Calm down. Lice don't like to live on faux suede.

Spraying your house/furniture/belongings with pesticides for head lice is bad for five reasons:
  1. Lice live on the head.  Period.  Don't waste your time cleaning your home any more than you normally do.
  2. You shouldn't be bringing these harmful chemicals in your home. These chemicals are more dangerous to your family's health than any head lice.
  3. Pesticides are not effective in the fight against head lice. Studies have shown that fumigating for head lice will not decrease your chances of becoming reinfested.
  4. These chemicals are not necessary. You don't even need to vacuum anything. 
  5. Fumigating costs a lot of money. You should put your hard-earned money toward treatments that have an excellent success rate (like my lice removal services!).
Don't go crazy cleaning your house.  Save your energy for dealing with the place that lice actually live and thrive - on the head.


Tis The Season

Are there certain "seasons" for catching lice? Some schools report that they see more cases of lice in the fall. Personally, I think this has more to do with the fact that students come back to school in the fall, and school is often where lice first gets noticed.

Lice can adapt to any weather and climate, as long as they have a nice warm head to live on. In my opinion, any season is lice season.


Lice Lesson #12: Some people don't like bugs.

Why do I pick head lice? Because I can. In fact, I find it extremely rewarding to nitpick and remove lice. If someone you know has lice, I really encourage you to try it. However, I have found that some people just do not want to go near the little critters, or do not have the time. And head lice is one of those things you need to spend time on. It is one of those things that gets quicker with experience.

That's where I come in. I can help you with a quick assessment, I can just give your lice picking a head start (pardon the pun) or I can nit pick the whole head and remove the lice. It is up to you - maybe you just need information or reassurance that you are on the right track. Maybe you don't want to have to deal with it at all. Whatever your need, I'm here to help.

What You Can Do: Give me a call and we can discuss your needs and your options.


Lice Lesson #11: Watch Out For Imposters, Part 2.

My friend phoned and asked about bugs. Bed bugs. Based on the bites she had, she wanted to make sure it wasn't head lice, or body lice, or scabies. Her bites were like mosquito bites on her torso. Head lice bite on or just around the head only, so it wasn't head lice. Body lice tend to bite in the warm places that are touched by the seams of your clothing, and you can see them on your clothes. Scabies also prefer the warm parts - armpits, wrists, under folds of skin - their bites are small and often in a line. We decided that her bites were caused by bed bugs and this was later confirmed. Ah, the pestilence that we have to face!

What You Can Do: Read about different parasites such as human lice, scabies, and bedbugs and investigate anything that looks like a bug bite.


Lice Lesson #10: Watch out for imposters.

Most people who ask me to check their heads do not have head lice or eggs. They have dandruff. Or a bad case of hair spray. There are many things you can find on your head - dead skin, hair casts, tiny globs of hair product, sand, crumbs, and sometimes even bugs from outside. How can you tell the difference between these items and lice eggs (nits)?

The easiest way to discern whether or you have found a nit is this:
If you flick it, and it moves, it is not a nit.
The female louse cements each nit to the hair. These nits are extremely hard to remove and have to be scraped off the hair. I still check the whole head anytime an itch has been reported. It's better to be safe than sorry.

Lice Lesson #9: Don't Sweat The Small Bugs

Remember, while you don’t want to underestimate the little guy, it’s just head lice. I know it may really creep you out. I know it is frustrating and time consuming and has you scratching all the time. But this isn’t a tragedy, it’s just an inconvenience. The head louse is not a disease carrying insect. Remember, you need not feel ashamed – you didn’t do anything criminal. No matter how long you have had it, and how much you hate it, please try to keep it in perspective. Hey – in some cultures, you’d just be growing your own delicacies.


Lice Lesson #8: Bad lice happen to good people.

Almost every mammal has its own species of lice. The exceptions are the anteater, the armadillo, and the duck-billed platypus. Do you think head lice can happen to you?
Take this simple quiz to find out:a) Are you human?
b) Are you alive?
c) Do you have any hair on your head?

If you answered yes to these questions, then you are a candidate for head lice. The louse is an equal opportunity insect – be clean/dirty, old/young. Doesn’t matter. You did nothing to bring this on besides being born.

What You Can Do: Stop feeling guilty and stop pointing fingers. Lice happens. Get over it.

Lice Lesson #7: Have patience.

I know you are tired. I know that your kid’s head lice has changed your plans today. But you gotta get those lice and pick those nits. If you just can’t bring yourself to pick, then let me pick. Your panic makes you want to sprint, but if you do that, then you won't be able to complete the marathon. No matter what the makers of pesticides claim, there are no magic elixirs that can take your lice away. Just keep going, one egg at a time. Tomorrow, it won’t take as long. Less time the day after that.

What You Can Do: Don't try to do it all. It will be OK to let some other things go during this time. Take some appointments off your schedule so you can give the lice the "attention" they deserve. Take a break when you need it.


Lice Lesson #6: Lice are specialists.

The pediculus humanus capitis (head louse) is designed for one thing only. Crawling on human heads. These critters cannot survive anywhere else for very long - not on pets, not on furniture, and not in a lab, which is why there is relatively little research conducted regarding lice. And have you seen them crawl? Off the head, they are bumbling idiots who don’t get very far. And then a hair gets within reach and zoom! It doesn't matter if the hair is clean or dirty. It is freaky how fast they can move. Their little bodies are designed for speed.

What You Can Do: When you see a live louse in hair, wet the hair.  It puts the louse into survival mode and slows it down. Use your proper metal lice comb don't give up in your quest to catch it.

Lice Lesson #4: Don't believe everything you read.

Or, a little misinformation goes a long way. Traditional lice treatments (pediculicides) say that they will kill all the nits. Don't believe it - nothing is 100% ovicidal. They say these treatments are safe. Then they give you a list of possible side effects. Like many, I used to think that the risks were worth it if it killed the lice. However, in North America, the lice have adapted to these pesticides and have reduced their effectiveness from 50 - 90%. Those lice that are affected lice may take up to 7 hours to die, which gives them time to lay a couple of more eggs. What really gets me, is that you have to pick all of the eggs whether you use lice "shampoo" or not? These pesticides are costly and don’t save you any time, so why use them?
What You Can Do: Kick it old school, or should I say, pick it old school. Go through every section of hair and remove every adult louse, nymph (baby louse), and nit (egg). And then keep checking every day for any new activity. Forget the "shampoos".

Lice Lesson #3: There’s often more than meets the eye.

So, you see only one egg on your son's head. Big deal right? Believe me, there are probably more. And if you don’t get them out, they will hatch and create even more. Where there are eggs, there are adult lice. Lice are quite hard to find – they don’t like the light and will move quickly to hide again.

What You Can Do: Set the stage for a good check –get in the right light, get the right tools, get your kids a snack, put on a movie, and have the kids go pee - do whatever you need to do to allow yourself to do an extensive search for lice and nits (eggs).

Lice Lesson #2: When in doubt, check it out.

Does your head itch? Did you just see your child scratch her head? Take a quick look in the itchy area. Any bite marks? Eggs? Live bugs? Besides these random checks, lice checks should be a part of your daily routine. I do a quick check on my kids when I brush their hair in the morning and when they brush their teeth at night. I also do a thorough combing through everyone's head each week.

What You Can Do: Understand the difference between vigilance and paranoia. Don't go crazy and grab your child's head every time they brush the hair out of their eyes. But if you see extended or repeated scratching, get in some good light, and do a check.

Lice Lesson #1: People can be very nice.

When we think of head lice, we often think of children taunting other children on the playground at school and how cruel people can be.
My first experience with head lice was at a summer camp I worked at. Most camps turn away kids with lice, but the director of this camp understood that such a thing should not stop a child from having a great experience. Every child that had lice started the week by having their heads shampooed and nit picked. All their bedding and clothes were washed and dried before they went back to their cabins. As the children got their heads picked, they watched movies and ate snacks. The leaders were fantastic and the kids had a blast. More importantly, they were so relieved. Some of these kids had suffered with head lice for years. The staff had truly blessed these campers. I now know that the treatments are not needed and usually ineffective, and I also know that combing with a proper metal comb is much more effective, but that's not the point.  What I learned from this experience is that head lice are not the plague and if you deal with it head on (no pun intended) it can be beaten. The kindness I saw at this camp changed me. Everyone on camp knew that these children had started the week with lice, but the other campers were accepting of these bunk mates. Once children (and parents) understand head lice, they are usually very understanding themselves.

What Can You Do: Ensure that your child's school has the most up-to-date information about head lice treatment and that this information is shared regularly.  Show sympathy and offer assistance to other families that you meet who are dealing with head lice.