Lice treatments are falling short

The start of school is still a month or so off in most parts of the country, but once kids return you can expect to hear a lot of the "L" word this year.

Lice!

Lice are on the march like never before, in some cases even shutting down entire schools. An elementary school in Kuna, Idaho closed for two days earlier this year when 60 kids and nine employees all caught a headful of bugs.

It's enough to make you itchy just reading about it (and I'm getting itchy writing about it).

Of course, one of the reasons for the 12 million -- and growing -- cases of lice every year is the fact that the increasingly powerful drugs used to kill them no longer work.

This shouldn't surprise anyone, since lice have a long history of learning to resist meds… and that's why it's a fool's game to even try that approach in the first place.

Besides, many of these treatments aren't even drugs at all. They're actually pesticides, and they're the last things you should be massaging into a child's scalp.

Take the natural approach instead. As I wrote in my best-selling book "The Natural Physician's Healing Therapies," you can beat lice by mixing 1.5 ounces of tea tree oil and 1.5 ounces of lavender oil with 4 ounces of olive oil or shampoo.

Rub the mixture into your child or grandchild's hair, but don't rinse it out. Instead, put on a shower cap and let it sit overnight. Then, in the morning, use a comb to hunt for and remove lice and their nits.

Rinse it all out, and then use a blow dryer on the "hot" setting for between five and 10 minutes (this doesn't kill the lice but it will kill the nits). And of course, don't forget to wash all of your child or grandchild's bedding.

After about a week of this, your child should be lice-free. Keep using the tea tree oil regularly, however -- it's also a great natural repellant and will help ensure that the bugs don't return even when everyone else starts scratching.

And if all else fails, there's always that old standby: a haircut. The way lice are being spread these days, odds are your child or grandchild won't be the only one sporting a trim new 'do.