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THERE are a growing number of parents who have turned to using animal flea treatments to fight head lice after seeing the practice promoted on social media sites, not realising the risks to their children that this type of self-medicating can pose to their children with dangerous insecticides.

The active ingredient of concern found in animal flea treatment products is called Fipronil.“Fipronil is a phenylpyrazole insecticide and acts to block the normal functioning of the central nervous system in insects and also mammals.” (WA Department of Health, 2008).

            According to the Beyond Pesticides website, symptoms of exposure/poisoning from Fipronil can include ,headaches,  nausea, dizziness, weakness, irritations, lethargy and convulsions. “Flea treatment products for pets are made for animal use only. In Western Australia, use of pet products contrary to the label directions is an offence under the Health (Pesticides) Regulations, 1956.” (WA Department of Health, 2008).

Pregnant women, nursing mothers and children with cancer, asthma or other allergies, or anyone with recent exposure to insecticides like Fipronil, should use an alternative to using poisons on their child’s scalp. The safest option for lice and nit removal is the chemical free option, like using hair conditioner.

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Source: http://www.newsmaker.com.au/news/30990/families-risk-nerve-damage-to-stop-nits-when-safer-options-are-available#.U7Nys5SSw2c  Accessed Wednesday 2 July 2014

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