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It is not unusual for lice outbreaks to follow school vacation breaks. Why?

I have provided lice treatment services in Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Westfield, Cranford and Clark for almost 7 years. Based on my experience and my observation of trends, I believe these spikes in outbreaks after school vacations can be attributed to two main factors:

  1. Although confirmed environmental transfer of head lice accounts for a very small percentage of cases, it is my belief that during periods when more families with children are traveling, that percentage may increase.
  2. The cases that the school nurse may normally pick up on go unnoticed for a longer period of time because school is out. I believe these reasons have contributed to the recent lice outbreaks in Scotch Plains, Cranford, Westfield and Clark.

Think about those nice ladies who will braid your child’s hair on the beach. They typically use the same comb they’ve used on every OTHER child whose hair they have braided. Keep in mind every family with school aged children that is traveling with undiagnosed head lice. As a result of these things as well as other factors, post vacation lice outbreaks are rather common.

The best defense against a full scale outbreak in your home is to do regular (weekly or biweekly) head checks on your school aged children. You do a head check by combing dampened hair with a good quality nit comb. Combs with a plastic handle have teeth that are too far apart to truly be effective and furthermore, plastic combs cannot be boiled for sterilization purposes

Want to know more about how to do a head check? Reach out!

 

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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:

Do you want to know how to detect head lice on your children? Your best bet is the “wet check.”

Lice head check

Weekly wet head checks are the best measure for early detection of head lice

 

So, you want to know how to detect head lice on your children. Well, research has shown that “wet checks” are the most reliable and effective method for detecting head lice. A wet check is done on wet or dampened hair with a good, high quality, solid stainless steel nit comb. Using a comb with a flimsy plastic handle or a poorly made comb will not yield an accurate result. In combing through dampened hair, one is examining what is removed for the presence of either lice or nits. The presence of either one is a confirmation that treatment for head lice is warranted.

If you’ve found something and you aren’t sure if it is a nit or not, feel free to email a photo of your suspicious object to: njlicelady@gmail.com  Please place your object on a white background next to a penny (in order to give perspective for size). See directly below. It is important that pictures be taken as close up as possible and as in focus as possible in a top down orientation.

How to detect head lice and nits

Close up of nits next to a penny

 

 

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In the past week, as I treated head lice in Westfield, Cranford and Maplewood, NJ, the same question came up as I removed lice and nits from the heads of precious kids and their parents: how do we avoid lice in the future? I have developed the BEST speech that I give to my youngest clients. It was borne of the need to make younger children understand why sharing certain things isn’t a good idea. After all, we teach them at such a young age that they ought to share everything. “Sharing is caring” isn’t it? Not always. Not with lice. Lice really is the gift that keeps on giving.

So, for everyone who isn’t fortunate enough to hear the speech in person, here is a version you can use to educate yourself and your family about what they can do to avoid lice. This is the parting advice I leave with the families I am honored to assist with their battle against head lice. Sit back and enjoy (popcorn optional):

Me: Do you know how most people get lice?

YP (Young Person): Uh uh

Me: Most people get lice because they put their head to together with someone else who has lice. Do you know how that happens?

YP: Hugging?

Me: Yes! Hugging! Another way is when you share a small screen with a friend and you don’t realize your heads are touching. Maybe it happens in school when you work in a group and everyone leans into the middle to see something at the same time. So, from now on you want to think about where your head is and where other peoples’ heads are, OK? You don’t have to be afraid of your friends, but you don’t need to hug everyone either, OK?

YP: OK

Me: OK, so the next thing I need to ask you is, if your friend took off their underwear and gave it to you, would you put it on?

YP: (making scrunchy face) NO!

Me: No, of course not because that’s gross, right?

YP: Really gross!

Me: Yes, it is really gross. Because underwear is very private and it’s only for one person. Well, guess what! The things you wear or use on your head, like hats, brushes, head bands, head phones, pony tail holders, helmets hoodie sweatshirts and scarves are also private and they are only meant for one person. You don’t give yours to anyone else and you don’t take them from other people and put them on, OK?

YP: OK

OK, it doesn’t always go EXACTLY like that, but it’s close. You get the drift. The kids really respond to the underwear thing. It drives home the idea of privacy and not sharing. Besides, kids love a good potty reference and you’ve got to know your audience!

 

For parents, these are my top tips for avoiding lice in the household:

  1. Use a GOOD QUALITY STAINLESS STEEL NIT COMB to conduct regular weekly head checks (this won’t keep lice out of your house, but it will head off a full scale outbreak in your family)
  2. Girls should wear their hair back as often as possible, boys should keep hair neatly trimmed if possible
  3. Remind your kids about the prohibition on sharing personal items
  4. Don’t be the parent who freaks out when they get the lice call, because you will stop getting those calls (this is bad because you will stop finding out if your child/ren have been exposed to lice)

Do you know someone who is struggling with lice? Is it you? There is a lice treatment option in NJ that doesn’t have to break the bank…Call or text to find out more (908)548-4480. NJ Lice Lady is committed to raising the bar of quality lice treatment while making sure that treatment remains affordable and accessible.

 

All rights reserved 2011-2015. Material may not be reproduced without express written consent of the author.

Typical post-vacation head lice outbreaks have triggered a higher demand for lice treatment in Scotch Plains, NJ.

It is not unusual for head lice cases to spike after a school vacation period. Currently, in Scotch Plains, children are seeking lice treatment for fairly developed cases of head lice. The cases being treated now are dating back 3-4 weeks minimum and possibly even further to Thanksgiving. The unfortunate effect of cases going undiagnosed for so long is that, as the problem progresses, the host becomes more “contagious” (though lice is not a disease, “contagious” in this case is meant to communicate the ease of transmission). It is at this stage of the problem that multiple family members and close friends tend to acquire live bugs from each other and spread the outbreak further.

Proper head checks, done on a regular basis, with a good quality stainless steel nit comb are the key to early detection of head lice. Keeping lice from spreading in your family and among your child’s social circle will eliminate a tremendous amount of work and frustration. If you suspect your family may be dealing with a lice problem, be sure to use a reliable treatment product that is safe and non-toxic. At this time, not only are OTC pesticide products toxic, they are also more and more ineffective as lice continue to build resistance to them. If you are looking for a reliable product or lice treatment in the Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Garwood, Cranford, Westfield, Springfield, Clark, Warren or other areas in and around Union, Essex, Middlesex, Warren or Somerset County, contact NJ Lice Lady today for assistance. With pricing a minimum of half what other services charge and a warm, welcoming office in which you can relax, there is no one who can compete with the level of service I provide. Call or text today to schedule a head check or treatment: (908)548-4480 or email: njlicelady@gmail.com

All Rights Reserved 2011-2014. Material May Not Be Reproduced Without Express Written Consent From the Author.

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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Finding a NJ lice treatment service can be difficult. With so many providers in the arena, it’s hard to decipher what everyone does for the fees they charge. Here are some things that I consider important about finding a lice treatment service in NJ or anywhere in the world!

1- Process: What do they do and how do they do it? Do they require you to come back to them? Do they charge for mandatory follow-up visits? How do they treat? Do they use a product reliable for eliminating live lice?

My answer: I treat by applying a dimethicone-based product to the hair and scalp of affected clients. I then complete a thorough comb out to remove nits from the hair using a solid stainless steel nit comb of the highest quality. Follow up visits are not needed and therefore are not included in my service, though clients are free to schedule a follow up visit if they desire one. I try to discourage people from doing so, simply because they are an unnecessary expense.

2- Products:  What kind of products does the service use? What are you obligated to buy? What does an average family spend on these products for a complete treatment cycle?

My answer: As mentioned above, I use a non-toxic, dimethicone-based product. In addition to the product which retails for $25 for a 12 oz bottle, I strongly encourage every family to purchase the same nit comb I use in my practice. The comb retails for $15. Most families will spend between $40-$65 for product and a comb to complete their treatment. Some families will choose to purchase a bottle of the KaPOW! Lice Defense Spray as well ($15) for use in preventing future lice outbreaks as well as facilitating comb outs.

3- Follow-Up: Perhaps the most important part of the treatment process is the follow-up required to make it successful. Will your service require you to perform daily comb outs in order to achieve a successful result? Will you need to complete daily treatments? What about housekeeping? Do they want you to clean/wash/boil the contents of your home on a daily basis to achieve a successful treatment outcome?

My answer: My clients complete two follow-up treatments at home using the above-mentioned non-toxic dimethicone-based product in addition to starting the ritual of weekly head checks done properly with a good quality stainless steel nit comb. While there is housekeeping to be done initially, the only thing I ask my clients to do after Day 1 is place their bedding in the dryer on the days they complete their follow-up treatments (2 more times). My clients are left with a schedule to follow and step-by-step instructions on exactly what needs to be done. The instructions are based in science and common sense. Any service that requires daily follow-up is asking their clients to do the “heavy lifting” for them. I question the value of a treatment a client purchases that requires them to do more work than the person they paid to treat them!

Finding a NJ Lice Treatment Service doesn’t have to be difficult if you know where to look! NJ Lice Lady provides safe, reliable, non-toxic lice treatment and nit removal for families from all over New Jersey. Low overhead allows me to provide world-class service at prices no lice treatment center in Cranford or Short Hills can match! Do you know someone who needs help with lice? Maybe it’s you? Give me a call and find out how affordable and uncomplicated good lice treatment can be! (908)548-4480 or njlicelady@gmail.com

 

Lisa Rafal, the NJ Lice Lady, is the former owner of franchised lice treatment centers in Clark and Fairfield, NJ. With a solid understanding of the problem and an empathy driven by having experienced lice as both a mother and as a pre-teen, Lisa is able to comfort families during the stress of dealing with lice. View the testimonials my clients have shared about the experiences with NJ Lice Lady and Lisa Rafal.

 

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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.

 

All Rights Reserved 2011-2014. Material May Not Be Reproduced Without Express Written Consent of the Author.

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

 

All Rights Reserved 2011-2014. Material May Not Be Reproduced Without Express Written Consent of the Author.

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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