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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.

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.

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.

Just about every day I talk to a mom who tells me her lice story. It goes like this, “My daughter was sent home from school last week with nits, she didn’t have any live ones, just nits (myth alert: you cannot ONLY have nits, you need lice to lay them in the hair. Nits do not transfer from one person to another). We did “the” treatment (as if there is only one out there) and we cleaned everything in the house. We washed all the pillows, blankets, we sprayed the furniture with the spray (some treatment kits come with a handy dandy pesticide you can spray all over your house which is both ineffective and unnecessary), we bagged all the stuffed animals and we’ve been washing everything in hot water every day(wait for it…) and I’m STILL seeing things in her hair!”

This mom, and millions like her, has suffered under the delusion that she can eliminate lice in her family by cleaning everything, using toxic pesticide sprays on everything her family touches, changing the sheets every day and bagging everything that isn’t nailed down. Upon further questioning I usually uncover the following:

  1. She has only visually checked remaining family members and has likely missed at least one other case in the family (and it’s most likely on HER head)
  2. She is using the drugstore variety nit comb, which I believe exists only to encourage the future purchase of lice removal products

Somewhere, probably on the Internet, she read the myth that you can clean your house and get rid of lice. What I always try to explain to the folks who call me is that lice don’t live in places or on things, they live on people. Human head lice do two things that we are absolutely aware of…they eat and they reproduce. Their food source is human blood and the only place they can get it is on a human head. Head lice live from the neck up (which should answer the OTHER question we usually get) on human beings. They lay their eggs on the hair shaft of the human host. They don’t live on dogs (even dogs with “hair”) because regardless of the type or quality of that hair, dogs are not human and their blood is different. Lice are species specific parasites.

If you want to eradicate a lice problem in your family you need to do ALL of the following:

  1. Check EVERY family member who has hair (bald dads get the buy here) with a good quality stainless steel nit comb for the presence of nits and/or lice
  2. Treat EVERY family member upon whom nits and/or lice are found properly. This means using something that eradicates all live activity and also removing all nits from the hair
  3. Do some common sense cleaning to eliminate the possibility of reinfestation from the home environment.
  4. Inform the social circles of all affected children, as well as School or Camp Nurses, after school activities (i.e. dance, martial arts, gymnastics, cheer, etc.)

If you have questions about how to treat lice properly, or about identifying lice in your family, please email me njlicelady@gmail.com.

 

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