With the holidays upon us, giving is on most people’s minds. As we consider the perfect gift for everyone on our list, let’s not forget that head lice are easily given during the holidays when love and hugs abound. No one should ever shy away from family because of lice, nor should any family members be shunned due to lice. NJ Lice Lady has some bits of advice on how to avoid giving or receiving anything unintentional this holiday season:

  1. DO YOUR HEAD CHECKS! And do them properly! I wish I kept track and could tell you how many families I’ve treated and the story starts like this: “My child was scratching her head and I looked through her hair and I didn’t see anything.” Sigh. Big Sigh. My job is to look for and treat head lice and don’t look for lice. I COMB to find lice or nits.Visual screening is notoriously inaccurate for ruling out lice and should never be relied on for a true evaluation of the situation. One must comb in order to properly check and one must use a HIGH QUALITY SOLID STAINLESS STEEL nit comb to do this effectively. You won’t generally find a good quality nit comb on a shelf in a major chain drugstore.
  2. If you find head lice, treat safely, effectively and treat EVERY PERSON IN YOUR HOME WHO HAS LICE: Every member of your household with hair longer than 1/8″ must be checked using a comb to properly rule out or diagnose lice. Contrary to what some lice services will tell you, only family members who actually have lice need be treated. It is unnecessary to treat anyone who doesn’t have lice or nits in their hair. Of course, the people selling you the extra product will have an interest in seeing everyone in the family treated! Spending time and effort (and money) to treat one person when multiple family members are affected is a waste of all above-mentioned resources. Sadly, the traditional go-to, OTC pesticide treatments have become much less reliable than they were in the past. NJ Lice Lady recommends using KaPOW! Lice Attack Solution, a non-toxic, oil-based product that reliably and safely eliminates live lice.
  3. Inform others with whom your family has had close contact: It’s not just the nice thing to do, its the SMART thing to do. If your family has been in close enough contact to give lice to someone, eventually your family will be close enough to get it back.

Got questions about how treat head lice or how to detect head lice? Do you need a professional resource to help lighten your load during this hectic time of year? Reach out for help, even if it’s just advice! Contact NJ Lice Lady at (908)548-4480 or send an email:

lice pesticide pesticide resistant lice

Result of treating pesticide resistant head lice with pesticide

 

Evidence of pesticide resistant head lice in Scotch Plains, NJ.

These bugs and many more were recovered from the head of a recent client after having used Nix(TM) a permethrin-based, OTC lice treatment “shampoo”. While it is not uncommon for me to see pesticide resistant lice leading to treatment failure, it never gets easier for me to witness.

Well-intentioned parents, sometimes guided by the advice of a medical practitioner, journey to the drug store and purchase either Permethrin or Pyrethrins with Piperonyl Butoxide to treat their child(ren)’s head lice problem. The lice pictured above were recovered AFTER a child was treated with the product and AFTER the parent spent copious hours combing the child’s head with the comb included with the kit. Pictured above are every stage of live lice. This means that most of the bugs there were present at the time the child was treated with Nix(TM) and they were not eliminated. In addition, due to the poor efficacy of the comb, hundreds of nits were left behind. Many of the bugs that I removed from the child’s head were first stage nymphs, indicating that they had hatched, most likely, AFTER the initial treatment. Thus my findings directly contradict the product packaging which claims that the product “kills lice and their eggs.” Please see the following picture to better understand the four stages of live lice.

stages of live lice

Four Stages of Live Lice Recovered from the Head of a  Child Treated with Permethrin

When dealing with pesticide resistant head lice, no amount of pesticide will work to eliminate the problem. While lice may develop a resistance to neurotoxic pesticides, they cannot evolve beyond the need to breathe and excrete. Dimethicone, a perfectly safe and non-toxic silicone oil, interferes with the human head louse’s ability to breathe and also to excrete liquid waste. As a result, they die after being exposed to it. I work with KaPOW! Lice Attack Solution, a safe, reliable, non-toxic dimethicone-based product created and manufactured by The Center for Lice Control (http://www.centerforlicecontrol.com).

Do you know someone battling a strain of pesticide resistant lice? NJ Lice Lady is here to help! Call/text (908)548-4480 or email NJLiceLady@gmail.com

 

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How do you know a lice diagnosis is real? If a provider of lice treatment services is going to perform a treatment on a client, they should ABSOLUTELY be providing proof that the client in question does, in fact, have lice. What constitutes proof when making a lice diagnosis? Optimally, a hair plucked directly from the head of the individual (or on the head for a parent/caregiver to feel and see) with a nit on it is the proof you want to be given. Similarly, a live, moving bug (not a dead bug sitting around for the purposes of providing fake proof) on the head or pulled directly from the head in the view of the parent/caregiver. Finally, nits or live bugs combed from the hair during a proper head check done with a good quality nit comb that has been properly cleaned prior to being used on a new head. False diagnosis due to using a comb not properly cleaned can be an issue.

When I was seeing clients in my Fairfield and Clark, NJ lice treatment centers, I would regularly clear more people than I would treat. Now, in my new practice, I still clear more people than I treat! It is very common for a lice lady like me to see people who think they have lice, but don’t. The nice thing about doing head checks to clear people, aside from giving them peace of mind, is that I get to teach parents how to do proper head checks to prevent family-wide outbreaks from ever occurring in their homes.

Recently, NJ Lice Lady has seen several families from around NJ in which everyone (including dad!) has had lice. This is a result of lice infestation in one individual going an extended period of time without a proper lice diagnosis and/or not being treated effectively. Effective treatment of lice leads to the ending of outbreaks in towns, schools, social circles and families. However, you should only be treated if you have lice! Make sure you are being shown any evidence of lice infestation prior to allowing yourself or your family members to be treated. Not every lice treatment provider out there is operating with your best interests in mind. NJ Lice Lady is committed to ethical lice treatment practices and affordable pricing. When I opened my first lice treatment center in Clark, NJ, it was my dream to help families deal with lice effectively and with the highest level of care and compassion. Now, with NJ Lice Lady I am able to do what I wasn’t able to do as a high-overhead franchise owner. My lice treatment services are often at least HALF the cost of competing providers and my 100% success rate speaks for itself. Why pay more for sketchy lice treatment and nit removal services? Call NJ Lice Lady, where you’re treated like family. (908)548-4480 njlicelady@gmail.com

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Are Head Lice Killing the Honey Bees? Permethrin/Pyrethrins Used for Lice Treatment are Highly Toxic for Honey Bees.

 

Could permethrin/pyrethrins used to treat lice be responsible for hive collapse among honey bees? These two pesticides, found in the most common over-the-counter lice treatment preparations under the trade names Rid and Nix as well as in generic drug-store variations, are highly toxic to honey bees. The rise of pesticide resistance in today’s “super lice” means that more and more parents are utilizing greater quantities of these pesticides than ever to fight head lice in their families. In my years of experience with the treatment of head lice, I have found hundreds of parents who have ceased to follow correct usage instructions for these pesticides due to treatment failure. Many people, despite what common sense would dictate, subscribe to the “more is better” philosophy and treat repeatedly in direct defiance of the package labels. In addition, there are parents who will use one of these products “prophylactically” because they have heard that there is an outbreak or that their child has been exposed to lice. All of these pesticides end up being washed down the drain and return to our environment through the water table and through water treatment facilities. It is a proven fact that tap water contains traces of prescription drugs taken by people that are then still resident even after passing through a water treatment facility. In fact, the increase in autism diagnosis may also be attributable to the increase in use of these pesticides. As previously stated in my blog (Pesticides and Autism), studies have linked permethrin-based flea shampoos used by pregnant women to an increase in autism diagnosis in their children. Could the rise in environmental exposure to permethrin also be a factor in this increase?

The sad truth of the matter is that lice is easily treated with a non-toxic silicone oil called dimethicone. It is not just safer, it is more effective and environmentally more sound. We need to educate communities about ways we can safeguard not just our environment but also our children.

For more information on safe and effective non-toxic lice treatment, please contact NJ Lice Lady at njlicelady@gmail.com or 908-548-4480

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Late summer fun often is the lead-in to back to school lice outbreaks. Children who returned from camp, whether overnight or day camp, may be spreading their bounty to their friends in these first days of school. The gathering spot at my daughter’s elementary school was a veritable hug-fest today. Everyone fresh from summer vacation, happy to be reunited, warmly greeting one another on this, our first day of school. The Lice Lady in me was cringing.

 

Here’s everything you need to know about back to school lice outbreaks. This is knowledge I have gained from years as a lice treatment professional.

  1. While September is Head Lice Awareness Month, October actually is when the outbreaks typically peak. Many cases of lice don’t get discovered until they have festered long enough to spread to friends and family members. My own personal lice story begins in late October when my son was in first grade and had a bona fide Lice Circus on his head!
  2. Pesticide resistance is REAL! If you find your child has lice and you start treating with a pesticide, there is a better than even chance you will find the problem doesn’t resolve. Aside from being toxic and dangerous (in this woman’s opinion & many others) the permethrin and pyrethrins in OTC pesticides have become relatively useless against today’s lice.
  3. If you think that you know what you’re looking for, there’s a good chance you’re incorrect. Examining the scalp for nits will yield no result, likewise, searching for these tiny, sesame seed sized bug who are skilled in hiding from light will tend to be a fruitless endeavor.
  4. Even if you don’t end up treating professionally, which is not necessary, get a trusted professional to inform you. Purchase non-toxic products and remember that fighting lice is a process and it requires steadfast commitment. It cannot be done in a one time treatment, and it can be labor intensive.

Got any more questions about back to school lice outbreaks or lice treatment in NJ? Contact the NJ Lice Lady at njlicelady@gmail.com.

 

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Often I am asked by clients, “How long have we had lice?” It’s an important question to attempt to answer so that friends and relatives may be properly informed, but it’s just as difficult a question to answer definitively. While it is possible to answer in general terms, the effort to pinpoint a day or a point in time is complicated by the life cycle of this annoying little parasite. Follow along:

  1. An adult human head louse glues an egg (nit) to a strand of hair.
  2. From that nit, sometime between 7-10 days later, a first stage nymph will emerge.
  3. Over the next 7-10 days, that nymph will eat and grow and molt its exoskeleton 3 times to become an adult human head louse capable of mating.
  4. Within 24 hours of finding a mate, the fertilized female will begin laying her own eggs at a rate of 3-5 eggs twice a day.

So, sometime between 14-20 days from being laid as an egg, a bug will be mature. That’s a wide range of time. So, let’s play CSI: Head Lice Division for a moment. Here is what I found on the head that I treated today:
Somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 bugs, primarily stage 2 nymphs. There were a few stage 1 nymphs, numerous stage-2 nymphs, 1-stage 3 nymph and 2 adult lice. In combing the client, I found about 30-50 nits. Because of the amount of time it takes to stand and count eggs and because my clients pay by the hour, I eyeball my counts and guesstimate the timeline. Using the information I already disclosed above, can you guesstimate how long this person had lice?
Here’s what I think…I believe my client had lice for 2.5-3 weeks. In CSI terms, I believe the forensic evidence supports the following interpretation of the case: Client acquired a fertilized female from a friend at camp. Normal egg laying activity for a female is 6-10 eggs a day. It is likely that the female laid her eggs per normal until she was either presented with an opportunity to leave the head for a new host or she was otherwise interrupted, perhaps being killed by a hair brush, hair dryer, flat iron or the like. The eggs she laid were left to incubate on the host head. Because the number of nits did not exceed greatly the number of bugs, it is my guess that the adult lice I found on the client hatched on the head and only just matured. This case of lice was confined to the one family member and had not yet spread to other family members, HOWEVER, had it not been caught today and been allowed to continue, it is likely that within the week, the sibling and mother of the affected child would have become infested as well.
I cannot prove my theory because those inconsiderate lice don’t leave us Post-It Notes telling us the details of their adventures. Although applying deductive reasoning this scenario is feasible. There could be other explanations, though for me, it’s the low nit count relative to the number of bugs that leaves me thinking this infestation is fairly new.
Are you finding yourself asking “how long have we had lice” or other questions about head lice treatment? Need to talk to someone who can help? NJ Lice Lady can help! Email njlicelady@gmail.com

or call (908)548-4480

 

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Recently, NJ lice outbreaks have surprised parents in Scotch Plains, Westfield, Fanwood, Cranford and Mountainside. This is not unusual at this time of year, with kids finishing up summer camp and many children returning home from sleep away camp. Unfortunately, the outbreaks are often left to spread when parents or camp/school nurses are conducting visual head checks on children. A visual screening is not always reliable and may lead to cases of lice going undetected until significant live activity alerts a parent to the problem. Typically, by the time there is a large enough number of live lice to tip off a parent or caregiver, that case of lice has already to spread to a number friends and family members. The other unfortunate point is that many times head lice, even in later stages of infestation, is often misdiagnosed as dandruff or another scalp condition. As one mother recently told me, her child was scratching furiously and upon taking the child to the doctor, the mother was given a prescription for an anti-dandruff preparation. The child had head lice. This story has been repeated to me many, many times. With the current situation, it looks like there could be many NJ lice outbreaks from September through November. The good news? This problem is easily treated, easily detected and contrary to popular belief, does NOT have to take over anyone’s life for weeks on end!

Not every person with lice will develop the allergic reaction to the bug’s saliva that causes itching to occur. If you are the parent or caregiver of a school-aged child, particularly girls, you should be checking your child weekly with a good quality, solid stainless steel nit comb. If you are not doing this, you are putting yourself in the position of not finding lice until they have spread through your household to several family members. Most likely to contract lice are siblings and mothers of infested children. Fathers, more times than not, will get the “buy” on this problem. They still need to be checked if there is lice in the family, but they are much less likely to get head lice.

Do you have questions about something you’ve found on your child? Do you want to learn how to do a proper head check and keep lice from becoming a family-wide problem? Do you know someone currently struggling with lice in their family? NJ Lice Lady is a local resource for lice treatment and education in Union County, NJ. I work with families to end their lice problem and help them move on to better things. Call (908)548-4480 or email njlicelady@gmail.com

to schedule an appointment or to find out how you can help your social circle avoid the inconvenience of an outbreak this fall.

Check out this handy video, produced by The Center for Lice Control to see more about proper head checks: Click here

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There is no one time lice treatment solution. Ever hear a lice treatment company publicize that their process was “one treatment” and that’s it? Don’t be fooled or misled by any person or company that touts a quick and simple solution to lice. Simply put, lice treatment is a process. It is something that always requires some degree of follow up to ensure success. There are no short cuts.

Once upon a time, I worked with a medical device to treat head lice. It boasted impressive statistics: it desiccated 99.2% of nits and killed about 87% of live bugs on a person’s head. The issue in this case being that additional steps were needed to ensure an end to any lice infestation. First, a comb out needed to be done, primarily for cosmetic reasons, but additionally, there needed to be an application of a product which eliminated live bugs that remained after the treatment with the heated air produced by the device. In fact, the cosmetic comb out and the product were the only essential parts of the process. The medical device increased treatment time in most cases, increased the cost of treatment, and aside from peace of mind, didn’t truly change the nature of the process.

NJ Lice Lady’s process is a simple one. Our one time in-person visit consists of an application of a non-toxic, dimethicone-based lice treatment product (KaPOW! Lice Attack Solution), followed by a thorough comb out, a simple at-home follow up protocol consisting of two more applications of the product and weekly head checks. If you are using a product reliable for the elimination of live bugs, it is not necessary to spend extra money to return to a lice treatment provider for professional follow up.

If you know someone who is battling a lice problem in New Jersey, tell them there is a better alternative to high-priced lice treatment centers. There is a resource for non-toxic lice treatment in NJ that doesn’t break the bank, and where the owner is always hands-on. Contact NJ Lice Lady (908)548-4480 or email njlicelady@gmail.com

 

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With summer lice outbreaks around New Jersey, it’s been a busy week here at NJ Lice Lady. I’ve seen families from Monmouth County all the way up to Passaic County. One thing is certain, back to school lice outbreaks are sure to be plentiful once more this year. As we sit here on August 8th, I know of more than one day camp in the area that has dealt with lice recently. My experience tells me that, with the rise in pesticide resistance among head lice and the misinformation most parents are either given by friends or seek out on the Internet, the current outbreaks will easily convert to a school-time issue. In fact, as is usually the case, October will likely prove to be the worst month for identification of these cases of lice. Some children will spend the month of September spreading lice to their friends before their lice problem is identified.

As the mom of a newly-minted cheerleader, and a soon-to-be 9 year old girl, I am bracing myself for the possibility that I could find myself treating my own child this year. I’m often asked for words of advice. Here is a handy guide to facts and tips you can use to help keep your family lice free. Feel free to print yourself a copy!Basic Lice Facts and Tips for Lice Prevention In addition to these basic tips and facts about lice, it is important that parents understand that it’s their job to be checking their kids for lice regularly. The proper way to do this is by combing through the hair with a GOOD QUALITY stainless steel nit comb. There is simply no substitute for a good comb.

Got questions about lice and how to handle your own family’s lice outbreak? Don’t be shy…email me at njlicelady@gmail.com

or give me a call to schedule an appointment in New Jersey (908)548-4480.

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Many parents ask, “Should my camper be checked for lice when they come home?” My answer is always an emphatic, “YES!” Here is why: Camp is a well-known source for the acquisition of head lice for kids of all ages. The closeness of camp, the bonding, the hugging, and the “last-day-of-camp-hysterics” all contribute to creating a perfect environment for one case of head lice to spread to many new heads.

Now, when my children come home, I am the one to do their head checks for them. For some parents who have willingly learned how to check their kids over the years, they will be the ones to do it for their children as well. If you are a parent who either lacks the skill, patience or proper tools (a good stainless steel nit comb…seen here), then you should invest in having someone who is knowledgeable and trained check for you. You should do this is for one simple reason: if you treat your camper’s lice infestation BEFORE they bring it into your home and introduce it to your family, you will have no cleaning to do and only one head to treat. This saves you money, time and effort; none of which are happily expended on this particular problem.

Looking for a “Welcome Home” head check for a returning camper? Contact NJ Lice Lady at (908) 548-4480 or email us at njlicelady@gmail.com

to schedule an appointment for your returning camper!

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