Thursday, November 15, 2012

How to Prevent Head Lice

While looking for some other uses for Melaleuca oil, I came accross this amazing article on RM Barry Publications'. It's packed full of information on lice prevent and the dangers of pesticides.

It seems no sooner than you have said "back to school" and your child comes home infested with head lice (Pediculus humanus capitis). Why? Probably because it is estimated that 10-12 million children in the United States alone are affected each year. The number could even be much higher, because many cases are not reported to physicians, so there is no way of knowing for sure how many cases there actually are. According to Dr. Dirk M. Elston, M.D. from Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, PA, there is an epidemic of lice infestation, if not a pandemic, out there!1 And, the incidences of infestations, especially during the winter months, may be on the increase.2

Suffice it to say, if you have children in school, you probably have dealt with or probably will deal with at least one infestation of head lice. A few years ago, the outbreaks were blamed on the less fortunate of the population, but we now know that head lice are equally at home in any environment. Long hair, short hair, curly, frizzy, clean, greasy, you name it, those pesky creatures are not at all fussy. In fact, if you have hair they're happy! The good news is they cannot fly, jump, swim, pole-vault or hop. So, it is fairly difficult to become infested. They can, however, walk pretty fast! This is probably why elementary school children are the most likely to pass on a louse or two, because young children are quite tactile when interacting with each other. And that's all it takes!

Head lice are also passed around by children sharing hair and head accessories. Please teach elementary-school aged children not to share hairbrushes or hats. Check to see if your child's preschool has a dress-up station complete with hats. If so, you may want to forward this research report to the preschool staff!

Also be careful about hats in public places intended for communal use. One 7-year old girl became infested with lice after wearing a "birthday sombrero" at a restaurant for only the length of time it took the waiters to sing "Happy Birthday." Her parents realized she was infested days later.

One fertilized female head louse can lay up to ten eggs per day, which are literally glued to the hair shaft near to the scalp, incubating in the warmth of the child's head. The eggs (nits) take about seven to ten days to hatch into the first nymph stage. It takes another seven to ten days for the head lice to pass through two more nymph stages and become capable of laying eggs.3,4 Adult head lice have a life span of approximately four weeks, but can only live about 48 hours if they become separated from the human host. Unfortunately, by the time the head starts to really itch, the infestation has already taken hold. Both nymphs and adults feed every few hours on the host's blood, and it is their saliva, and possibly a reaction to their feces that causes the itching. In some cases, a rash may appear on the scalp and around the neck area. With constant scratching, it can become infected. Fortunately, head lice have not been known to carry any major diseases. They are only an irritation and not a threat to the host.5

It is ironic that the main threat to the infested child seems to be from the organophosphate poisons used on the child's head to control the infestation!6 Over-the-counter and prescription treatments containing organophosphates such as Lindane7,8,9 and Malathion10 are bioaccumulative, which means the organophosphates accumulate in the body. The initial treatment may not cause a problem. But a lice infestation can occur several times a year and a child may have many treatments during the course of their school days. Conversely, it has been known for a child to have a very nasty reaction from just one application.11 Recently, the FDA issued a strict warning letter to the maker of a Lindane lice treatment requesting a re-evaluation of its marketing materials. The FDA warned that the marketing materials "misled consumers by downplaying the rare, but serious, risks of the treatments." 12, 13

Children are at greater risk of neurological poisoning due to their small size and immature immune systems. Some schools operate on a "no nit policy" and your child could be sent home from school until he/she is completely free of lice and nits. The stigma could drive a parent to use these toxic poisons in an effort to get their child back into school. Even the treatments classed as less toxic such as the pyrethroids (e.g. permethrin and pyrethrin) can cause problems for susceptible people.14,15,16 But, it is more likely that they poison the child rather than the head lice! There are an increasing number of cases where the head lice are becoming resistant to these poisons.17,18

With all this in mind, parents can't be blamed for turning to the more unconventional treatments, and there are quite a few around, from combing a commercial brand of mouthwash through your hair to spreading lard on your head and donning a bath cap for three days (not something a child will easily do!). Therefore, it must be a comfort to know that Melaleuca oil19,20 is becoming a much more accepted treatment for head lice as more clinical studies are carried out. Both tepinen-4-ol 21 and cineole 1,8,22 the two major constituents in Melaleuca oil, have shown to help eradicate head lice.23

Many parents are supportive of a pesticide-free preschool environment. A summer 2007 report from PANNA (Pesticide Action Network North America) followed the efforts of one preschool during a head lice outbreak, and even recommends adding tea tree oil (Melaleuca oil) into shampoo or olive oil.24

And, because cases of scabies in schools are on the increase too2 it is good that Melaleuca oil is an effective eradication treatment for scabies as well.25

Before I finish this article I would like to give you some experiential, rather than anecdotal, information for clearing a head lice infestation. Last year, I treated my daughter's hair by saturating it with Melaleuca Original Shampoo for twelve minutes. She was quite squeamish at the thought of having a head full of dead and dying creatures, so I combed them out with a nit comb. Melaleuca Original Shampoo also conditions the hair, so it really is not an inconvenience.26 I actually repeated this at 5, 10, 15 and 20 days. On the 1st and 15th day, I added an extra three drops of Melaleuca oil to every tablespoon of shampoo (she uses quite a lot because she has long, thick curly hair). I have to stress here that when using Melaleuca oil it should initially be patch tested on a small area of skin to be sure your child does not have a reaction to it. I'm pleased to report that she has been free of head lice ever since. Knock on wood!

My family uses Melaleuca Original Shampoo on a daily basis which contains melaleuca oil and naturally repels lice without puting toxic chemicals on their scalps.  If you are wondering where to get some of this miraculous shampoo, shoot an email to me at with melaleuca shampoo in the subject box.

Research Report - Head Lice and Melaleuca Oil

Researched and Written by Karen MacKenzie 2006
Revised by RM Barry Publications' Jessica Alvarez 2008

Information retrieved November 15, 2012 from

1. "Lice" Fact Sheet Emedicine by WebMD.

2. Downs AM, Harvey I, Kennedy CT. The epidemiology of head lice and scabies in the UK. Epidemiol Infect. 1999 Jun;122(3):471-7.
3."What you should Know About Head Lice"
4. Here are some images of nits to help with accurate identification.
5. Frydenberg A, Starr M. Head lice. Aust Fam Physician. 2003 Aug;32(8):607-11.
6. "Jesse's Story" at
7. "Prescriptions For Harm"
8. Lindane: serious neurological effects. Prescrire Int. 2006 Apr;15(82):61.
9. Seth V, Ahmad RS, Suke SG, Pasha ST, Bhattacharya A, Banerjee BD. Lindane-induced immunological alterations in human poisoning cases. Clin Biochem. 2005 Jul;38(7):678-80
10. "Headlice Treatment Linked To Birth Defects"
11. "Malathion for scabies made user ill and didn't solve the problem"
12.Warning Letter to Morton Pharmaceuticals from the FDA FDA web site archives of warning letters. December, 2007.
13. FDA Cites Toxic Risk of Popular Head-Lice Drug.USA Today, Health & Behavior, January 31, 2008.
16. "Mother writes about Nix for headlice and her miscarriage at 8 weeks."
17. Downs, A.M.R., Stafford, K.A., Hunt, L.P., Ravenscroft, J.C. & Coles, G.C. Widespread insecticide resistance in head lice to the over-the-counter pediculocides in England British Journal of Dermatology 146 (1), 88-93.doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2133.2002.04473.x (2002)
18. "Head lice 'are becoming indestructible'" at
19. Melaleuca Oil for Head Lice at
20. Treatments for Head Lice by Tash Hughes, 2004.
21. Priestley CM, Burgess IF, Williamson EM. Lethality of essential oil constituents towards the human louse, Pediculus humanus, and its eggs. Fitoterapia. 2006 Jun;77(4):303-9.
22. Toloza AC, Zygadlo J, Cueto GM, Biurrun F, Zerba E, Picollo MI. Fumigant and repellent properties of essential oils and component compounds against permethrin-resistant Pediculus humanus capitis (Anoplura: Pediculidae) from Argentina. J Med Entomol. 2006 Sep;43(5):889-95.
23. Mills C, Cleary BJ, Gilmer JF, Walsh JJ. Inhibition of acetyl cholinesterase by Tea Tree oil. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2004 Mar;56(3):375-9.
24. When Lice Attack: How to Nip Nits in the Bud. Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA), Summer 2007.
25. Walton SF, McKinnon M, Pizzutto S, Dougall A, Williams E, Currie BJ. Acaricidal activity of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil: in vitro sensitivity of sarcoptes scabiei var hominis to terpinen-4-ol. Arch Dermatol. 2004 May;140(5):563-6.
26. "The Benefits of Tea Tree"

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Few Pics of Autumn in Vermont - 2012

Here's the remainder of my shots when we were at peak color.  I got up very early one morning in October, bundled my babies up, and head out on the road with camera in tow.  We drove around Northern Vermont to places like Lake Arrowhead where we sat and waited for the sunrise; then up to Stowe where we sat and waited for the fog to lift; the remainder of the day was a crisp, cloudless day and we enjoyed the sights on our drive home. 

Lake Arrowhead at Dawn
My favorite crane shot of the hues, lovely.

Lonesome Crane at Dawn
Railroad Crossing at Dawn
Sunrise over the Hills

The Steeple of Stowe
I saved the best for last.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Losing Weight, Feeling Great: Five Things You Can Do

This is the 2nd article in my weight loss series 
to read the 1st one, follow this link.

Click here to Print

Because I’m not a negative person by nature & would rather seek out the positive in life; I chose to keep my focus on what I can do instead of what I cannot.
About a year ago, I started making some changes in my life in order to feel better & in all honesty I was hoping to see smaller numbers when I stepped on the scale. Some of my motivations for wanting to lose weight were:
      • To rid myself of back pain 
      • To be able to jump, run, & play with my kids
      • To hike the Long Trail with my honey
      • To feel better in general
In order to accomplish my weight loss goals, I created the following task list...

1)  Take an inventory of your pantry – Donate anything and everything that is going to hold you back, keep you down, or knock you out. Send it to your local food bank, church or a neighbor in need.
I took inventory of my pantry and refrigerator and the results were frightful; boxes of sugary cereals, cookies/crackers, a myriad of carbs, and prepared meals high in preservatives. The list just went on from there and only got worse. It was no wonder I was still hanging onto the weight I had gained with the pregnancy of our 6th baby.
2)  Plan your meals ahead of time – It will help keep you from making unhealthy food choices on a whim; and the bonus is, you will save money, because it cost less to cook your own food, than to buy prepared meals, grabbing food at the gas station, or dining out.
Are you Meal Planning Yet?I invested in a life-time subscription to Menu Planning Central from Christine Steendahl at It took me awhile to get used to the website; but once I got into the swing of things, I began to save time and money with Christine’s easy to print recipes, menu planning tools, and grocery shopping lists. Christine also has available a selection of e-books to assist the gourmet-challenged. After having used her site for just a couple months and perusing through some of her e-books, my initial investment had paid for itself in the savings we recouped in our monthly grocery budget.

3)  Keep a stash of healthy snacks available in your pantry, your purse/diaper bag, your work desk, and on the go. 

  • I like to purchase a large bag of raw almonds and portion them out in sandwich baggies for an easy to grab snack on the go; walnuts are great too.
  • Cottage cheese is a good protein booster to keep handy and full of energy. It is less expensive to purchase the quart size containers and portion out in single servings to have ready to grab when a craving hits. For those with a sweet-tooth, you can add fresh or frozen fruit.
  • I have also ventured into making my own granola (which can have any number of dried fruit and nuts added to it) and yogurt. In the words of Rachael Ray, “Yummo”.
4)  Begin a workout regimen – If you’re just not sure where to start, go to your local gym and ask to speak to a personal trainer. See how much it would cost to just have one session in which they can do a basic assessment and help you to form a weekly workout routine that you can do at home.

In this arena, I did a few things: I contacted local trainer, Liza Rooney and asked her to do a fitness assessment on me and I began attending her Pilates classes. After having enjoyed Pilates for about 6 months, I was eager to try more of Liza’s classes. So I built up the nerve to go to her Body Pump class. Almost instantly, I began seeing a difference in how my clothes fit and my stature.

She really is an amazing trainer and knowledgeable in weight loss and nutrition; I highly recommend her to anyone in the northern Vermont area.

5)  Stay hydrated – Carry with you a reusable bottle and continually drink and refill it with water.

This was difficult for me, because I was in the habit of going through the drive-thru to grab a soda each time I left the house.  I had to train myself to take sips from the water bottle whenever I would get those soda cravings. I found that after a couple days, it began to feel more natural and less forced. I also found that I really like the flavor of cucumber/lemon infused water. 
Place 3-4 slices each of fresh cucumber and lemon into your water bottle at night and place it in the refrigerator. It makes it easy to grab on your way out in the morning instead of a cup coffee (or after the coffee, if you haven’t broke that habit yet). 
When I started out on this trek last year, I began using My Fitness Pal app & linked it to my blog so youcould see my progress. I’ve made some friends on the app that help to keep me motivated as time goes on. Feel free to check my progress on the side-bar; I started out with 30 pounds to lose.

"Make the decision, then do something - no matter how small - toward accomplishing what you want."
Author Unknown

Please leave a comment below,
I'd love to hear all about your weight loss challanges and successes.

More to come…
    • Goal setting & progress tracking printouts
    • The “Can Dos” of my new healthy fitness lifestyle 
    • The Benefits of Meal Planning 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Weight Loss Poem

I stumbled accross this little poem today and I thought it was cute,
and is keeping with the theme of the current weight loss series. 
 I hope you like it!

T'was the Month After Christmas

Twas the month after Christmas,
And all through the house,
Nothing would fit me,
Not even a blouse.

The cookies I'd nibbled,
The chocolate I'd taste
At the holiday parties
Had gone to my waist.

When I got on the scales
There arose such a number!
When I walked to the store
(less a walk than a lumber).

I'd remember the marvelous meals I'd prepared;
The gravies and sauces and beef nicely rared,
The wine and the rum balls, the bread and the cheese
And the way I'd never said, "No thank you, please."

As I dressed myself in my husband's old shirt
And prepared once again to do battle with dirt...
I said to myself, as I only can,
"You can't spend a winter, disguised as a man!"

So, away with the last of the sour cream dip.
Get rid of the fruit cake, every cracker and chip.
Every last bit of food that I like must be banished
Till all the additional ounces have vanished.

I won't have a cookie, not even a lick.
I'll want only to chew on a long celery stick.
I won't have hot biscuits, or corn bread, or pie.
I'll munch on a carrot and quietly cry.

I'm hungry, I'm lonesome, and life is a bore...
But isn't that what January is for?
Unable to giggle, no longer a riot.
Happy New Year to all, and to all a good diet.
Author Unknown

Here's to another day of staying motived! 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Losing Weight: Feeling Great

Have you ever noticed when someone tells you about their new diet, all they talk about is what they’re not allowed to eat? I certainly have; all I can say is that’s exactly why I don’t like trying out the new diets that come on the market.

In all, my honey and I have 6 kids; his, mine, & ours. After the birth of the first 3, I never had a problem losing the baby weight. I noticed as I aged, and we continued to have children, that the weight doesn’t just melt off like it did when I was younger. I believe I am experiencing that dreaded slowing metabolism everyone talks about. I’ve heard rumors that this process starts in your 30’s.

About a year ago, I started making some changes in my life in order to feel better & in all honesty I was hoping to see smaller numbers when I stepped on the scale.
Fresh Raspberries from our CSA

Some of my motivators were:
  •  Weight loss
  •  To rid myself of back pain
  •  To be able to jump, run, & play with my kids
  •  To hike the Long Trail with my honey
  •  To feel better in general

Because I’m not a negative person by nature & would rather seek out the positive in life, I chose to keep my focus on what I can do instead of what I cannot. After careful consideration and lots of instruction from my personal trainer, I compiled the following list things I can do.

  • Set goals
  • Eat 5-7 small meals a day
  • Buy locally grown organic foods, direct from farmers; join a CSA
  • Eat whole foods with no preservatives
  • Eat wild or free range meats: seafood, poultry, beef, lamb, and eggs with no added hormones or antibiotics
  • Drink organic almond milk or coconut milk: chocolate is my favorite
  • Eat organic Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, cultured butter (not margarine), whole cheeses, fresh and sour cream.
  • Use oils rich in omega 3’s: cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, sesame, flax, coconut and palm oils.
  • Eat raw, organic, fresh fruits and vegetables when available; frozen is second best.
  • Eat almonds and almond butter: they’re brain food
  • Prepare stocks by boiling veggies, bones of chicken, beef, lamb or fish and use it to make home-made soups and to saute foods.
  • Drink lots of water: add lemon, cucumber & mint, it’s divine.
  • Use Real salt (it’s pink not white) and fresh herbs
  • Make your own salad dressing using vinegar and olive oil or try home-made stock with Italian herbs and evoo.
  • Use natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, or agave syrup.
  • Become mobile: walk around the block, in the Mall, or on a treadmill. Anything that increases stimulation; I like riding my bike.

Our Blueberry Bush

When I started out on this trek last year, I began using My Fitness Pal  on my computer & linked it to my blog so others could see my progress. I’ve made some friends on the app that help to keep me motivated as time goes on. Feel free to check my progress on the side-bar; I started out with 30 pounds to lose. 

Soon to come… 
  1. Goal setting & progress tracking printouts
  2. The Can’s of a healthy fitness lifestyle
  3. Things to Avoid
  4. The Benefits of Meal Planning
  5. Some Yummy Recipes
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
Eleanor Roosevelt
A Peck of Goof-balls at the apple orchard

Feel free to leave a comment below,
I'd love to hear all about your weight loss challanges and successes.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Free Saving Money ebook from The Menu Mom

How to Save Money on Groceries

Christina over at The Menu Mom has released another awesome ebook.  She's letting this one go for free this time.  It's got a lot of great tips to saving money on groceries. 

I downloaded a copy myself & have found it quite useful so far. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Good Snow

It’s hard to believe that just two weeks ago I was complaining that it just doesn’t feel like winter in Vermont.  I had snapped this photo off my front porch and posted it on Facebook to let all my friends and family know that we haven’t had any significant snowfall and I was feeling gloomy.

I was a bit like child waking up on Christmas morning when I looked outside today and saw all the snow that fell overnight.  I could only manage to stay outside for a few minutes because it is downright frigid. But I did manage to snap a few photos to share with you.

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