(Reuters) – A western Massachuetts toddler died over the weekend after suffocating while undergoing a home treatment for head lice involving mayonnaise and a plastic bag, police said on Thursday.

OK, one thing at a time.

– Lice. Pestiferous insects that can carry dangerous diseases – typhus among others – usually associated with deficient personal hygiene but also with low standards of living/economic hardships. Last huge outbreak of typhus took place during WWI in Eastern Europe where both conditions for lice infections were met simultaneously. Deaths were numbered in millions, one of my great-grand fathers among them.
– Mayonnaise. Delicious – if well prepared – sauce comprising egg yolk and vegetable oil. Or various presumably edible chemicals, if bought in a jar. Some, as in this example, try to use it as treatment for lice.
Supposedly the fats that make up most of the ‘regular’ mayo will “suffocate” adult lice and the nymphs while the eggs will ‘survive’ the treatment. A second operation, involving vinegar, will be necessary to finish the business.
Anyway here is the ‘disclaimer’ that can be found on one of the sites that ‘promote’ this kind of ‘treatment’: “There are no scientific studies that prove the effectiveness of mayonnaise as a treatment for head lice, but there are many parents who have been using it for years and are very satisfied with the effectiveness of this home remedy against adult head lice.”

NB. This particular site actually warns that the mayo treatment is not suitable for children – who might try to eat some of it out of their hair. They also warn against covering children’s heads with plastic wraps after applying the mayo. These two warnings practically ban the use of this treatment whenever children are involved, right?

– Plastic Bag. Useful industrial product. So versatile that has become almost ubiquitous and so resistant that has become a rallying point for the environmentally minded people: they try to ban it because it ‘clogs’ the waste management systems. It also has been known to having produced accidental deaths, specially among children, by suffocation.

– Death. An otherwise normal occurrence for all living organisms.
It can also be induced intentionally – as in suicide/murder/self defense, hunting/culling or butchering/harvesting, unintentionally – when negligence/callousness is involved, or even against the will of the ‘perpetrator’ – by his own failure to take into consideration obvious aspects of the reality because of temporary ‘blindness’ induced by ‘ideological lenses’.

What has ‘ideology’ to do with anything?

People tend to forget that the concept of ideology has at least two sides and concentrate on the practical one. Most of us see ‘ideology’ as a body of doctrine, myth, etc., with reference to some political and social plan, as that of fascism, along with the devices for putting it into operation and forget about the ‘beacon’ role it plays to our minds: ideology understood as the body of doctrine, myth, belief, etc., that guides an individual, social movement, institution, class, or large group”.

Why on Earth would somebody subject an 18-months old child to an “unproven” treatment involving mayonnaise and vinegar for a condition that can be cured simply and effectively with FDA approved ‘chemicals’?
Two situations come to my mind: ‘regular’ treatment was applied, several times, and failed or the person resorting to the ‘mayo treatment’ is convinced that ‘FDA is a bunch of liars’.

In both cases that person did a poor job as a researcher. “And if you prefer mayonnaise with French fries and really don’t feel like putting it on your children’s heads, you can instead use an olive oil treatment, this will also be very effective.”