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Bug be gone

12:06pm, November 20, 2006

An experimental device kills head lice by blow-drying them to death, offering a potential alternative to chemical treatments and tedious combing.

As lice have become resistant to chemical shampoos, scientists have been trying new approaches (SN: 8/20/05, p. 116: Available to subscribers at Comb over Chemicals: Tool may rid heads of pesticideproof lice).

Researchers tested several blowers against lice and their eggs, or nits, on 169 children with head lice. The scientists randomly assigned the kids to get treatment with one of several devices, including a bonnet-style hair dryer, a hand-held hair dryer, a wall-mounted hair dryer, and an experimental high-volume blower that has a special rake that lifts hair into the strong air stream. All devices blew warm air.

Applied for 30 minutes to the scalp, each device killed at least 88 percent of the nits, the researchers report in the November Pediatrics. But the high-volume blower also s

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