Does The AirAlle Head Lice Treatment work?

air.alleLousebuster is now called AirAllé™ (pronounced air-a-lay).

This is what it claims ” AirAllé™ (pronounced air-a-lay) is a medical device that kills head lice and 99.2 percent of lice eggs in a single, 30-minute treatment. Formerly called LouseBuster, the AirAllé device is used by lice-removal professionals around the world to provide a safe, fast and highly effective lice treatment.”

It appears even with this treatment as with any Head Lice treatment, combing is required.  We are unsure if they are including the combing time in the 30 minute treatment you’d need to be sure and ask the provider of the service this question.

The device concept was originated by Dr. Dale Clayton a professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Utah. Larada Sciences, Inc., which incorporated in 2006, formed to take the LouseBuster product to market.  You can read about the The AirAllé™ history here.

Here are some research findings on the device that we found interesting:

“Subjects with a high probability of reinfestation, such as those with other infested family members or classmates, were excluded from these follow-up trials.”

We aren’t exactly sure what that means? Does it mean they chose only Adults? Why exclude anyone?

“From the 18 subjects, a total of 422 lice were combed out before treatment, 35 (8.3%) of which were dead. After heat treatment, a total of 578 lice were combed out, 440 (76.1%) of which were dead. The percent of dead treated lice was significantly higher than the percent of dead control lice, with an absolute difference of 67.8% (95% CI: 62% to 72%).”

Why are they comparing dead lice before treatment to dead lice after treatment? And is this pre-treatment comb out a part of the 30 minute process? This concludes that 138 live lice were combed out but the marketing advertises that you only need to comb out dead lice? If you didn’t comb that would leave you with 138 live lice still in your head – that’s a lot.

“Two of the 18 trials were excluded from egg-hatch analysis because none of the control eggs hatched. From the remaining 16 subjects, a total of 839 eggs were combed out before treatment and 969 after treatment. The control–egg-hatch rate was 52.0% and the treated–egg-hatch rate was 6.0%, a significant absolute difference of 46.0% (95% CI: 42% to 50%). The egg-hatch rate was zero in only 6 (37.5%) of 16 treated subjects. In summary, this method killed more lice than any of the previous methods and an appreciable number of eggs (Fig 2).”

Again, we could be reading it wrong, but why are they comparing numbers of viable eggs before and after treatment? We would certainly hope that an after treatment would have a higher number of killed everything? Also they begin with eggs here (stating the 6% hatched which means they were not killed) and they end the summary with live lice?

“In summary, this method killed the largest proportion of lice of any of our other methods and nearly all of the eggs”

What other methods?

“At the 1-week follow-up, 10 (91%) of 11 had no lice. The eleventh subject had a single live male louse, which is not a viable breeding population.”

Well, that’s certainly lucky that it was a male louse. If it had been an egg laying female that was missed, you’d have potential 35+ more eggs in the head!

The studies appear to use a lot of non committed words “an appreciable number of eggs” “nearly all”. And the study excluded subjects with a “high” probability rate of reinfestation from the follow up analysis which sort of makes it sound like the tests were manipulated to have the best possible outcome.

You can read the full studies yourself for more information at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/118/5/1962.full and another study here http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1603/ME10122.

Also, we have to ask the question why was a follow up done at only a week? It takes a lice egg anywhere from 7-10 days to hatch (and now new studies are reporting even longer) and approximately 7 more days to become an egg laying adult? And they only mention the lice and no mentions of any eggs?

We have never used the device or seen it in action and the only product reviews we could find were by the manufacturer.

There were several poor reviews on Yelp for companies using the AirAlle device, but the reviews appear to be more about the company versus the actual machine:

http://www.yelp.com/biz/licenders-manhattan-10

http://www.yelp.com/biz/licenders-new-york-13

http://www.yelp.com/biz/airalle-lice-treatment-salt-lake-city

And the reviews indicate some sort of pre-post treatment requirements, so be sure to ask.

Here are some excerpts from the reviews……

“just so my kids will get it again 2 weeks after!!!! ….. This company needs to be reported to the better business bureau for taking advantage of people in time of stress and not being up front about the total cost of their service…..I will never use air alle again. I would recommend you go to another lice removal place or if you have the time conditioner and a lice comb and rigorously taking them out yourself. it would have been cheaper and not a waste of my money…”

Just a note – a two week guarantee is like having no guarantee at all, it’s not long enough. A reputable lice removal company will give you a 21-30 day guarantee.

You can read and decide for yourself but it certainly can give you an opportunity to ask the right questions that you need to ask before deciding on your lice treatment provider.

There is a local company originally based out of Suffolk, Virginia who uses the device, Lickety Nit.  Such a cute name!  They recently opened a Salon in Virginia Beach.

Looking for other Head Lice Treatment companies in Virginia Beach?

Publisher:  Let’s Be P.A.L.S

Contributor:  Julie B

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