Even if you don't know what to do, do something!

A CPR instructor once told me that a high percentage of serious emergency situations where a first aider is on the scene, the injured or ill person still dies. I found this to be surprising. Then he continued by saying that the deaths didn't occur because the first aider did not adminsiter CPR correctly, but rather because the first aider didn't do anything at all. Many first aiders are so afraid of making mistakes; afraid of getting the ratio of breaths to compressions incorrect, or of doing things in the wrong order, that they remain inactive. The CPR instructor said, "But if the person's heart has stopped, they are technically DEAD. Your imperfect or rusty technique isn't going to make the person more dead. You have nothing to lose by taking some action.

It is the same with head lice.

So it's late and you can't get to the store to get a good lice comb? Use the comb you have and comb the hair that is detangled, wet, and conditioned. You will still be able to get out quite a number of adult bugs this way.

Or grab your blowdryer - warm, fast blowing air kills bugs and eggs.

Or, get in some good light and simply go through the hair, strand by strand. Just like the monkeys do. Look at the root of the hair and the scalp and pick out what you see. Is it eggs or dandruff? Well, dandruff will usually move when flicked, but eggs won't. When in doubt, pick it out. Even with no other tools, your nimble fingers can pick out bugs and eggs faster then they can lay them. If you spend time considerable on this problem and focus your energies on the scalp (and not on housecleaning) you can out run those bugs.

Head lice has been around longer than our tools. We have dealt with them for a long time. You have the ability to get rid of them, or at the very least, get the head lice under control. Get started and do something.


Why I don't like lice "shampoos" or "treatments".

In the fight against head lice, so many professionals state that permethrin based products are your first line of defense. They are touted as being necessary treatments when in fact they are not needed at all. Here is why I have a big problem with lice "shampoos":

1. These "treatments"are costly.
My heart always breaks when I hear yet another story of a family that spend hundreds of dollars on "shampoos" and "treatments" only to find that they didn't work. Most "shampoos" require a second treatment in a week. Bring out the credit card - cha-ching! But wait a minute - I charge for my lice checking/removal services - am I hypocritical?

Don't believe the Nix package. The hair dryer is your friend.

Here's some info I've mentioned before, but it is worth mentioning again. Researchers at the University of Utah created a contraption called "The Lousebuster"(Update: This device is now called the AirAlle). It is a souped-up blow dryer that kills 80% of lice and 98% of nits. Sounds great, huh? It is, but read on...

In creating this specialized tool, they did quite a bit of research about blowing air and head lice. Here's what they discovered the effectiveness of using a regular blow dryer as a weapon against head lice:

How I found a bug on my head. And why I'm happy about it.

As 'The Nice Lice Lady', I am in frequent contact with head lice. Because of this, I have my own head checked regularly for lice and nits. My buddy does a quick check of my head daily, and I check the heads of my children. I also comb my hair thoroughly each time I'm in the shower or bath.

Today I was having a nice Mother's Day bath and combing my hair, alternating between using a fine-toothed plastic baby comb and a metal lice comb. I like using both because the plastic comb goes through the hair faster, but the metal comb squeezes the hair more. When combing, I put hair conditioner in my hair to keep my hair wet and to make combing easier. Also, please understand that I'm not just combing my hair long enough to get tangles out. I'm combing for upwards of one hour - combing from under the hair, over the hair, from back to front and from front to back. I scanned the comb after every stroke to see if I had found anything. I had never had head lice in my hair ever since becoming a professional lice remover.

Until today. I found a tiny louse and I was giddy. There are two reasons that I was happy about what I found:


How to become an expert.

How did I get to know so much about head lice?
Well, first, I was exposed to lice/nit-picking, realized that I rather liked doing it, and then did it for everyone I knew that had head lice. Then I read everything that I could get my hands on about head lice, from reputable and not-so-reputable sources. After that, I took my new knowledge out for a spin. Did you know that adult lice can swim in Nix for a long time? I do, because I dropped them in the Nix myself. How do I know that a louse can look like a minuscule red speck of pepper? Because I saw the tiniest red speck on someone's head, wondered "what is that?", looked at it under my microscope and found it to be a perfect little louse. How do I know that you can believe those studies that say that permethrin, the pesticides found in most lice "shampoos", has become essentially ineffective?

Head Lice in the Daycare

In a public school, if your child has head lice and the school tells you to keep your child at home, you can probably fight it if you are able to show the school authorities that you are taking reasonable measures to deal with this problem. If your child has head lice and attends a daycare center, dayhome, or out-of-school care facility, that is another story.

Should I keep my child home from school?

I want everyone to take the problem of head lice seriously. Just because I do not endorse the use of pesticidal shampoos, that does not mean that I downplay the seriousness of it. Everyone should give this problem the time and the effort it deserves. That said, should a child with head lice be kept home from school?