immunology course.. I know that I am still no where near as educated on the topic as people at the CDC, WHO and other health organizations.

          • Rosanna

            True…but the insinuations is that I am the least educated here..so who are the experts that you turn to other than Paul Offit? Is there anyone else I can follow?

          • Stacy48918

            I don’t have a list of individuals. Here are some other good pages:
            http://www.voicesforvaccines.org –> especially good if you like “stories” about vaccines
            http://www.vaccinateyourbaby.org –> associated with the Every Child By Two campaign
            http://www.ecbt.org –> Every Child By Two. Paul Offit is on the board of directors

          • Rosanna

            Thank you!!! Any one else?

          • Nick Sanders
          • Rosanna

            Thank you, Nick! Much appreciated!

          • Wren

            Rosanna, are you actually looking at these resources? You keep asking for more, but there is no way you can have read through even a reasonable portion of what you have been given so far.

          • KarenJJ

            I can keep it short and sweet:

            http://howdovaccinescauseautism.com/

          • Rosanna

            No, of course I haven’t. I am compiling a list of the resources and then will go through them all, one at a time, in order to better understand vaccination. I am curious to see where people turn to for their information, and I assume that not everyone has the exact same resources. I have received a ton of great book suggestions and links to follow and I am excited about reading in to them. Let’s be supportive here!

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I guess I don’t know why you haven’t already seen a lot of these already.

            You are the one who claims it is good to be skeptical, but all you do is parrot information from crank sites like wnd. If you were really taking a skeptical look in the past, you would have been looking into those claims, and would have found a lot of these or similar sites.

            You talk about being skeptical for your family’s sake, but your actions show you have been otherwise. Maybe you should step back and question the approach you’ve had in the past and whether it was really as skeptical as you’d like to think?

          • Rosanna

            You didn’t provide any resources, which was the point of this thread. I am not interested in your opinion. You have no idea whether or not I have already seen or read from any of these sources, and you have no idea what I may or may not have a degree in. All I did was ask where you all have gotten your information from. For the most part, I have received plenty of polite recommendations and answers. I am grateful for those. Then there are others, who just offer their opinions that no one asked for – I suppose they just need to speak down to others in order to feel better about themselves. I am surprised that even when being genuine and asking wholeheartedly for information, I still have people being rude and condescending with me – for those people – you have my sympathies.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            You didn’t provide any resources,

            Why did we have to provide you with resources? YOU claimed to be skeptical. Yet, you swallowed every idiotic anti-vax comment anyone ever made. You think that was really a skeptical approach?

            All I did was ask where you all have gotten your information from.

            No, that is not “all” you did. Look back at the last 4 days or so and look at all your comments. You have done a lot more than ask where we all got our information from.

          • Rosanna

            Go back to the sofa, bofa.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Boy, you got me there.

          • yugaya

            I think we managed to at least make her stop in her tracks and try to figure out how people on this blog know all that stuffz that they know. The downside is that now she thinks you guys have some magical sources of information aka “other ways of knowing”.

          • Cobalt

            There is a certain resistance to the idea of developing critical thinking skills. You know, the way of “actually knowing”.

          • Wren

            It is extremely difficult to recommend anything without knowing your basic starting point.

          • Rosanna

            Well, according to many on this site, I am a “nitwit”, so I would start there:)

          • Wren

            If that is the case, a high school biology text book might be a good starting point.

          • Nick Sanders

            You’re quite welcome.

          • Box of Salt

            Rosanna “Any one else?”

            Vaccine-related, or medicine in general? I have book lists for both.

          • Rosanna

            Vaccine related for now – I have received a great deal of resources on this thread and am really happy about it, but if there is anything you would like to add, please let me know. Thanks!

          • Cobalt

            I’m interested too, just because I like to read. I am also stuck home for the most part, trying to keep my not-old-enough-for-MMR baby from suffering “natural” immunity.

          • yugaya

            A look into what happens decades after herd immunity is disrupted for whatever reason ( war, Jenny McCarthy) – VPDs come back with a vengeance: http://www.eurosurveillance.org/images/dynamic/EE/V16N35/art19959.pdf

            A good factsheet on why immunisation must remain a priority even in developed world countries: http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/84302/Seven_Key_Reasons.pdf

          • Cobalt
          • yugaya

            I don’t know this crowd to be the one going around shouting at people to go and educate themselves in the sense that they are telling you that they are smarter than you are. Urge you to get a better grasp of some basic science? Yes. Ask you to please stop posting insultingly stupid links thinking they prove your points and come up with more reputable sources? Definitely. But none of that means anyone is smarter than you in any way. It is easy to know your science from your snake oil once you establish a good baseline.

          • Rosanna

            What are your top three resources yugaya? I am trying to be polite here yet some people on this site seem to simply enjoy being rude to others, even when one is trying to be sincere. Where have you gotten your information from? All I am looking for is your top three resources. What are they?

          • yugaya

            -biology coursebooks from school, including the child friendly series of illustrated books on “How Your Body Works” that I bought for my kids. At best, I know the basics and can upgrade using good reading comprehension and paying attention, but my six year old who studies them in detail knows a lot more. πŸ™‚

            – your child’s doctors and if that is not enough ask for referral to infectious diseases specialist, immunologist or epidemiologist.

            – people on this blog – I’ve learned more through their comments than I would have on my own, the more expert they are in their field the more attempt they make to speak or explain things in the clear manner that a lay person can follow without being intimidated or bullied by a bunch of rabid scholars talking to themselves.

            You say that everyone is failing to understand your point. When that happens to me, I try to go all the way back and figure out how I arrived at the conclusions that seems so wrong to everyone else and usually I find that my own personal bias, prejudice or my own beliefs/lack of understanding got in the way. Focus on arguing your position clearly, don’t be afraid to ask questions and indicate that you do not understand something. Always try to position yourself outside of your own personal experiences if you want to form more objective conclusions and opinions.

            This might be a good place to start because it defines the boundaries of what quackery is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quackery

          • Rosanna

            That’s actually funny, because someone on this website actually said to me – where do you get your info, wikipedia? And here you are, sending me there, lol!

          • yugaya

            *sigh*

            It is a general census on a definition of a word and usage kind of a link but hey, if that is not good enough for you, go ahead and add a more specific interpretation of what quackery is to you from a better, more reputable dictionary or encyclopedia.

            When my students argue I try to make sure that when they are talking about something they all have the same thing in mind, so what I do is elicit definitions of key words by either having them open up Wikipedia or a dictionary.

            EDIT: Did you stop to think why I posted the definition of quackery to you and why I think you need to go back that far to see where you are wrong about vaccines, or was my reply in good faith completely wasted on you still trying to bait and show that our individual “top three sources” are no good?

        • Box of Salt

          Rosanna “I am not as educated as the rest of you”

          I may well be “more educated” than you, at least in terms of science education (just a guess based on one of your earlier comments). That doesn’t change the fact that we can both learn.

          If you are willing, here are some suggestions:
          Take a course or two in basic chemistry so the names you read on vaccine ingredient lists don’t freak you out. Maybe some biology courses, too. Or if you have taken them in the past – find a textbook and review.

          Do what you can to expand your basic knowledge base (and I mean read books, not google), so that you will be better able to evaluate who is an expert, and who is not.

          Develop a BS detector – and some of that comes from having that basic background knowledge to recognize when terminology has been converted to buzzwords – scientific or otherwise.

          See where this leads you, and while you keep your mind open, keep using it.

          • Rosanna

            Again, I asked for resources, not opinions with condescending undertones. What are your top three resources where you obtain your information?

          • Cobalt

            Box of Salt is giving you good advice. If you can learn to evaluate sources on your own, you won’t need people in comment threads to evaluate them for you.

            Something about learning how to fish instead of begging for each meal.

          • Rosanna

            I didn’t ask Box of Salt for his/her advice, in the same way no one has asked for mine. Some readers have been wonderful, and sent me resources, and some have continued to be rude and condescending. I don’t know what qualifications this person has to give me advice. I will stick with reading up on the “experts”

          • Cobalt

            The education she’s recommending will be your best resource. There is nothing rude or condescending in her very good advice on how you can empower yourself to evaluate claims and sources accurately while simultaneously expanding your knowledge base.

          • Roadstergal

            Carl Sagan’s Baloney Detection Kit. The Demon-Haunted World is always a good recommendation.

          • Montserrat Blanco

            It is very difficult to summarize the resources when you have dedicated years to study in order to understand the basics of how vaccines work.

            For a starter I would recommend:
            – Devlin: Biochemistry
            – Guyton: Physiology
            – microbiology: I read a Spanish Textbook and I am not sure it is translated but Nester Microbiology is very good also.
            – Roitt: Inmunology. This is really key! You need to read the first two to be able to understand something in this one though.
            – Harrison: principles of Internal Medicine. Especially the infectious diseases part.
            – Nelson: Pediatrics. Especially the infectious diseases part.
            – A Hardvard Textbook on Public Health would be necessary as well.

            And before you ask, yes, I read all of them full, studied the contents and passed the exams regarding them.

          • Montserrat Blanco

            And I am NOT an expert in inmunology nor in vaccine development.

          • Rosanna

            Thank you so much! I really appreciate it, and I wouldn’t have questioned whether you read them at all. If you are citing them, then I do believe you have ready them. Much appreciated!

          • Roadstergal

            Janeway and Travers: Immunobiology is generally the 201-ish level textbook. And it has lots of pretty pictures. But without the education to give it context…

          • Wren

            Personally, I have a degree in biology with a minor in chemistry and have done some study beyond that in nursing. I know that even with that background I do not know enough to understand much more than the basics on vaccines. It’s part of why I am always amazed by those without any study in the field at all being so sure they know more than those who have dedicated their lives to immunology. Being able to read is not the same as being able to understand the research on any scientific topic.
            I have never seen someone without even basic algebra knowledge trying to argue that calculus or more advanced math is wrong, but the equivalent happens with advanced science, such as immunology, on a regular basis.
            If you do not have the basics to even begin to evaluate what you read, how helpful is a list of studies or even textbooks to you?

          • Rosanna

            I would think someone as educated as yourself would be willing and encouraging to point me in the right direction. We don’t need degrees in biology in order to vaccinate our children, so why do we need one in order to learn more about them? I would think a group like this would be supportive of someone like me, who is a “nitwit” – who is making an attempt to educate myself. You don’t need a degree in biology to study it. It’s never too late to be a student. Surely, you can point me in the right direction.

          • Cobalt

            Actually, you do need an advanced degree before you are allowed to vaccinate someone. That’s why you can’t buy MMR over the counter. If you want to know which vaccines are appropriate for your situation, ask your doctor.

            If you want general information on vaccine safety, ask a reputable, accountable health organization. CDC, WHO, AAP, ACOG, etc. You’re looking for an organization whose members are educated at accredited schools, hold advanced specialized degrees, are regulated to remove poor practitioners, hold practitioners accountable, and require strict standards for membership.

          • Rosanna

            I meant, we, as parents, don’t require degrees before we bring our children to be immunized. Of course I know you need a degree in order to vaccinate!

          • Cobalt

            Then why don’t you ask the doctor, and trust their response?

          • Rosanna

            Because Doctors are human too, and we all make mistakes. The second leading cause of death in The US and Canada is medical error, is it not? I have asked my doctor, but I am looking to understand more. I don’t see anything wrong in wanting to further educate myself. I do find it strange that some people don’t want me to look any further than my doctor? What’s wrong with that? I know a lot of people who are anti vax (my child is vaccinated) – I want to know how to speak to them with compassion rather than bullying or hatred in order to understand what’s going on.

          • Jenelope

            Nope. Heart disease, then cancer, chronic respiratory disease, then all unintentional accidents, stroke, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, pneumonia and the flu, nephritis, and intentional self-harm.

          • Wren

            Medical error is not something like vaccinating a child with no underlying health conditions. Medical errors are things like giving the wrong drug, the wrong dose, etc.

          • Cobalt

            People want you to consult qualified experts about your child’s health, and you find that strange? I would call that evidence of trustworthiness if they are unwilling to reach beyond what they know and can prove to give advice they aren’t qualified to give.

          • Rosanna

            No, I don’t find that strange at all. I find it strange that people want me to stop there. What if I went to a doctor who supported anti vaxxers and told me not to vaccinate? Would I stop there and trust them, or, would it be sensible for me to perhaps obtain another opinion, or look into finding more information? I personally really like my doctor – I think she is great. Has she made errors on recommendations to me in the past? Yes, but she is human and I don’t hold that against her at all.

          • yugaya

            “I find it strange that people want me to stop there. What if I went to a doctor”

            What “people” are you talking about? Here is my earlier reply to you:

            “- your child’s doctors and if that is not enough ask for referral to infectious diseases specialist, immunologist or epidemiologist.”

            In the case of my child, that would be at least a dozen of different doctorS to consult with and see what each of them has to say.

          • Wren

            Didn’t you say earlier you stopped vaccinating at age 2?

          • S

            You’re equating medical error (i.e. a miscalculation, oversight, or clinical misjudgment) to a fundamental misunderstanding of an entire scientific field?

          • baileylamb

            Fine, here is antidote for you. At least two of my grandmothers 13 kids showed signs of being on the autism spectrum (one did not talk unti he was 4) My oldest uncle had his other symptoms treated (epilepsy treated by the ole fashion hole in the head) and didn’t have too many issues after that. The other uncle eventually grew out of some of his issues (some not all, but it sounds like what happens to some kids today). This was before vaccines (which is why only 11kids made it out of childhood). They also raised their own chickens and didn’t eat much gluten (rice and beans). At least one of my uncles granddaughters is on the spectrum as well (never diagnosed because even though she didn’t talk until age 3). Remember back in the day there were way more mental institutions.

            As far as long term problems go, lead has always been the bigger issue, that people like to ignore. Go figure, humans aren’t great at evaluating risk.

          • Nick Sanders

            “The second leading cause of death in The US and Canada is medical error, is it not?”

            Pretty sure it’s not.

          • Kerlyssa

            You don’t need a degree to Google, but you need a hell of a lot of education to create it. Saying you could understand Google’s algorithms because you can use it it is comparable to what you are saying about immunization here.

          • Rosanna

            What am I saying about immunization other than asking people to let me know what their top three trusted resources are?

          • yugaya

            Don’t you at least wonder why no one mentioned to you “trusting their own feelings” on the subject of vaccines in this little pop quiz of yours?

          • Cobalt

            Well, you said this yesterday:

            “Yet another stupid article, comparing lice treatments to vaccine?? Lice can be treated with olive oil and doesn’t require harsh chemicals at all. Thanks for showing us what a true QUACK real is. Here’s an article written by an actual Dr., who (shock!) used facts and statistics. Take a read and let her show you how to write an article so you don’t keep looking so foolish.

            http://mobile.wnd.com/2015/02/…”

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            The CDC does NOT list all the ingredients – instead ask us to visit our Doctors – Does anyone know why that is?

            That’s what you said yesterday.

            Aside from the fact it is wrong (the CDC most certainly DOES list all the ingredients that you had in your list, like aluminum, and egg components, etc), it is not a request for anyone’s resources. It is an accusation against the CDC with a strawman question for a motivation.

          • Wren

            How many pointers in the right direction do you need? There have been plenty of people providing resources.
            I do not consider myself particularly well educated. I know enough to know how little I know.
            How much knowledge are you starting with? Do you have enough knowledge of biology to even understand a basic immunology textbook? Do you understand enough about statistics and study design to be able to evaluate a paper? I can do the bare basics of this, but I know I don’t have the background to completely get it, which is why I generally defer to experts.
            Without the basics, you are like someone claiming they can study and fully understand Shakespeare with nothing but the reading skills of a 2nd grader. You might be able to read and look up every word, but a full understanding just will not be possible.

      • D/

        Thanks for the great idea!

        • D/

          πŸ™‚

          A Super Hero Pack has been given in your honor!

          In honor of the SOB community for this week’s tireless commentary on the importance of vaccinations.

          ABOUT THIS GIFT
          The Super Hero Pack puts a force field of health around vulnerable children, protecting them from the villains of childhood – deadly, debilitating and preventable diseases such as malaria, measles, tetanus and polio. This miraculous pack provides Measles, Tetanus and Polio Vaccines; a Vaccine Carrier to ensure every precious drop of vaccine safely reaches a child in need; and 5 Mosquito Nets to keep disease-carrying insects from stealing precious lives. This Super Hero Pack defends the lives of young children through 50 vaccines, 1 vaccine carrier and 5 mosquito nets.

    • Stacy48918

      Just for you. Well, and my deadbeat anti-vaxxer “skeptic” ex.

  • Duchevne

    I suddenly feel very lucky that I’ve never seen a louse.

    • yentavegan

      My brothers and I and none of my friends ever had lice as children. My mother and father never had lice. My kids have had lice and then shared them with me and my husband. I think lice comes and goes in cycles. My parents suffered through whooping cough epidemics, they dodged polio but lost friends to it . My husband had measles and had to be carried from room to room because his mother feared the fever would make him sterile. I have vaccinated my kids according to the pediatricians recommendations. I figured if I lived in a different place and time and the cultural norm was blunting the teeth or shoving a bone through the chin how was vaccinating any less a rite of passage?

  • Stacy48918

    I think once I get paid this week I’m going to be donating some vaccines. Anyone else want to join me? Perhaps some in Rosanna’s name? Any other anti-vax commenters that need to contribute to vaccinating children in the 3rd world?

    Check it out: http://inspiredgifts.unicefusa.org/shop/immunization

    • Who?

      Sounds fantastic.

      Gregg won’t even medicate humans, doubt he’d bother with animals.

    • Rosanna

      Thanks Stacey:) After you donate on my behalf, can you direct me to some resources where I can inform myself further? Any time I say anything or post a link, I am told they are all claims and false. I have been watching the hatred on. It’s sides and it saddens me. I am not anti vax. My child is fully vaccinated, but I have read so many troubling stories and studies – experienced from parents who have lost their children and it has made me question what the truth is. There has to be a way to protect our kids in harmony. So, since I am a nitwit/quack/insert name here, please direct me to the studies, books, resources and sources where you have all received your information, so I can finally discern between fact and fabrication. The hypothetical question here is about lice. I think the bigger hypothetical question is…what do we say to parents whose children have died as a result of a vaccine?

      • Stacy48918

        “what do we say to parents whose children have died as a result of a vaccine?”
        Again, can you provide us with a published documentation verifying that a child died directly as a result of a vaccination?

        VAERS is not that. Anything on wnd.com is not that.

        cdc.gov is a great place to start for information.

        “I have read so many troubling stories”
        That’s the problem. As long as parents look to stories over their doctors, the CDC, the WHO, etc etc etc it is not possible to “protect our kids in harmony”. There is little chance of harmony with people that believe the internet over scientists and experts, leading to needless suffering and death of innocent children.
        Vaccines are incredibly safe and effective. Period.

        • Rosanna

          I am asking genuinely and politely resources, not opinions. CDC is obvious. What are your other resources?

          • Stacy48918

            I am genuinely answering. See, I trust the experts that have already done the research and come out with the recommendations. Why is that not enough for you?
            Anything by Paul Offitt is also very helpful.

          • Rosanna

            Thanks Stacey! I am not evaluating medical papers lol. You mention trusting the experts…can you tell me who they are so that I read what you are reading? Thanks!

          • Stacy48918

            Again, anything by Paul Offit is a great place to start.

          • tonya

            Rosanna, I respecg the fact that you ate willing to read the evidence and take it into account. If you’d like, you can get helpful information as well on the FDA’s website. The direct link to vaccine safety information is here: http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/SafetyAvailability/VaccineSafety/ucm133806.htm

          • Rosanna

            It was a hypothetical question. If you encountered someone who lost a child as a result of a vaccination, what would you say to them? What would I say to a parent who refuses to treat their kid for lice? I agree, I would tell them they are stupid, however the treatment for lice is not equivalent to the ingredients in vaccines..A rather unimaginative hypothetical question. I am genuinely curious…..what would you say?

          • Stacy48918

            “If you encountered someone who lost a child as a result of a vaccination,”
            Again, can you provide documentation of a child that died AS A RESULT OF a vaccination?

            I’m sure it happens, but not nearly at the rate you think it does. VAERS states right on their site:
            “A report to VAERS generally does not prove that the identified vaccine(s) caused the adverse event described. It only confirms that the reported event occurred sometime after vaccine was given. No proof that the event was caused by the vaccine is required in order for VAERS to accept the report. VAERS accepts all reports without judging whether the event was caused by the vaccine.”

            I would tell them that I am very sorry for their loss. That vaccines are incredibly safe. That idiosyncratic reactions are possible with ANY medication and typically cannot be predicted or prevented. That doesn’t mean that vaccines as a whole are unsafe. Or that they’re unsafe for any of their other children. Or anyone else’s children. That if others heard their story and stopped vaccinating that far, far more children would suffer and die from VPI than the extremely rare incident of a vaccine reaction.

          • Who?

            I’d say what Stacey said, that is appropriate, and lovely. I’d thank them for sharing their story with me. I’d be respectful of their suffering.

            What more can anyone do in such a terrible situation?

            How is that different from any of the tragic ways people die? Would you treat parents of a car accident differently depending whether or not they had the child in a car seat?

          • Rosanna

            I loved her response as well. I was genuinely curious, because I had no clue what I would say. I thought it was very compassionate.

          • Stacy48918

            Exactly. As an ER vet, a large number of animals that come through here and die have preventable diseases or conditions. I don’t berate the clients. I empathize with their suffering and, gently, try to educate them so that future animals don’t suffer the same death.

          • Who?

            I always feel rotten at the vet when the dog has something preventable. Pets really rely on us and ignorance can do them so much harm.

        • Elaine

          Bad stuff happening makes good stories.

          Here are my vaccine stories:

          I am fully vaccinated. Nothing happened to me.

          My kids are (pretty much) fully vaccinated. (the little one needs to get caught up on Hep B, hence the “pretty much”.) Nothing has happened to them.

          Boring, huh? Stories where things went wrong are much more gripping and stay with you longer.

          Actually, I do have one funny vaccine-related story. My sister was exposed to chicken pox within about a week or two of when the chicken pox vaccine came available. It was almost the end of the school year and my family was preparing to move to a city 1 1/2 hours away. Our mom had been planning to use some of the time we were in school to drive down and look at houses in the new city. Once my sister came down with chicken pox, my mom knew I would get it after, and then it would be summer vacation, and her house-hunting time would be over, so she had to offer on the best house she’d seen so far, which she was still not that crazy about. If the chicken pox vaccine had come out about 6 months earlier, she’d probably have had time to find a house we liked better!

      • yugaya

        ” Any time I say anything or post a link, I am told they are all claims and false.”

        Because they are false claims, not because people hate you.

        ” please direct me to the studies, books, resources and sources where you have all received your information, so I can finally discern between fact and fabrication”

        Start with googling the source where the articles you are citing are published and determining whether it is a valid, reputable source to begin with.

        “.what do we say to parents whose children have died as a result of a vaccine?”

        You don’t say anything, you go and vaccinate your own children because the same risk that killed their child is the one we all as parents are taking on when we vaccinate our children for their own benefit and the benefit of everyone. I raise my kids to know right from wrong, and pray that life never makes them be that one in a million who must stand up in defence of what is right.

        • Rosanna

          I guess what I am looking for is – how do you KNOW they are false claims? Where do I go to in order to find the information you have received that makes you so knowledgeable? How do you discern what is reputable and what is not?

          • Cobalt
          • Amy M

            One thing to do is look for consensus among experts: like 97% of scientists in the field of climatology agree that climate change is real and heavily influenced by human activity. I would imagine that 97-99% of doctors agree that vaccines are safe, though they do carry a small risk of adverse events, and do not confer 100% immunity. There’s no reason to believe the tiny, but vocal faction, insisting that ALL those other scientists, doctors, pharma companies AND the government are lying. Those are extraordinary claims and make no sense.

            Medical sites that are reputable include CDC, WHO, Mayo Clinic, for starters. Blogs are not reputable sources in and of themselves–Dr. Amy cites the papers or wherever she is getting her info from.

            Even general media sources may not be the best place to look, since science journalism is seriously lacking. (this is my opinion now) I question the credibility of journalists that believe “fair and balanced” journalism means including equal time for thoroughly debunked or false claims like creationism, anti-vaccination, or the belief that climate change is a made up hoax.

            I agree, it IS very hard to figure out what is a reputable source for information. I would hope the librarians at the local library would be helpful, but the ones at my library hosted a quack peddling snake oil (micro-supplements to cure adhd!), so they don’t necessarily know either. I’ve learned a lot about productive skepticism hanging out on this site–stick around.

          • Rosanna

            Thank you so much for your response. I suppose that is why I want to read and further educate myself – there are so many stories swirling around – some people don’t know who to believe anymore. I am so thankful for all the answers I have received:)

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Wait a minute. You’ve been arguing here for days and days, but now admit that you don’t know much about vaccines and need to “educate yourself”?

            Thanks for wasting everyone’s time. Maybe you should have STARTED with this approach instead?

          • Rosanna

            I just found this website at the end of last week – days and days? Perhaps I am playing devil’s advocate and wanted to see what people knew? I have concluded that you, Bofa, don’t know much.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Yes, over the last 4 days. That’s days and days.

            Are you admitting that you are a troll? Because that’s what it sounds like.

            I don’t know much, but I know that “I know you are but what am I?” is not much of a counter-argument to anything.

          • yugaya

            Well, let’s hope that common sense sheds more than measles vaccines do.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            But, Bofa, this was never about vaccines for Rosanna. This was always about Rosanna’s EGO. It’s almost as if she were trying to confirm what I wrote about anti-vax parents in my post “What everyone gets wrong about anti-vaccine parents”:

            http://www.skepticalob.com/2015/01/what-everyone-gets-wrong-about-anti-vaccine-parents.html

          • Rosanna

            No, not about ego at all. Just trying to understand everyone’s point of view, and trying to understand how we could ever get both sides together in harmony. You can’t possibly ascertain that the reason parents don’t vaccinate is about ego – how many have you interviewed to come to this conclusion? Maybe they have lost faith in the medical industry – and that has them questioning Doctors in a way that doctors haven’t been questioned in the past. When I was a child, I never heard anyone questioning their doctors advice. You, Dr. Amy, may have been an incredible Doctor when you practiced, and I love what you said about children wanting to feel love from their parents in your bio. Unfortunately, there are some doctors who have failed others, and led to skepticism of the medical industry. There are good and bad in every profession, right? I have spoken to anti vaxxers and I don’t see ego – I see concern for the well being of their kids and confusion over so many reports. Do some have ego? Maybe – do they all? I can only speak for myself, and I would never put my child’s health in jeopardy, or the health of other children – simply because I am too arrogant to listen to a doctor. They most likely haven’t looked at many of the resources you all have, so let’s educate each other, have compassion, and stop with the hatred and bullying – not necessarily you, Dr. Amy, but others.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            A woman who doesn’t understand the first thing about how vaccines work, but thinks she knows more than nearly all the immunologists, pediatricians and epidemiologists in the world? If that’s not an monstrously inflated ego, I don’t know what is.

            Rosanna, you may not realize it, but the anti-vax folks have already lost this argument … spectacularly! It would be nice if you could learn something from the fact that you were utterly, completely wrong, but you haven’t even grasped the fact that you were wrong, so I’m not particularly hopeful.

          • Rosanna

            I never stated that I knew more than them all. Thank you for continuing to perpetuate hatred instead of compassion. You certainly don’t have a big ego at all…

          • Cobalt

            The people who decline indicated vaccination are the subject of Dr. Amy’s response above, you decide if you’re in that group or not. Declining vaccination when an overwhelming consensus of experts recommends it is declaring yourself smarter than those experts.

          • Rosanna

            Does distrust equal declaring yourself smarter?

          • Cobalt

            On the level of consensus of vaccination safety and efficacy, absolutely yes. Vaccines have been proven up one side and down the other.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Does distrust equal declaring yourself smarter?

            On what basis do you distrust them?

          • Wren

            I do remember your early posts on this topic, in which you made it clear that a) you do not understand vaccines and b) people should learn the FACTS you have learned and not vaccinate. Not all of those posts are still up, but I was the one who replied explaining that no, vaccines do not “inject bits of dead babies” into children, one of your claims.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            I have no compassion for ignorant fools such as yourself who refuse to acknowledge your ignorance or do anything to ameliorate it.

          • Rosanna

            Still waiting for the “evidence” that all anti vaxxers have ego problems – “flailing around” is a term you used on me yesterday.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Look in the mirror!

          • Rosanna

            ….still waiting for your evidence……

          • Rosanna

            I have been advised by readers of your site that if I don’t have a degree in science or medicine, then I have no merit in posing questions in regards to vaccination. If your degree is not in psychology, how is it that you are then qualified to conclude the psychological state of anti vaxxers as being inflated with ego? I have been asked to provide scientific evidence and facts. What evidence do you have to support your ego argument other than, perhaps, an inflated ego of your own?

          • Cobalt

            No. The issue is questioning the veracity of vaccine claims.

          • Wren

            I am glad to see you asking this question. I do wonder why you never asked it, either of someone else or yourself, in the past.

          • Cobalt

            Learn about how to evaluate arguments: http://www.logicalfallacies.info/

            Whenever I see anything that describes itself as alternative make a claim, one of the tests I use is to imagine the results if the claim were absolutely true, and see if the results match reality. For example: it is often claimed by anti-vaxxers that vaccination is dangerous because it causes viral shedding that causes infections. If that were true, infants in daycare would regularly get measles, mumps, and/or rubella from recently vaccinated toddlers. I know that’s not true, so I have a ton of doubt about infectious shedding.

      • StThomas

        http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/category.aspx?CategoryID=67
        For britain, but answers to common questions may be universal

  • GiddyUpGo123

    And also, after reading this I’m going to spend the rest of my night scratching my head for no reason, because that’s what I do whenever anyone mentions “lice.”

    • Stacy48918

      I do that every time I have a patient with fleas. Ick!

  • sdsures

    Great post!

  • GiddyUpGo123

    “It can’t be because the treatment for head lice is more natural than measles vaccine. Effective treatment for head lice usually involves harsh chemicals, while vaccination involves working in harmony with the body’s immune system.”

    I know commenters below have already mentioned this, but I just want to add that our school is so damned crunchy that when lice started going around the preschool the *teacher* sent home instructions on how to treat using tea tree oil and/or filling a shower cap with olive oil and making your kid sleep overnight in it (like I’m going to deal with *that* mess) because “chemical treatments are no longer effective.”

    While it is true that chemical treatments are much less effective than they used to be (lice have developed resistance) olive oil and tea tree oil will accomplish nothing except ruin your bedding and make your child’s hair smell odd, respectively. The best treatment for lice is to use the chemical shampoo and then spend every day, twice a day for two weeks pulling the nits out. In fact if you’re diligent, you can do it without chemicals OR home remedies by just picking out the nits. There are services in or area who will do it all in one three hour sitting. But most parents want that magic bullet one-time cure and it doesn’t exist in any form … Unless, of course, the victim is a boy … Then I think I’d just shave the little guy’s head and be done with it.

    • Michelle

      I agree, but just to add my GP said the problem is head lice have a seven day cycle, and what most parents do is the one treatment and miss out the one that should really be done the next week. I’m not sure if others are told this via school or anything, but it makes sense. Also the fine combing and picking out the eggs is tiresome, and people do give up on that pretty quick and probably too quick if takes a week or too to be clear. A hair dresser friend of mine says also she uses product (gel/hairspray) everyday and braids or keeps hair short and that seems to help a little with prevention. Bonus: kids have cool hair.

      I think Dr Amy has hit on a great analogy here using the same arguments for different conditions, I’d never thought of it that way and it shows pretty well the difference in attitude and ideas there.

    • FormerPhysicist

      No no no to oils and smothering. If you are trying to smother the lice (which doesn’t really work, it takes them around 36 hours to die) then the cap needs to be air-proof. In the Boston area there was just a 3-year-old that died because the plastic bag her parents were using to keep the mayonnaise on her hair and smothered slipped over her head. Absolutely horrifying and tragic.

  • Amy

    Oh, Dr. Amy. Silly you, making sense and expecting the natural-at-all-costs crowd to get it. They don’t.

    Check out Exhibits A and B, and these were just two of many that I found:

    http://www.mothering.com/forum/11-natural-body-care/421535-lice-treatment.html

    http://www.undergroundhealth.com/eliminate-head-lice-simple-safe-natural-remedy/

    If there’s one constant in the world, it’s that there will always be some crunchier-than-thou parent recommending tea tree oil for SOMETHING.

    • Stacy48918

      The stupidity never ceases to amaze.

      I’ll also correct another error posted there – pets CANNOT catch lice from humans, and vice versa. Lice are species specific. IOW…if someone catches crabs…don’t blame the dog! πŸ˜›

      • Nick Sanders

        If someone catches crabs and blames the dog, I think infidelity is the least of the problems at that point.

    • yugaya

      “I feel I have regained control of my life after using this method of

      lice control.”

      Headdesk is such an understatement for what I am inclined to do after reading that sentence.

  • Captain Callie

    Ha, this reminds me of the hardcore anti vax mom I know who got all indignant at the mom who brought her kid to a play area with pink eye.

    • tonya

      While I agree that it is a douche move to bring your kid to play with pink eye, she didn’t see the irony in that at all? Actually pink eye is a far better comparison than lice.

      • Stacy48918

        Anti-vaxxers never see the contradictions in things they believe and do. My ex-hubby was all about supplements and vitamins and quack stuff with little or no testing or efficacy…but railed against the “lack of safety” of vaccines or, when reading a news article about an outbreak, was always quick to point out exactly how many vaccinated individuals got the disease as evidence that vaccines don’t work.

        These people aren’t THINKING, they’re FEELING.

        • tonya

          Perhaps that is why they irritate me so much. I can’t stand iillogical reasoning. I understand caring for you child’s safety, but life is all about risk assessment. You must decide what would be less risky. And while there is a slight risk of allergic reaction (just as there is with every food your child tries for the first time) and such, and you don’t see diseases most assume the higher risk is the former. for granted the fact that it would be the latter if everyone chose that same thought. And I don’t see parents not feeding their child a variety of foods simply because of the off chance they may be allergic. And they seem to not realize the off chance of developing an autoimmune disorder(such as guillian barre) from getting any sort of infection. So I don’t believe they understand the same risks will always be there regardless of the decision, except or the fact they if they give them a vaccine there is the 99% chance they won’t get that disease.

          • tonya

            I apologize for the horrible wording and apparent grammar. It is difficult to type a large comment on a phone lol

        • George O

          Case in point: the first post to this article (It’s by Jim. #comment-2782401552)

          Logic dictates that Jim would say parents should be allowed to keep sending a kid with live lice to school.

          Jim doesn’t think that because Jim isn’t thinking logically. Anti-vaxxers are unable to think logically about such things.

    • Trixie

      Oh man, my preschooler has passed me pinkeye twice so far this winter. Ugh. Maybe I should relactate so I can squirt some breastmilk into it?

  • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

    Some of those “natural” home treatments can be deadly. An 18 month old girl died last week in western Massachusetts when her parents put mayo and a plastic bag on her head and put her to bed. The bag slipped over her face and she suffocated…

    • Young CC Prof

      What a tragedy.

      But seriously. A plastic bag? It didn’t occur to the parents that there might be a hazard there?

      Anyone out there who’s considering a suffocation treatment for lice, you don’t need a plastic bag to make it work! Mayo and a towel would probably work fine!

      • Mishimoo

        Cheap conditioner and cling wrap (saran wrap) is what I use – leave it on for 30-60 minutes, comb out with a fine tooth comb (rinsing/wiping the comb as needed), and the head lice are doomed. No way to build up resistance, no gross smells, no dramas, and lovely silky hair afterwards. Why they used mayo and a plastic bag at bedtime is beyond me.

        Edited to add: The reason I mention resistance is that when I was a kid, we caught head lice BAD. Used everything that was available from the chemist, combed through, on time, on a rotation, and nothing shifted them. They only got worse. My mother wanted to shave my head and did shave my brother’s. When we moved interstate, a friend told us how she treated them, and that’s when we changed to the conditioner + comb treatment. I’ve used it ever since.

        • Who?

          Just need to choose a conditioner that doesn’t provoke sneezing fits…

          • Mishimoo

            The berry one from Nature’s Organics (or whatever the brand is called now) works pretty well, but the apple one makes me sneeze so much.

          • Who?

            We’re past nits-or past the point where sorting them out is my responsibility-but as an aside, why is it that the cheap stuff has really strong scent and is often called ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ or simlar?

          • Mishimoo

            That always makes me giggle. I personally think it’s a marketing ploy since natural/organic are seen as ‘good’ and the price makes it affordable or a ‘bargain’, so people may be more likely to buy it based on the name and pricepoint.

      • GiddyUpGo123

        I don’t think you can suffocate them, or if you can how long it would actually take. I know they don’t drown in the wash (you need heat from the dryer to actually kill them). Even if suffocation worked on the adults, it would definitely not work on the nits.

        • Young CC Prof

          I’ve actually never tried to wipe out lice. Bed bugs, yes. (You don’t even need to wash the stuff, 15 minutes in a dryer on high works just fine. My husband and I spent an entire morning doing this to every piece of fabric we owned when we moved out of the building.)

          • GiddyUpGo123

            My daughter got lice during that preschool outbreak, so I am waaaay more of an expert than I ever wanted to be. But also happy to say that getting rid of them is extremely doable.

            Bed bugs, on the other hand, terrify me. When we travel I am obsessed in a very unhealthy way with checking every bed in every hotel, and I pack everything in plastic, store luggage in the bathrooms and literally will not let anything back in the house until it’s been thoroughly inspected and deemed bed bug free.

          • Samantha06

            I hear you on the bed bugs! Gross! I was in a hotel once and got bit by bed bugs. I freaked out! Thank God I had put my luggage in the bathroom when I first checked in, so I knew it was probably OK. Still, when I got home, I stripped in the garage, everything went into the washer on steam clean, and I threw the suitcase out just to be sure!! I’m obsessed with checking hotel beds too! I usually pull the mattress up, and especially lift the fake headboard up off the wall, apparently that’s a great hiding place for them… *shudder*….

    • Samantha06

      OMG, that is horrible… I can’t imagine what possessed them to use a plastic bag, though…

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      OK, I used to always get peeved at my folks at home because they were obsessive about not playing with plastic bags, but then again, I was like 10. An 18 mo and a plastic bag have no business being anywhere near each other.

    • momofone

      That is heartbreaking.

    • Liz Leyden

      I live in a fairly crunchy area. The parents who treat head lice with oils usually cover the head with a shower cap, not a plastic bag.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Still unacceptable for a toddler

  • Guest

    OT: interesting article in The Washington Post about a hard core anti vaxxer who now vaccinates herself and her family. I loved her insight into herd immunity.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-i-changed-my-mind-about-vaccinating-my-children/2015/02/06/8ccd3076-abd6-11e4-9c91-e9d2f9fde644_story.html

    • Samantha06

      That’s great. It just underscores the fact that anti-vaxxers, home birthers, etc, just don’t get it until they have personal experience with severe illness or death. This woman got a reality check when her child was in the NICU. It’s sad that it takes something that drastic for people to get it.

  • demodocus’ spouse

    Application of coconut oil will fix both! //sarcasm//

    • sdsures

      Don’t forget essential oils! Or maybe breast milk thickened with a little corn starch or flour.

      • momofone

        Are you kidding? With all the GMO corn and wheat in the world? I think you’d want to find something a little more natural!

  • Rosanna

    Yet another stupid article, comparing lice treatments to vaccine?? Lice can be treated with olive oil and doesn’t require harsh chemicals at all. Thanks for showing us what a true QUACK real is. Here’s an article written by an actual Dr., who (shock!) used facts and statistics. Take a read and let her show you how to write an article so you don’t keep looking so foolish.

    http://mobile.wnd.com/2015/02/how-vaccine-hysteria-could-spark-totalitarian-nightmare/#KsErOfwh4PbydPVv.03

    • yugaya

      A dr. who perpetuates the lie that VAERS figures based on the number of self-reported-supposed vaccine injuries and deaths are the same as properly documented and confirmed cases of vaccine injuries and deaths? The fact that she is an actual doctor only proves that well, there are unethical lunatics in all walks of life.

      • Rosanna

        Why is it a lie when she states where you can find the same information?

        • yugaya

          Is the number of all reports to the police by people concerned that a criminal act occurred equal to the actual number of criminal acts that were committed and confirmed as such via proper investigation into these claims?

        • Sullivan ThePoop

          If you cannot figure out why it is wrong then you are more lost than most antivaxxers.

        • Guestelehs

          Someone once submitted a report to VAERS that a vaccine caused them to turn into the Incredible Hulk. It wasn’t removed for a long time. Literally anyone can claim anything in VAERS. It’s only intended as a way for people to submit complaints, it doesn’t mean those complaints have any validity.

    • momofone

      I’m not sure Dr. Tuteur is the one “looking so foolish” here.

      • Rosanna

        You are so right! The Dr. Who conducted research is far more foolish than the Dr. Who just compared lice treatments to vaccines. And for the record, chemical lice treatments don’t work anymore. The bugs have become resistant to them. I volunteered at a school and treated children myself with natural methods and – gasp!!!! – it worked. But you are right…the doctor who wrote this article – who hasn’t even practiced medicine in years, is correct. We should listen attentively to every word she says.

        • yugaya

          Good thing you’re smarter than all of them put together, all those doctors doing research on vaccines, all those doctors who recommend vaccination as the means to stop or curb vaccine preventable diseases, all those scientists in the labs, all those public health authorities….your little lice anecdata trumps all of that.

          • Rosanna

            Unfortunately you all seem to be missing the point. The research is out there and if willing, you could find it. The point I am trying to make here is that we as parents should question what goes on. The theme of this entire site is about a doctor who is skeptical…so isn’t it a good thing for people to be skeptical and try to find the best solution for their families? I am open minded and I do see an MD, but I also incorporate holistic methods. Why are people so afraid to acknowledge that perhaps they aren’t being as informed as they could be? Doctors aren’t superior…they are humans like the rest of us. Some doctors are amazing, and some aren’t. Some natural doctors are amazing and some are not. My daughter did get lice this year. I did listen to the advice of my MD and got her the chemical treatment, as she advised me. I listened to and trusted her. Unfortunately, it didn’t work, as I soon learned that many lice bugs have built up a resistance to the treatment. I then, very skeptically, tried olive oil…thinking it couldn’t possibly work – and I was surprised that it did. Do I distrust my Doctor now? No, she gave me her best advice and I followed it, but I was also open minded to try other things. What’s the harm in that? I think it is terrible that some kids can’t get vaxxed…but instead of having them rely on herd immunity, can’t they come up with a formulation that doesn’t have death as a side effect?

          • yugaya

            “isn’t it a good thing for people to be skeptical and try to find the best solution for their families?”

            In matters that are public health? No, it is not the best solution. Think in terms of an epidemic of a highly contagious and deadly disease, and all the dangerous and irresponsible things individuals or individual families would do despite quarantine measures because it is more convenient or better for them personally. For the life of me I can’t understand why people like you can’t see vaccines as part of that exact package of being a responsible, adult member of a social group far larger than you, your kids, or your family and accepting your share of direct responsibility for the benefit of everyone.

          • Rosanna

            I guess it’s the same reason why people like you refuse to see how harmful this can be. There have been more deaths due to the vaccine than measles itself. End point. You don’t have to believe me. The information is out there, but people who avoid reality have issues looking for further information. I wish all vaccines work, but if they are so safe, they shouldn’t be killing people. I think you would sing a different tune if you were one of the parents who lost a child as a result of a vaccine. What do you say to those parents? Doctors are the experts and superior? Aren’t they also responsible for the painkiller addiction epidemic, for consistently over prescribing pain killers and creating and enabling addictions? Some doctors are amazing, some are crap, regardless of the letters after their name. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to hang out with normal people who have open minds and don’t listen to quacks like this.

          • yugaya

            ” There have been more deaths due to the vaccine than measles itself.”

            On what planet would that be?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            See, Amy? Anti-vaxxers DO have imagination!!!!

            They can imagine, somehow, that “there have been more deaths due to the vaccine than measles itself.”

            Actually, that’s not just imagination. That is a completely different planet of reality, as yugaya says.

          • yugaya

            I think that she truly has no idea what VAERS figures represent at all or that it is just the record of all submitted unofficial initial reports of any adverse reactions following vaccination. It’s just something that she has seen as a fact repeated over and over and she has never had any need to think about it at all before jumping on here. Yes, everyone can click on the VAERS database and get those same numbers that she is citing, and that is somehow proof to her that the false claims antivaxxing advocates attach to those numbers are true as well.

            Rosanna, this is what VAERS numbers are:

            ” Reports of all possible associations between vaccines and adverse events (possible side effects) ”

            This is what VAERS numbers are not:

            “The report of an adverse event to VAERS is not documentation that a vaccine caused the event.”

            And this is why VAERS numbers MUST be way higher that the actual confirmed and documented numbers of adverse reactions to vaccines:

            ” vaccine providers are encouraged to report all adverse events following vaccination, whether or not they believe the vaccination was the cause.”

          • Stacy48918

            “You don’t have to believe me. The evidence is out there”

            No it’s not, which is why we don’t believe you.

          • yugaya

            I think she means it’s “out there” as in: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=out+there

          • Stacy48918

            Ha!

          • Stacy48918

            “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to hang out with normal people who have open minds and don’t listen to quacks like this.”

            Stick the flounce, stick the flounce, stick the flounce…

          • Guesteleh

            Even if it were true that there are more deaths due to the vaccine than the disease in recent years (I’d like to see a source for that), it’s because the vaccine works! Once you stop vaccinating measles deaths will far outnumber all deaths that occurred because of the vaccine. The RATE of deaths from measles is exponentially higher than the RATE of death from vaccines.

          • momofone

            “There have been more deaths due to the vaccine than measles itself.”
            Source? (Credible source–Natural News doesn’t count.)

            “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to hang out with normal people who have open minds and don’t listen to quacks like this.” Translation: No one here is willing to accept my word as scientific evidence, so I’m going to flounce out of here, but I want to make sure they notice I’m gone.

          • Nick Sanders
          • GiddyUpGo123

            I love Snopes.

          • Poogles

            “Why are people so afraid to acknowledge that perhaps they aren’t being as informed as they could be?”

            “The information is out there, but people who avoid reality have issues looking for further information.”

            “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to hang out with normal people who have open minds and don’t listen to quacks like this.”

            Oh, the irony.

          • A

            Doctors have SUPERIOR education to the rest of us, that’s the point. You can’t have every single job that exists – you need to rely on people who have information that you don’t, not the opposite “I know things doctors don’t about health” approach.
            We can’t live in a world where vaccines are 100% effective and 100% of the population can be vaccinated – not with vaccines, not with any medicine. But we got pretty damn close, and are still working to improve them further. We we will ALWAYS need herd immunity, because nothing will ever work perfectly. Unless, that is, the disease doesn’t exist anymore. So far that has only happened thanks to high rates of vaccination, world-wide.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            Oil does work well, as does picking out the eggs with no treatment. It just takes longer.

          • Actually, conditioner lavishly applied, and a lice comb with the finest teeth available can do the job. Section the hair and comb through every section until no more lice are in evidence. Continue to do this every other day for two weeks [to catch nits which hatch]. The conditioner [oh no, gasp, a CHEMICAL!] doesn’t kill the lice but it does make it easier to comb out the hair.

            A really natural treatment which works 100% of the time but is a bit drastic is shaving the head.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            Same with any kind of oil really. It just makes nit combing easier

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            A really natural treatment which works 100% of the time but is a bit drastic is shaving the head.

            That’s what we did, but he was 2 1/2 years old in the summer, so not a big deal.

          • KarenJJ

            That’s what we do. Haven’t found any nits yet, but I get out the conditioner and do a proper check when we get nit notices from school. Also, luckily, both my kids prefer having very short hair. The conditioner (and presumably olive oil) is meant to slow the nits down and make the nits easier to catch.

          • Samantha06

            “so isn’t it a good thing for people to be skeptical and try to find the best solution for their families?”

            Absolutely.. but not at the expense of others. Of course you should question. But listening to unscrupulous, so-called practitioners who outright lie and lay-people is not a good thing when it comes to important health care decisions and especially when they impact public health. Not vaccinating your kids involves accepting responsibility for how your decision affects public health.That involves accepting a moral responsibility to protect others as well. If that means self-imposed or mandatory quarantine to protect others, then that is a fair trade-off. If physicians turn you away for your decision, that is their choice and you have to deal with that. They need to protect the vulnerable and immunocompromised. So, are you making a truly informed decision or are you making a decision based on pseudoscience and ignorance or because maybe someone fueled your fears?

          • Nick Sanders

            “The research is out there and if willing, you could find it. ”

            But it’s not yugaya’s job. You made the positive claim, you’re the one responsible for providing evidence for that claim.

        • A

          Everything is made of chemicals, for goodness’s sake! Everything on Earth can be considered a part of nature as well, so it’s not like it means much.

          Also: How? It’s easy to say “They don’t work anymore, they have become resistant to them!” But explain how did that happen. I want to hear it.

          • Rosanna

            The same way we build resistance to antibiotics and they don’t work anymore. You don’t have to believe me…I am not asking you to. I am just asking you guys to be a little more open minded, that’s all.

          • A

            But see, that’s the matter. It’s not a matter of belief. It’s a matter of fact. If that is a thing that happens, there’s proof. There’s proof showing it happens that can convince any reasonable person. Could you link to any of it, or is your claim only based on anecdotical evidence? Can lice evolve as fast as bacteria?

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            We don’t build resistance to antibiotics

          • just me

            The bugs (bacteria) become resistant. Not us.

        • Dr Kitty

          Some lice a resistant to permethrin and malathion.
          You can still wet comb or use dimethicone.

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22627039
          Genetic resistance, however, does not completely correlate with treatment failure.

          • Stacy48918

            I think if my kid ever gets lice, I’ll just use a canine topical tick product. Lots more options beyond pyrethrins. πŸ˜›

            /kidding of course

            Hmmmmm….I wonder if there are any reported secondary cases of permethrin toxicity in cats exposed to human lice treatments….interesting….

            Random factoid – cats can’t process permethrins and it’s neurotoxic for them…don’t let your kitty around your lice-treated kid. πŸ™‚

          • Who?

            I’m sorry to say in the darkest days of infestation I did tentatively raise this with the gp and the vet….they both gave me what I’d call the hairy eyeball and moved smoothly on to less stupid topics.

          • Stacy48918

            Oh, believe me…I’ve heard FAR more stupid topics clients have broached than that. That’s actually a rather intelligent type of question to ask. πŸ˜›

          • Kesiana

            My family suffered a flea infestation last year after a screw-up with the cat’s anti-flea treatment; it took MONTHS to get rid of them all.

            At one point, I was longingly asking the internet if there are effective flea collars for humans… (Answer: no, because they irritate the skin. I still seriously considered using them as ankle bracelets over pants. >_>)

          • Amy M

            I worked in a couple of kennels during college breaks, which included summer, wearing shorts—and of course getting bitten by fleas. (One of the kennels had some space they rented to an animal control officer and there were a bunch of stray cats in there.) I would paint a stripe of the flea shampoo we used on the dogs on my ankles around the tops of my socks—totally worked.

          • just me

            Permethrin is natural though! (Seriously)

          • Mishimoo

            So are lilies, but they still cause renal failure in cats.

          • just me

            I know. That’s my point. Natural doesn’t always mean good and synthetic isn’t always bad. Everything is traceable back to the Big Bang anyway Leo really it’s all natural.

          • namaste863

            My thoughts exactly. Whenever someone says “It’s natura!” (With the implication of “ergo, it’s good for you”) my reply is “Yeah, so is Arsenic. It’s a naturally occurring element, and it will kill you every bit as dead as swallowing a bottle of liquid plumber.”

        • LibrarianSarah

          Someone failed chemistry in high school.

        • just me

          Natural does not mean chemical free.

        • GiddyUpGo123

          Actually Doctor Who would just use his sonic screwdriver on them. I’m pretty sure no louse could stand up to that.

    • LibrarianSarah

      I am sorry did you just cite Wing-nut Daily?

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      But, Rosanna, what about parents philosophically opposed to harming lice? Should they be allowed to expose your children to lice at school, the playground, etc.?

      • Rosanna

        Unfortunately, “doctor” – I haven’t come across one. You and I both know your analogy is crap. You can’t even compare the two.

        • Amy Tuteur, MD

          See, that’s what I mean about anti-vaxxers having difficulty with imagination.

          My analogy is terrific. How do I know? Because you are flailing around, unable to counter it.

          • Rosanna

            I am countering it, because there is no such parent refusing to treat lice. No flailing…why don’t you ever answer any questions I pose? Avoidance.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I am countering it, because there is no such parent refusing to treat lice.

            But how would anti-vax parents respond if someone did?

            That’s the question.

          • Rosanna

            I guess I’ll ask them when that happens…which will be never. Why don’t you talk about something real?

          • Nick Sanders

            Do you grasp the concept of a “hypothetical situation”?

          • Stacy48918

            YOU just refused effective “chemical” lice treatments in favor of useless olive oil!

          • Rosanna

            I didn’t refuse it…sorry that you haven’t read. Tried it, didn’t work, olive oil worked. Sorry you don’t believe it.

          • Stacy48918

            You’re right. I don’t believe your anecdote. We prefer actual evidence here. Have any? Studies on the efficacy of olive oil compared to permethrin treatments?

          • just me

            In case you weren’t aware, olive oil and all other matter is comprised of chemicals.

          • Froggggggg

            It’s beside the point of the analogy, really, but yes, I have encountered parents refusing to deal with lice. I became a reluctant expert in treating lice last year because my daughter had the misfortune of being in a class with kids whose parents wouldn’t deal with lice. Mind you, the refusal wasn’t based on any philosophical objections per se. It was pure laziness and “don’t care, can’t be bothered, it’s too hard, no one can make me, the lice don’t really hurt them” attitude.

            (For the record, because I know more about this than I would like, thanks to the above-mentioned parents: Lice can be treated with pretty much anything slippery that you can comb through hair – oil, mayo, conditioner, whatever. The operative word is combing. You need to comb out the nits and the live lice. I’ve always been able to get on top of the problem with cheap conditioner, a good nit comb, and lots of patience. Lice can become immune to treatments, both chemical and natural (such as tea tree oil), but they can’t fight being temporarily paralised by something like conditioner, and being removed from the hair. I’m not sure if chemical treatments kill the nits so you don’t have to do all the combing, but wouldn’t that look icky anyway?

          • guest

            It happened in my niece’s school! Now what!?
            And I actually remembered this story while reading Dr.Amy’s article about freedom the other night!

          • just me

            That’s the FUCKING point. No one would refuse lice treatment because that would be ridiculous. Which is exactly what dr amy and other responsible doctors and parents and humans think about anyone who would refuse to vaccinate their kids—that’s FUCKING RIDICULOUS!

      • Rosanna

        Have you….has anyone reading this thread ever encountered a parent who refused lice treatment on their children? I am thinking NO, although I could be wrong..if you haven’t – then your article is useless. Instead of perpetuating hate between anti vaxxers and pro vaxxers, why not use your platform to bring people together. The common denominator it both sets is actually the same. They all want what is best for their kids. Pro vax do do to protect their kids – should they be seen as irresponsible if they do no research at all and only listen to you? Anti vaxxers aren’t the ones to blame. It is the medical industry who has let people down time and time again…that is why people are reluctant to take what people tell them to be fact. Why can’t both sides be discussed without bias??

        • yugaya

          “anti vaxxers and pro vaxxers, why not use your platform to bring people together”

          If those those (to you) two equal sides of this debate were equally represented on that platform, organising such a meeting would not be advisable – you would not want the people who are vaccinated but their vaccine did not take, or those who for medical reasons could not be vaccinated and are relying on herd immunity far greater than 50% to catch some VPD off of such large cluster of antivaxxers.

        • Neya

          Rosanna: you are not understanding the point of the article. It is an analogy between what anti-vaxx parents would do if children are exposed to lice (not very dangerous, not very contagious – but, big reaction), versus what they would do if they are exposed to a dangerous, extremely contagious, entirely preventable disease.

        • Kq

          That’s the entire point, you nitwit.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I’m reminded of the sketch from SNL when Steve Martin is a smart caveman, and he’s trying to tell the other cavemen how to better catch bison.

            Strange One So, come over here and look at this.. [ jumps to the
            ground to grab some rocks, as Oakna dumbly steps into the fire again
            and howls ] Let’s say that we represent the rocks – these rocks are us.
            Now, we’ll put them around in a circle, like this, and this.. [ holds up large rock ] ..will be the bison, alright? Now, whichever way the bison runs, he’ll run into one of us!

            Oakna: [ pause ] We are not rocks.

            That’s Rosanna.

          • Kq

            You mean this? (Sorry it’s poor quality, it’s been messed with to evade the content bots)
            http://youtu.be/-FotYss3fRo

          • Trixie

            I’ve never looked up the etymology of “nitwit” but I’d say Rosanna has the wit of a nit….

        • momofone

          Partly because they are not equivalent sides. As someone stated earlier, sometimes the truth does not lie in the middle.

        • Oh, I have seen parents refuse to treat. When my son was in pre-school, his class had a really bad outbreak, so the principal sent letters home to organize a “lice day” in which ALL the children, and ALL their siblings would be treated, to try and break the cycle. Parental indignation was high — “MY child” didn’t need treatment, it was “brought into the kindergarten by someone else’s child and only that child should be treated”. Angry parents also told me that “everyone knows” that lice come from the sandpits, and weren’t transferable between children [!!!]

      • sdsures

        Won’t someone think of the lice????

    • Actually, lice CAN’T be successfully treated with olive oil. It’s a myth. [I’ve had a lot of experience with lice; it is endemic here in the lower grades]
      Another “recommended”, “all-natural” [?!] method is a mixture of kerosene, vinegar and parafin oil. That doesn’t work, either.

      • Sullivan ThePoop

        Oils do help with the treatment of lice. they are used as an adjuvant to nit combing. Nit combing is the actual treatment

      • Samantha06

        What is the purposed of the kerosene? I’ve heard that one before, but I always wondered about that!

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          It makes the hair burn more effectively…

          • Samantha06

            Haha! I was going to post a similar snarky comment, but you beat me to it!! Damn! πŸ™‚

          • Samantha06

            And that parafin oil would really get it going…. !

          • Ha, ha. Kerosene is supposed to kill the nits. What it actually does is ulcerate the scalp. However, you can smell your kid from a block away, so you always know where he is.

          • Who?

            Which is handy because you know where the child is in relation to any naked flames that happen to be around.

    • Actually, lice can be treated not at all with olive oil. Lice can be treated with a nit comb, liberally applied over at least two weeks. The oil just helps make the combing process more effective.

      But if you’re treating lice by just putting oil on your or your kid’s head, you’re not going to kill any lice. You’re just going to have a really, really bad infestation.

      • Rosanna

        Yes, obviously with a nit comb. And I did use olive oil and it did work.

        • Wren

          The olive oil didn’t do anything but provide some lubrication for the comb. The combing is what gets rid of them.

        • Nonono. The olive oil didn’t work. The comb worked. The comb without the oil works, though the oil helps make the comb easier. The oil without the comb does precisely nothing. You are identifying the wrong active ingredient here.

          Combing for nits works out quite well. Using oils to make it easier works quite well. If you just toss oil on a kid’s hair, the kid will still have lice. If you tell people you solved your lice problem with olive oil, you’re just wrong.

    • Neya

      Wow, I just checked the link Rosanna posted… Totally ridiculous claims. I had not seen as big of quack in a while. Thank you for the laugh.

      • Rosanna

        Why are they considered claims? These are her research findings? Whereas this article and the others are purely based on her opinion – no fact at all…

        • yugaya

          Rosanna,

          THAT is not real research or how/where real researchers publish their findings. The journal where she originally published her rubbish article on this topic is not even indexed or listed anywhere where reputable sources on medicine are found.

          • Who?

            This is in fact the trouble with ‘bring us all together’ as a concept. There is so little common ground.

            We all want what’s best for our families. That is going to be different for everyone: for some it is avoiding VPIs, for others it is getting them, and using hospitals etc if necessary, for others it is getting them and letting nature take its course. Some people think they and their families are an island, and their choices don’t affect others, though they are happy to take the free ride provided by others who pay their tax and vax themselves and their kids.

            Some people think an article in a magazine from the health food shop is research, others think it is for wrapping the rubbish in.

            Some people think they can become an expert by reading the internet or by spending a year or two at a mail order academy. Those people are in error, but there doesn’t seem to be a good way of explaining that. Many of those people will seek out an actual doctor when things get bad, and good for them for doing that, some won’t and would rather die or let someone else die.

            We’re too far apart. Some value life and health, others value ego and luck.

    • Amy

      Sorry, you lost me at World Net Daily. What’s next, corroborating “evidence” from The Blaze and Info Wars?

    • Amy

      Also, you might want to consider your source a bit more. This doctor is a member of an organization that puts politics above science to a dangerous degree:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Association_of_American_Physicians_and_Surgeons

    • Amy

      And I’m not even a doctor, but I have a strong enough background in science and mathematics to pick apart almost all of her supposed “evidence.”

      1. Demonstrably false. There have been at least four measles deaths during the time frame she specifies and not a single proven case of a vaccine-caused death from the MMR vaccine.

      2. The only “sources” that link back to the EIGHTEEN YEAR OLD article she cites are all from anti-vax or politically conservative blogs. Further, we don’t know what confounding factors may be present (a common thread going through all of the points in this article) because no details are provided.

      3. No citations provided whatsoever. Hep B has not been on the required schedule long enough to do longitudinal studies considering the onset of MS is generally in adulthood.

      4. No further exploration of confounding factors?

      5. She cites a 33-year-old study to bolster her claim and then uses as “proof” that vaccines cause SIDS the fact that SIDS cases related to vaccination plummeted after the vaccination schedule changed. That proves absolutely nothing. It would be like my attributing my kids’ getting colds to car rides, stopping car rides, and therefore no longer attributing any colds they did get to car rides.

      6. She actually uses a self-reporting mail survey as evidence?

      7. She treats review and improvements to vaccines as some sort of proof that vaccines are abject failures. Compare the scientific community’s responses to problems discovered with vaccines to the way “natural” healers respond to problems with their treatments.

      She then goes on to cite as “evidence” that vaccines don’t work that certain percentages of people who contracted a particular disease had been vaccinated. But without knowing the percentages of people who’ve been vaccinated in the general population these numbers are meaningless. That said, even a cursory glance at the numbers she provided actually make the case FOR vaccination. For example, in her Iowa mumps anecdote, she claims the unvaccinated totaled around 3% of the population, yet they accounted for 6% of the mumps cases. That’s a 100% higher risk. Her numbers from the Australian outbreaks are even worse; 16-22% of the cases were in the unvaccinated, and vaccination rates were nowhere near that low.

      And then she tries to make the wholly unsubstantiated claim that healthcare reform, which centers around COMPENSATION and COVERAGE, is directly tied to public health vaccination programs, that Barack Obama is coming for your pure unvaccinated children. About the only thing she’s missing is that vaccines turn you into a socialist.

  • namaste863

    I was lucky enough to escape head lice as a kid. Even though I’ve never experienced it, I’m more than aware that they exist and are super gross.

  • Cobalt

    I wish there was a vaccine for lice!

    • Lauren

      They wouldn’t get it!
      Ha.

      seriously though….there’s that chemical you put directly onto dog’s skin to prevent fleas, ticks, and other parasites. And it works! Haven’t had a single flea or tick on any of my dogs, 10 years running (knock on wood). Wouldn’t it be great if there were a similar product for lice? Just a drop or two on the scalp, and you’re protected from lice.
      I really hope someone is working on that.

      • momofone

        We also give our dog a pill once a month that prevents flea infestations. Flea vaccine? Sign me up!

      • Cobalt

        Hair spray, hair dye, and silicone based hair treatments all reduce your lice risk by making your head less appealing and making it harder for nits to attach to the hair shaft.

        In fact, on an active infestation, silicone based detangler/shine spray is a viable treatment option. You have to SOAK the hair and scalp and leave it on for a while, and it makes the bathroom floor really slippery if you don’t put towels down. So messier and slower than pesticide based treatments, but combing the little buggers out is easier and it doesn’t dry out the hair.

        • Cobalt
        • Who?

          That’s how we stopped our daughter getting re-infested during and after the conditioner treatments. Hair mousse, roots to tips, then into pulled into a tight ponytail. Mind you she nearly took a few kids eyes out with that thing, but as long as she wore her hair like that to school, no more lice.

          We just figured that if anyone lost an eye, they weren’t meant to see bifocally.

      • Amy

        Capstar! Our cat is indoor, so fleas are a rarity around here, but when he did get them the Capstar took care of them in no time.

        • Stacy48918

          Capstar is great in the short term, starts killing fleas in 15 minutes…but doesn’t actually manage infestations unless you’re giving it daily because it only lasts 24 hours. ETA: and doesn’t treat eggs, larvae, etc. or intestinal or heart worms.

          My fav is Revolution. No fleas, no worms, no heartworms. πŸ˜€

          • Who?

            We use a great one, Comfortis, once a month, kills those fleas stone dead. Or at least sends them packing.

          • Stacy48918

            I’m just paranoid about worms – with little kids around I don’t want my cat carrying anything. Period. Plus, just *1* heartworm can be fatal in a cat. That’s often the first and only symptom – sudden death. So I’m all about loading my kitty up with chemicals to keep ALL the parasites at bay. πŸ™‚

          • Mishimoo

            When I was a kid, we had a staffy. My parents were anti-vaxxers and didn’t believe in pet healthcare. Of course, my darling dog ended up with heartworm, and they refused to have him treated properly. He was treated with prayer only, poor thing. Lasted longer than expected (he was given 3 months, lasted 3 years) and was shot because he had “cancer” (no vet visit). It most certainly wasn’t heartworm causing the symptoms, because that had been killed off with prayer. *eyeroll*

          • Stacy48918

            That’s really awful. πŸ™

            Thankfully I’ve never had a patient with advanced heartworm disease, just a bunch caught on routine screening. Unfortunately though, some wild strains have been found to have resistance to some of our preventive drugs. Might be popping up more soon…..

          • Mishimoo

            I sure hope not! It’s a truly terrible disease, and I’d hate for it to become common. My old boss has an advanced case preserved in a jar to show people who don’t think it’s a big deal.

          • Who?

            How do you screen for heartworm? The dog has an annual jab but I don’t know that we have ever had him screened.

            Saw our lovely vet this morning, it’s hayfever weather, the dog’s eyes are discharging faster than I can clean up his face, and he now has a staph infection above his nose. Big injection of antibiotics, no walks (in case he comes into contact with something and gets a secondary infection) and collar spiteful overnight all week.

            Lucky he’s happy despite all that, for now anyway.

          • Stacy48918

            Easiest is a counter test by Idexx – the SNAP 4Dx (conveniently enough also tests for exposure to Lyme, anaplasmosis and Ehrlichia). Takes just 3 drops of blood and 10 minutes. Great specificity (if it’s positive, they’ve got it) but lower sensitivity (can have false negatives). Not a function of the test itself so much as the disease. Takes at least 6 months from the bite of the mosquito until the test can detect the reproductive hormone from adult female worms in the heart. Takes at least 5 reproducing females to turn the test positive. So there’s a window of time that an infected dog will test negative, or if you have <5 females or a predominantly male population. But it's the best we've got.

            Standard of care is testing once a year, every year for life, starting at 6-7 months of age, and year-round heartworm prevention starting at 8 weeks of age, no matter where you live.

            More info: http://www.heartwormsociety.org

          • Trixie

            Do you worm indoor cats as well?

          • Stacy48918

            Absolutely.

            Mosquitoes carry heartworms and everyone has had a mosquito in their house at some point. Again – just takes *1* worm to kill a cat.

            You can carry eggs from intestinal worms into the house on your shoes, your dog could shed them (the dewormers your dog is on is not a preventive – it’s a monthly treatment), potting soils for houseplants can have worm eggs, some bugs carry worm eggs in their GI tracts (and lots of cats will hunt and eat bugs in the house)….and as much as people don’t like to think about it – if you have mice and an indoor cat there’s another source of exposure. Actually, I’ve diagnosed an owner’s house as having a mouse infestation before by finding mouse-carried tapeworms in their indoor only cat.

            Again, I have small children and things like ocular larval migrans are real. I don’t want my kid to get it from their cat. I think that human pedis likely don’t talk about this enough to parents (they have enough, I’m sure) – but they should be asking about what pets are at home and what preventions they’re on.

          • Trixie

            Blurgh. Guess I’ll starting worming the cat, too. He actually has had a tapeworm, but we believe he contracted it before we adopted him and the shelter missed it. Thanks!

          • Stacy48918

            Tapeworms can be hard to diagnose from regular fecal checks because the eggs aren’t free floating in the poo, they’re contained in the little rice segments you find on the animal’s butt.

            There are 2 species of tapeworms – one carried by fleas and contracted by swallowing the fleas, one carried by mice and ingested when the mouse is eaten. If your cat ever gets tapeworms again, save the little segments (proglottids) which are actually just little egg packets. Your vet can crush it, release the eggs and look at it under the microscope. The eggs of the 2 species are markedly different and its an easy diagnosis from there – then you’ll know if you have an underlying flea problem or rodent problem. πŸ˜›

            Doing this always impresses the clients and the staff. The little things I enjoy….I really am a dork!

          • Trixie

            Well, the vet diagnosed it when he got neutered a couple weeks after we got him…YES the shelter let me adopt him without checking if he had balls first, horrible shelter management I know, but he’s a really great cat and was worth a few temporary setbacks. Point being, he was out roaming around doing god knows what before we got him, and it probably had nothing to do with our house.

          • Mishimoo

            My favourite is Sentinel Spectrum. It takes a little while to clear out the fleas, but it does everything too and the dogs think it’s a treat. (Plus: heartworm!!)

          • Stacy48918

            It takes a while to clear the fleas because it doesn’t actually kill the adults. The “flea drug” in that – lufenuron – is a chitin inhibitor. Larvae can’t develop into adults. Works great for environmental management…but in the face of a infestation you need an adulticide too – give Capstar for 1-2 weeks along with the Sentinel, clear them out a lot faster πŸ™‚

            Ah parasites…. πŸ™‚

          • Mishimoo

            Yup! That’s exactly what I do when fleas show up on our dogs, because it’s what I used to recommend when I was working. Lufenuron is such a cool ‘drug’!

            Oh, you are going to laugh so hard – I live in an area with lots of biting midges. My dad visited, ignored my advice to either stay indoors or use bugspray, and ended up covered in bites. His ND insisted that they were actually flea bites, as evidenced by the ‘worm’ (skin fragment) under the scab because “the flea lifecycle has a human component, where the eggs are placed under the human skin by the adult biting it, the larvae grows quickly and escapes when the scab comes off.” (and no, apparently he was not thinking of botflies. It’s definitely fleas)

          • Stacy48918

            Wow. Just wow.

            Side note – Warbles/bots are really disgustingly fascinating. I haven’t had a good one in a while. πŸ˜›

  • Zen

    Thanks Dr. Amy, now I’ll be scratching my head all day from the phantom creepy-crawlies! Darn you!!!!

    Excellent analogy, by the way.

  • EllenD

    My children attended a fairly “crunchy” elementary school and lice outbreaks were very hard to control because most parents did not want to treat with traditional, proven methods because of most of the reasons you cited above. A lot of tea tree oil, olive oil, and coconut oil treatments. Unfortunately, anti-vax and hard to control lice outbreaks go hand in hand.

    • Lauren

      True. I’ve seen way too many parents swear by tea tree essential oil (don’t forget the ‘essential’ part, that’s what makes it better) and wrapping their kids’ head in wet cloths, or sometimes Saran Wrap.
      I know, I know… won’t the evil toxins from the Saran Wrap leech into the kid’s brain and give him…well everything?!?
      Sometimes they fail to see their own irony.

      But yes.
      Have had kids come to school with hair literally coated in beeswax and tea tree oil, with a note “Just make sure Timmy keeps his hands out of his hair – we are treating his head lice”.
      I’m very confident that a lot of anti-vaxxers could care less about getting lice — oh tra la la, just another day in the natural world where every living thing is in harmonious balance, and good vibes and happy thoughts will help to set it right!

      • Guest

        We just had a toddler die from this method. The child had a head covered with mayonnaise and Saran Wrap and then took a nap. The Saran Wrap ended up covering the face and the poor thing suffocated.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Seriously, “Wrap their head with saran wrap” and “leave them unsupervised” are two things that have no business being anywhere near each other.

      • just me

        Hate the smell of tea tree oil….

        • Who?

          And it can irritate the skin.

      • KarenJJ

        Some friends give their kids hair a squirt with a tea tree oil spray before school. They’re not crunchy but the kids also haven’t had nits since they started it. The Dad’s a bit of a joker and tells the kids it confuses the nits so that they’ll think their head is a tree and not land on them πŸ™‚

        • Lori

          Sounds like a dad joke…

    • Dr Kitty

      There is no reason crunchyness and lice need to go together.

      Wet-combing with a nit comb (ideally with hair coated in conditioner, but water is acceptable) FOR EVERY INCH OF THE HAIR, AT LEAST TWICE for each combing session, for EVERY MEMBER of the house, until every stroke of the comb is louse free, EVERY FOUR DAYS for AT LEAST TWO WEEKS after you see the last living louse works just as well as chemical bug killers.

      If the crunchy people aren’t dealing with the lice it is because they are too lazy or inept to properly implement non-chemical de-lousing.

      If you wet comb a head right it takes 30-90minutes for anything longer than a buzz cut.

      I didn’t say it wasn’t easy or convenient, but being “non chemical” is no reason to be covered in lice.

      • Wren

        I’ve done the wet combing on my daughter, who has hair down to her bum. It’s not easy, but it is doable. Conditioner helps. I’ve always thought the various oils recommended by the crunchy parents work just the way conditioner does.

        • Sullivan ThePoop

          They do work exactly the same way.

          • Dr Kitty

            Yep, but it is the COMBING, not the oils which are important.

            Unfortunately I got lice while on elective in India (hugging too many small children) somewhere with running water 5hours a day and a bucket to wash in.
            I still managed to get rid of the little bastards with the local coconut and neem oil concoction and a nit comb.

          • Dr Kitty

            I should add…
            When I finally got to the comparative luxury of the YWCA in Mumbai, I spent so long in the bath that the manager a) had to bang the door to check I hadn’t drowned and b) had to bring me a covered plate because I missed dinner.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            Exactly, the oil is an adjuvant to nit combing.

        • Amy M

          Ugh. One reason I am glad for sons. If/when they come home with lice, we’ll just shave their heads

      • Tosca

        My daughter’s school had resistant lice. I used to have to do the fine-tooth-comb-with-conditioner with my daughter…until I accidentally discovered that cheap semi-permanent hair colours kills lice and eggs. After that, a lice outbreak was fun for everyone (except the lice) because everyone got to dye their hair.

        • GiddyUpGo123

          Could you share the brand name?? I’d love to have that trick in my arsenal!

      • just me

        But water is a chemical! And conditioner is made of lots of chemicals!

      • Yes, yes, yes! But you missed the most important thing, Dr. Kitty! Getting the little darlings to sit still while you comb them.Videos help, but attention spans are short with small children.

        Remembering that children are bloodthirsty, and love to do gross things, I promised mine that the child who had the most lice could crush them [with a tongue depressor] after I finished combing them out, if they would sit still while I was at it. Believe me, it worked a treat.

  • Lemongrass

    I’m sure they’ll say something like “Because measles provides life long immunity!” “You can’t keep spreading measles over and over once you’ve had it” etc

  • A

    Oh, this is just perfect!

  • Kq

    Brilliant analogy! But now my head keeps itching from the thought.

    • SporkParade

      I was just thinking, “I should get a haircut soon in case my child brings home lice when he starts school in 5 years.”

    • Mishimoo

      Same here! And it’s reminded me to both check my girls hair, and re-dye my own.

  • Stephanie Heringer

    Exactly! I’m a school nurse and we get panicked parents all the time who call me up to say their kiddo got head lice at a friend’s sleepover and they want me to do a head check at the school. I’m am not going to walk into a classroom and pull a child out on information based on hearsay. My advice to them is call the parent themselves. I get teachers all panicked as well who want me to check the entire classroom based on a parent report. Nope, not gonna do it. At the beginning of the school year, I send out the facts about lice . . .no they do not fly for one. Thanks for this apt analogy. I love your writings. (I work hospice too).