Stars are just like Us

Jennifer Garner reminded “Tonight Show” viewers on Wednesday that head lice can terrorize the rich and famous, too.

The actress, who is married to “Gone Girl” star Ben Affleck, said her whole family suffered through a lice infestation “years ago” when one of her daughters brought home the bug from school.


“Stars are just like us,” Garner joked (above) while warning Jimmy Fallon what may be in store for his own family. “We all got lice. It’s making me itchy just to talk about it.”

Garner — who can currently be see in theaters in Jason Reitman‘s drama “Men, Women & Children” — says she had to regularly comb oil through her hair, which led to an awkward encounter with George Clooney at a party Affleck took her to while she still had an oily head of hair.

The first person I see is George Clooney, and I’d never met George Clooney,” Garner said. “I can see that he smells me, but he’s trying to be polite. So anyway, people keep asking why we weren’t at George’s wedding, and we were ‘both working,’ but I think he didn’t want licey there.”

While visiting the NBC late night show, Garner also joined Fallon, drummer Questlove and comedian John Mulaney for a game of Catchphrase. Watch the segment, below, to see who won.

Five Secrets About Head Lice Every Parent Should Know

A nightmare common among parents with school-age children is one your family can avoid.

The Problem

A notice comes home from school about an outbreak of head lice. Head lice infestation is the most frequent health issue (after the common cold) facing children ages 3 to 11, with 12 million cases reported in the U.S. annually.

Expert Advice

School nurses, teachers and parents need to know  how to respond in the case of an outbreak. These five facts and tips can help you save time, worry and money, not to mention the misuse of potentially harmful pesticides.

• Today’s pesticide-based products have become largely ineffective. Lice have developed resistance to many of the over-the-counter treatments that have been around for years and in certain areas of the country, these “super lice” are the norm. All of Ladibugs products are pesticide-free.

• The lice life cycle can be difficult to break because nits are hard to eradicate, often leading to prolonged infestations and a frustrating series of treatments with chemical products that can be harmful if overused.

• Recent breakthroughs in pesticide-free products kill lice and nits. New innovations in lice treatment options have led to effective, pesticide-free consumer products that can eradicate and prevent lice infestation, even among the pesticide-resistant super lice.

• A lice comb should be used to remove all lice and nits. A professional-grade steel lice comb should be used to ensure that hair is completely free of any lice and nits post treatment. In fact, a full comb-out performed weekly on your kids is a good habit to start.

• A preventative shampoo and spray can break the life cycle. A shampoo that kills lice before they can lay eggs is critical for closing the “bridge” from one head to another.

Ladibugs experts recommend parents seek effective, pesticide-free options.

History of Peppermint

Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is one of hundreds of species in the genus Mentha which also includes spearmint, water mint and forest mint. Peppermint is actually believed to be a naturally occurring hybrid of spearmint and water mint. While some claim peppermint was not hybridized and cultivated until the 18th century in England, peppermint is referenced in ancient texts. The confusion seems to be that it is mentioned interchangeably with spearmint and the generic term mint. Peppermint has a long history of cultivation and has been used in cooking and herbal medicine since about 1500 BC. Until 1696, peppermint was not classified as its own subspecies, but most historians believe it is reasonable to assume that the mint mentioned in many historical texts is peppermint.


Peppermint is thought to have originated in Northern Africa and the Mediterranean. In the Ebers Papyrus, an ancient Egyptian medical text dating to 1550 BC, mint is listed as calming to stomach pains. Mint was so valued in Egypt that it was used as a form of currency. In the Bible (Luke 11:39) Jesus tells the Pharisees:

But woe unto you, Pharisees! For ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

In Greek mythology, Minthe was a river nymph in the Cocytus River (one of the five rivers of Hades). When Hades was driving his golden chariot, he came upon Minthe and was about to seduce her when his wife Persephone caught them. Persephone then turned Minthe into a lowly mint plant that people would walk upon. Mint supposedly got its pungent, sweet smell when Hades softened the spell so that when people walked upon his lover they would smell her sweetness. Peppermint gets the descriptor piperitafrom the particular peppery, pungency that distinguishes it from other members of the mint family.

The Roman natural philosopher Pliny wrote of mint and of peppermint in particular that it stimulated the appetite stirring “the mind and appetite to a greedy desire of food.” He also wrote that mint should be bound into a crown around the head in order to stimulate the mind and the soul. Pliny, Hippocrates and Aristotle all considered mint to be a discouragement to procreation, saying that it discouraged sexual intercourse. However, the Greeks said that mint encouraged sexual behavior and forbade its consumption by soldiers in order to maintain control.

Peppermint was eventually introduced to Europe where it also became a popular culinary and medicinal herb. It was mentioned in the Icelandic Pharmacopoeias as early as 1240 AD as an herbal remedy, and gained in popularity over the next two centuries. Monks in the Middle Ages were known to use peppermint as a tooth polisher and during the same period, cheese makers learned that the strong smell of peppermint would keep rats and mice out of the storeroom.

Peppermint appeared as a distinct species in the London Pharmacopoeia in 1721 and was listed as a remedy for treating all manner of ailments from sores, venereal disease, colds and headaches. As peppermint continued to gain in popularity the cultivation increased from just a few acres to several hundred acres.

When European settlers came to America they found that the American Indians were already aware of the importance of mint, though they were growing different species of mint, native to North America. The settlers brought peppermint and other non-native mints with them and they quickly became naturalized and spread.

In North America, peppermint is grown commercially almost exclusively in the north and east from Indiana to New York and the very southernmost areas of Canada. Michigan has the most acres under cultivation in the US, and altogether the US produces about half the world�s peppermint. However, American peppermint oil is considered much inferior to English oil, which is considered the best, followed by French peppermint oil. The difference is typically in the variety; in the US, the black variety is most often grown, while in Europe the more delicate white variety thrives.

A Customer’s Thank you Note left us Speechless

We have a grateful clients page in our website, but this testimonial left us speechless and thought we should share it on our blog. The below testimonial was sent to us by a grateful mom. Notes like this reinforce Ladibugs mission: to provide our customers with pesticide-free head lice products made with the highest quality.

“Hello…Just last Friday, my 10 year old daughters 4th grade class had a HUGE lice outbreak!! They sent everyone home early to take care of it!!  My Daughter is in a mainstream class but is deaf and with her hearing aids she can hear (and speak) like a “typical” child!! When I was called at home to come pick her up I panicked!! Not because of her and I how she would cope with the treatment but I also have a 13 year old Autistic/Deaf/Non-Verbal son (my husband and I are not deaf but that is a whole different story)!! How could I explain the situation to him?? How was he going to handle his home, his sanctuary, turned upside down with this issue??

  I had seen your product at a Great Clips and headed right over to purchase it. I purchased the Elimination Kit for her (I thought I saw a nit so if you see one, I knew more were around), the Prevention kit for the family (after checking everyone we did not have it) and several bottles of the shampoo and conditioner and spray. It was a costly purchase but I had to do it to make sure these little “buggers” did not stay or come back!!
  I was so nervous using it on my son but turns out he LOVED it!! I was worried that the product might have a ‘mediciney’ smell that he would react to but he was fine!! What he especially loved was the mint smell from the spray!! I followed directions and vacuumed and sprayed everything that couldn’t be laundered or put in the dryer and he really enjoyed the smell, As did my daughter, because she received a lot of compliments when she returned to school!! Everyone is now using it!!
  Thanks Again for making products that have turned a stressful time in our families life to a more positive one!!”


What does a dehydrated head lice look like?

Ladibugs, Inc. takes a medical approach to lice treatment. Our AirAllé is an FDA cleared medical device that has been studied and published in the Journal of Pediatrics.

The AirAllé is a medical device that kills head lice without using pesticides or other chemicals. Clinical studies have shown that the device – which uses only heated air – kills all stages of head lice, including lice eggs.

The FDA-cleared AirAllé device kills lice and eggs through dehydration. This is a revolutionary alternative to treating head lice with pesticides, herbal lice remedies, suffocation products or lice combs.

If you ever wonder what a dehydrated head lice, see the accurate email below.


Dehydrated Head Lice


Lice evolve faster than their human and chimp hosts

L.A. Times

By Geoffrey Mohan



Human and chimpanzee head lice



When humans and chimpanzees parted ways about 5 million to 7 million years ago, they took their head lice with them. But since that mutual divergence, those lice have evolved far more rapidly than their primate hosts, according to a new study.

The head-scratching study, published Tuesday in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, was the first to compare genomes of these primates and their blood-sucking parasites, and offers a window into how the pace of evolution can vary considerably, even between co-evolving species.

“What we found out is the lice are in fact evolving faster than the primates across the entire genome,” said Julie Allen, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, one of the authors of the paper. “At basic DNA level, they’re evolving about 14 times faster, which is really fast.”

A closer comparison of the DNA that is changing most rapidly also suggests that the same genes may have been crucial to both host and parasite over those millions of years of cohabitation, according to the study.

Geneticists sleuthing out the traces of evolution at the molecular level focus on substitutions among the lettered base pairs (A, C, G, T) that make up the rungs of nuclear DNA. In this case, they scrutinized such substitutions in 1,534 actively coding genes common to all four genomes.

“Those genes have a common ancestor a long, long time ago,” Allen said. “Presumably, they’re important in the function of these organisms. We just don’t know exactly what they do.”

Because different combinations of base pairs can code the same protein, though, not all swaps are created equal. For the lice, a lot of swaps didn’t change the protein, in fact.

But across their genomes, the primates and their irritating guest had an important phenomenon in common, the study found.

“The genes that are evolving faster in the lice are also the ones that are evolving faster in the primates, and those involve changes that actually affect the protein – changes that could make a difference in how the protein functions,” Allen said. That correlation, Allen noted, strongly suggests there was selective pressure applied to both host and parasite at those gene locations.

“So, some genes that are really, really important in lice are likely many of the same ones that are really, really important in primates,” Allen said.

The simplest explanation for the overall accelerated pace of evolution for the lice species could be that they had more generations in which to experience change – they live just 30 days. But the researchers can’t discount the possibility of selection “relaxation.”

“Lice are really interesting, in that they have really small genomes, have lost their wings and have really reduced eyes,” Allen said. “So, potentially there are a lot of genes that just aren’t that important for them anymore.”

What all these genetic changes have meant to either host or parasite is not well known. Even for “priority” species such as humans and our chimp relatives, scientists don’t fully understand what every gene does and how they interact. Not surprisingly, the genome of lice has not been a high scientific priority, either. No one had even sequenced the chimp lice genome before this study.

And how does one get the chimp lice, exactly? They must be picked off the chimps, a task delegated to veterinarians at the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Uganda.

Think twice about what you use to treat Head Lice

Think twice about what you use to treat head lice…

We were shocked when we read this story published in the website. We really want to emphasize to think twice before you buy a prescription or over the counter head lice product. Many of these products have chemicals and pesticides that can greatly affect your family’s health.

Read Jesse’s story below… you will be shocked.


Jesse’s Story


When treating my child for head lice, I never thought about the harm it might be bringing to him. I felt only the anxiety all mothers feel when they discover bugs in their child’s hair. It never occurred to me that a physician-prescribed shampoo could be a dangerous and potentially fatal pesticide.

Telling our family’s story is extremely difficult for me. It requires me to confront my demons. It is agonizing to accept my role in my son’s pain and suffering. The memories are vivid and haunt me through the night. If I think about my role in Jesse’s pain and suffering, I’ll never make it through the day. I fought so hard to keep Jesse alive; it is a daily challenge to handle the reality that I may have contributed to his death.

Our nightmare began in 1984. There was an outbreak of head lice in our local elementary school. Several children were discovered to have lice, including Jesse’s older brother Jason. Our children’s pediatrician prescribed Kwell shampoo with refills. He never mentioned it being a pesticide product..advising only that it could cause skin and eye irritation. The doctor ironically suggested “just to be safe” I treat the entire family, even though Jason had been the only member afflicted. I followed his recommendation shampooing my husband, myself, Jason (age 7) and little Jesse (age 2). I repeated the application on the following day as the prescription instructed.

Approximately two months later, Jesse was playing “Superman” and fell to the floor with extreme stomach pain. I rushed him to the emergency room. My whole world changed that night. A liver and spleen scan revealed enlargement. Blood work indicated unusually high amounts of lymphocytes and white blood cells. Blast cells were also present. A bone marrow aspiration test confirmed our fears – A.L.L. – acute lymphobastic leukemia.

Jesse was hospitalized and received chemotherapy for six weeks until he achieved remission. During this time, the doctors asked many questions.. “Had there been a family history of Leukemia?” “What about chemical or electromagnetic field exposures?” There were no questions concerning head lice shampoo or anything similar. The connection never even crossed my mind.

Jesse sailed through the last of his chemotherapy, and remained in remission. He had been off treatment for over a year, and cancer free for several years when he started elementary school. Our family and his doctors were feeling optimistic that he had beaten his cancer.

A note from the school nurse was sent home a few months into his first school year. There had been cases of head lice reported. My reaction was panic. “Not again!” I brought out the lice shampoo and treated my family…as the doctor had said, “just to be safe”. Two months later Jesse relapsed. I am very sad to say this scenario played out two more times within the next five years. The fact that I did not get the connection is the guilt I must live with the rest of my life.

Jesse’s final relapse occurred after a bone marrow transplant. When the doctor called, he had more than the gut wrenching news of my son’s relapse. The doctor explained that this relapse had been very abnormal and unusual. In fact, only a handful of similar ones had been documented world-wide. Jesse’s relapse had occurred within the new donor marrow. He had received marrow from his baby sister Bobbie Sue – her marrow was female XX chromosomes. This was leukemia in the new XX marrow. This was scientifically profound because relapse by definition is “reoccurrence of the original cancer cells not eradicated by chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery”. There was none of Jesse’s old marrow remaining. This was not the original cancer: it was a new cancer in the new marrow.

My reaction to this news was complete panic. My concerns were that my daughter now also had leukemia. The doctor assured me this was not the case at all – Bobbie Sue was fine. He went on to explain that this relapse, however, did strongly indicate an environmental trigger. He asked me to try and recall if Jesse had been exposed to any substance prior to initial diagnosis and relapse. The only commonality I could remember was I had used the shampoo before his diagnosis and each subsequent relapse. It was very hard for me to believe, however, that head lice shampoo was a carcinogen. I embarked on research to prove to myself that I could not have possibly done anything to harm my son. My heart broke when I discovered how this shampoo was a neurotoxin pesticide and inherently dangerous. There was evidence strongly suggesting a link between this pesticide product, cancer and neurological problems.

Armed with this knowledge, I was convinced we could win this battle. I would help Jesse get well and protect him from this dangerous trigger. Unfortunately, I was too late. He passed away September 11, 1993. Jesse was and remains my little soul mate. There is not a day that passes that I do not think of him and deeply miss him.

Our family has felt betrayed by a system we assumed would protect us. Prior to using these FDA approved pesticide shampoo treatments, all members of our family were healthy. Following the exposures, Jesse was diagnosed with acute leukemia and passed away 09-11-93, Dale (Jesse’s father) was diagnosed with chronic leukemia – he passed away 02-12-98 and Jason (Jesse’s brother) has a diagnosis of chloracne, a condition associated with pesticide exposure.

For years I was unable to do anything but grieve, but I now know that it is critical to get this information out to other families so they can make the safest choices possible. I made a decision not to focus on how differently the lives of my family might have been if this information had reached us sooner. After careful thought, I decided to take that energy and direct it towards trying to educate and hopefully protect other children and their families by working with the National Pediculosis Association to promote their message of pesticide-free manual removal of head lice and nits. Jesse would want it that way. 

Duluth schools revise head lice notification policy


Duluth, MN ( – The Duluth School Board tackled a problem head-on Monday night surrounding the district policy for head lice.

The change comes after concerned parents wanted more transparency from the district regarding how many cases of head lice are reported in a classroom.

Prior to Monday’s meeting, the policy required the district to notify parents of head lice when at least three cases of head lice were reported in a classroom.

Last week, parents formally requested the district reduce that number from three to one, a decision the school board approved tonight at its regular scheduled meeting.

Parents say they are pleased with the board’s proactive position on the health of Duluth students.

“Lice are becoming more resistant to drugs, the chemical treatments. There are more kids in schools nowadays, the problem has become a bigger problem. Not only that, but lice tends to run in cycles and right now we are having a higher cycle of head lice and it’s just really important that the school would ramp up their information and education,” said parent Stacey Dimberio.

“Think about checking their kids once a week, especially during the winter months and things like that to just make sure their kids are healthy and the classroom is happy,” said Tom Kasper, Duluth School Board.

According to the CDC, head lice are most commonly spread through direct head to head contact. Head lice can also be spread through sharing of clothing including hats other clothing and by sharing pillows.

An estimated six to 12 million head lice infestations occur each year in the United States among children three to 11 years old.

The new head lice policy will go into effect beginning on Wednesday at all Duluth schools.

Jeremy Brickley

The Holidays: A Bit More Giving, a Bit Less Getting

NYT- The Motherlode



Ron Lieber

Some people react to my obsession with parenting, money and values by assuming that it has little to do with them. Take my friends in a low-key Midwestern state, who are both public-sector employees. Wasn’t this topic, they wondered, something that only affluent suburban parents or private-school people needed to worry about?

But then came the holidays. The spending. The (endless) wrapping. The grandparents’ determination to grant every wish. And the management of their older child’s high expectations, which seemed to come out of nowhere. Then, they got it.

So how do we begin to change the tenor of the season without becoming an army of Scrooges?

One way to start is to make generosity part of the holiday routine. Below are some ideas worth trying. But if you have others that you’ve tested in your own family, please put them in the comments or jot me a note, and I’ll highlight a few of them in a future post.

1) THE TOY GIVEAWAY This tip comes from my cousin Celine Faccini-Krimston, the mother of two boys and an early-childhood educator herself. When her kids get new toys, they must also pick out some old ones and give them away to other children who don’t have as many.

There is a basic logic to this: If you want new things, then you’re probably done with the old ones. But the values piece is key, and she’s driven it home over the years by having her kids take the toys they’ve outgrown and hand-deliver them to organizations that will put them to good use. One recent recipient is a school for homeless children.

2) THE BLANK CHECK If you give children money so they can buy whatever they want most, consider the possibility of sending two checks instead of one.

Make out one check to the child. With the second check, however, leave the “To” section blank. Then, send instructions, asking the child to give the money to a person or organization that’s trying to do some good in the world. You might ask the child to send you a note explaining where the money ended up, so the giving also becomes an exercise in articulating what moves him most and why. Including a self-addressed stamped envelope can help the recipient remember to close the loop.

If you’re the gift-card type, you could try sending one from Donors Choose, which allows a recipient to direct money to teachers who have made specific requests for materials that their town or city cannot provide.

I’ve done this with my daughter, who happened to be in a tie-dye phase at the time. On a lark, we did a search on the site for those keywords, and we were able to help a classroom full of kids in New York City create their own psychedelic shirts.

3) FAMILY GIVING If you’re like many families, you probably give away a chunk of your charitable budget at the end of the year. That’s when the holiday spirit (or the tax-deduction deadline) may move you most, and nonprofits are likely to be soliciting heavily.

So here’s something to try: Keep every one of the direct-mail pieces that lands in your mailbox. Then, sit down and review them with your offspring. What appeals to them and why? Who needs help that they didn’t even know about?

This year, my wife and I plan to let our 7-year-old daughter help decide how we divide our giving budget. We’re going to take 100 pennies and divide them on our dining room table to show how we allocated our donations last year among our alma maters, our synagogue, her school and social-service agencies here and abroad. Then, we’re going to see whether she thinks the pennies are divided correctly and let her move some of them if she chooses to. That way, she’ll be in on the decision making. (Throughout the year, she makes her own decisions about where to give away part of her allowance.)

There are other ways to handle this too. You might simply hand over 5 percent of your charity budget to your child or children and let them decide where it goes. If you have more than one child, you could ask that they decide together, or you could split the money and let each child do what she or he wants. Every year, consider increasing the budget a bit so that you’re less in control.

In our family, we’ve turned over the last night of Hanukkah to giving, not getting. But you could do this Dec. 23 or Dec. 26 or the day after Thanksgiving or whenever it’s convenient.

Or perhaps you already have. If so, how did it go?


Ron Lieber is the Your Money columnist for The New York Times. He’s currently on leave to write “The Opposite of Spoiled,” a book about parenting, money, values and raising the kinds of children all parents want to push out into the world, no matter how much money they have. He hosts regular conversations about these topics on his Facebook page and welcomes comments here or privately, via his Web site.

Head Lice at School

Head lice at school. Has it ever happened to you? How do you deal with it?

This post is in respond to the new policies in Washington state on head lice. The article “Should kids with head lice be allowed at school?” on CBS News talks about the “more” lenient” head lice policies at school that are bugging some parents. 


Head Lice treatments

 Lice are “icky”, and they can cause an infectious process when children have a heavy infestation and itch profusely– causing reddened areas at the nape of the neck and behind the ears.

Lice are easily passed between 1 child to the next.  It only takes 30 seconds of head to head contact for them to be transmitted.  Sending notes home to parents is a fabulous reminder for parents to check their children for head lice.  It is just like getting a strep throat notice home, if your child complains of a sore throat, you will take them more seriously if you have received a note.  As with head lice if you just received a note and you notice your child itching you are more apt to check!
Lice is difficult to treat with the commonly used OTC medications and even prescription medications.  Studies have shown that the OTC treatments are definitely not 100% effective and there is nearly no efficacy on the nit.  This is why there is a need to retreat after 7 days (after the nits hatch and there are more live bugs!).  Thus exposing children to more harsh chemicals!!
Parents are missing work to take care of the issue and will make investments in companies such as Ladibugs, Inc. who uses a FDA cleared medical device along with their product line with an all natural approach while others are at there wits end on how to manage the overwhelming situation.
Parents NEED to know about the problem in the class room in order to check their child.  Parents need to be educated.  This is not a hygiene issue.  Children need to be educated about sharing hats, helmets etc.   Lice is only 2nd to the common cold in what children bring home from school.
It’s time to stop trying to hide that issue and face it with education surrounding lice and their life cycle and ways to eliminate the issue in a all natural way to protect our children and ways to prevent.
by Rachel Knutson