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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.

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

 

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.

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

All Rights Reserved 2011-2014. Material may not be reproduced without express written consent of the Author.

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

 

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

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!

All Rights Reserved 2011-2014. Materials may NOT be reproduced without express written consent of the Author.