4/26/2016

No Cleaning, No Cry

I am a bit baffled.  Lately, I've been getting comments from people who say they love reading the blog but that they are exhausted by all the cleaning that you have to do when you have head lice.

Which once again makes me wonder if they have really read many posts.

Because if you read the research, you know that extra cleaning doesn't do anything in the fight against head lice.  Lice are not spread by inanimate objects in any significant way.  Lice researcher Ian Burgess has basically said that if a louse falls off your head, it is either dead or dying. Those suckers are designed to stay on the head.  In the 2010 paper, "Indirect Transmission of Head Lice via Inanimate Objects", researchers Deon V. Canyon and Rick Speare conclude: "The control of head lice should focus on the head, not on the environment.  Head lice scholars should focus on how to limit reinfestation rather than providing erroneous control advice...The promotion of inanimate objects that play an epidemiologically important role in head lice dispersal is unsupported by the evidence base..."

What does this mean?  You are not going to get head lice from your couch.  Or your bedding. In this paper, the authors call bedding a "hostile environment" for head lice.  Which means, lice don't want to leave your head because it has the climate (the right temperature) and the sustenance (your blood) that it needs to survive.  Lice will not find this on your cool linen sheets. Or on a hair brush.  Or on a hat.  So don't waste your time cleaning or laundering these things beyond your normal cleaning routine. Excessive cleaning won't help in the fight and it certainly could hurt (exhaustion, burnout, stress, anxiety, extra expenses, etc.)  When I did lice removal in the home, I would sometimes hear, "I didn't have time to do the lice combing what with all of the cleaning and laundry I've had to do." Constant cleaning makes us feel like we are dealing with the problem and being effective, but it is a sad illusion. It is the combing that gets rid of the head lice, not the cleaning.

You are going to get head lice from the head of someone else who has it. Head to head.  And you can't even be 100% certain who that person is, so don't waste your time worrying about that either. Follow the advice of the researchers.  Focus on the head, not on the environment.



 

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much! With our 4th round of lice in our house? I have come less cleaning and more combing. Never the proactive weekly checks which I'll be adding to our routine. Since we have had 4 rounds I am starting to feel as I am doing something wrong. So you recommend braiding young girl's hair if they can't seem to stop getting lice? Based on the time spacing of our rounds, I feel somewhat confident I get rod of them (roughly 9 to 15 months between infestations). Am I doing something wrong other than not doing weekly checks?

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

If there are 9 - 15 months between infestations, then you are not dealing with the same case of head lice over and over again. You are just unfortunate in that you are just getting new cases of head lice. Lice is so prevalent in our schools now - to get head lice, you just have to be human. It is not a hygiene issue and you are not doing something wrong.

The weekly checks will really help because if it happens again, you will catch it almost immediately and the lice will be almost no problem to remove. Usually, by the time someone realizes they have head lice, they have had it already for 3 months. The last time that I or any of my children had head lice, it wasn't found because we saw any signs of lice or felt itchy. There were no symptoms - we just found the lice during a routine check. And, it would usually be only one bug and maybe a couple of eggs. Quickly found, easily dealt with.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! Sunday night will be our lice check night with cheap conditioner, white towels, and metal lice comb in hand! Already reduced the lice search/combing time to about 15 minutes so it shouldn't be too bad.

Elise C. said...

Thank you so much for making this website and for all the info.

My mother in Law had just come for a visit, which can always be a little stressful, my husband caught a bad stomach flu the day she left, and then the day he starts feeling better I find my daughter has her first case ever of LICE. I started panicking. I went down to the store and bought $60 dollars worth of the shampoos and sprays and have been driving myself crazy for the last 3 days cleaning the house and doing laundry, which I have to do at the local Laundromat (another $50) because we live in a 2nd story apartment. I'm so tired and soar from going up and down the stairs with bundles and bundles of stuff I felt had to be washed or sealed up in bags and thrown in storage for 6 weeks, on top of using a new pillow which has made sleeping uncomfortable. My poor daughter hated the lice comb we got in the shampoo kits and I couldn't believe this plastic peace of crap was going to work on my own head let alone hers. Then I read about this whole super bug issue and I became frantic. I haven't been able to stop itching just from the thought of these bugs in my hair and my child's hair, let alone all over my house, and now I'm finding out they may never die? I had a complete melt down. So I started looking on line for services and answers to questions this evening.

I found u almost instantly and have been reading for the last 2 hours.

So, THANK YOU so very much for all this info, for basically being the voice of reason, for helping me calm down and start to regain my sanity. I have NOT been itching for at least an hour now and the first thing I'm going to do in the morning is take back the extra Lice Shampoo I purchased and buy one of the Lice combs u recommend, rent a movie for my little girl to enjoy and start combing. Then, tomorrow night, I'm going to make a real meal for my family for dinner for the first time in 4 days. My husband is going to be so relieved when he gets home from work tomorrow to see me calm . Thank u, thank u , THANK YOU!!!!!!

Elise C.
Antioch, CA

James Brown said...

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Anonymous said...

It's been 4 yrs since our last struggle with lice. I'm so glad I found your blog last night. We suspect our 6yr old got it this time. She was 2 last time so I'm a little more prepared. I didnt freak out.Thanks for the piece of mind. I work nights I hate doing laundry unnecessarily and my daughter's love their stuffed animals.

Anonymous said...

My head and especially my neck have been itching for weeks, but every time I would check my hair, I couldn't see any bugs. Today, my neck began to itch and I caught a live louse when I went to scratch it. Later on in the day, my head was itching and I felt something in there. So I put my finger on it and then pulled it out; it was definitely lice. I run out and buy this foam stuff called Vamousse and had someone comb my hair through with a metal fine tooth comb. From doing this, only a few nits and MAYBE 3 bugs came out. I then washed my hair with a shampoo made by the same brand, rinsed my hair and 2 more bugs came out. I am concerned now that I know I have lice that I'm barely getting any out. If my head has been itching for weeks, surely there has to be a lot in there, right? I'm going to continue combing through my hair everyday. I have long hair, so this process takes over an hour but I am so freaked out about these bugs. If I had a bunch, wouldn't they have come out in the comb?

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Melissa Worley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hi, my husband and I found lice on both of my kids and myself this 4th of July (yay fun holiday times!) Anyway, we've had to deal with lice a couple of times when our kids were younger, kindergarten and again in first grade. This batch seems different than before however. First the live bugs (quite a few) are so incredibly tiny, a long with the tiniest eggs we've ever seen, like super lice, but super tiny lice, half a pin prick. Secondly, the majority of eggs and bugs were found on our son who has the shortest hair, and then mostly around the crown and top of the head, not much behind ears or at the nape of the neck. Because they are so tiny we decided to purchase the Lice Free Terminator Comb (hopefully it will be delivered tomorrow.) we are using a head lamp and a standard long metal toothed comb, but it just isn't picking up the eggs. We have been combing 2x/day and after 4 days, still not having a "clean" combing session. (Again hopefully the Terminator will help) Mostly my question is have you heard of a newer strain of lice that are particularly smaller than average? Thanks as well, your blog has been incredibly helpful!!

Anonymous said...

I am so thankful I found your site! Such helpful information when five of the seven of us in my family got lice. I didn't have crazy cleaning sessions and didn't spend a ton of money. I just followed your advice and we have been free and clear for weeks now. My mother-in-law has even been borrowing the terminator comb I bought because the shampoos and combs you get with the kits have not worked on my nieces. I can't thank you enough for your wonderful advice!

Anonymous said...

I have been following your advice for a week. I have 8 girls with lots of hair! So I have 2 questions: 1) Nuvo method? 2) Is it still effective to do half of us 1 day, and the other half the next day, or is it best to comb all of us on the same day. It takes so much time. I've spend hours upon hours with so many of us. Thank you for all the good info and for your attention.

Erica symonds said...

Ok so I wont need to tell my mom(so far)Thanks so much!

James Brown said...

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maxsom said...

Hi. Do you have an email. I have some questions after my step son brought home lice and would like to talk to someone who isn't going to try to sell me something.

maxsom said...

Hi. Do you have an email. I have some questions after my step son brought home lice and would like to talk to someone who isn't going to try to sell me something.

Devendra Tripathi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alex said...
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Christie Gail said...

Great Blog! We (well, my daughter) has had lice only twice so far. It has taken me a full 24 hrs to treat her hair, wash all the bedding, pick out the nits, and both times we got rid of the lice the first time. Yes, it took alot of time picking nits, BUT if you do it properly the first time, then you don't have to worry about again.

Elizabeth Jarvis said...

Thanks, you are helping me get to sleep tonight! Are you still not offering in-home services? I would LOVE to book you...

Anonymous said...

Hi:
Great post. I had e-mail contact with researcher Rick Speares before his unfortunate death in a car accident (which he did not cause). Very sad. He seemed to be a fine fellow and willing to take time to assist all who approached him. He agreed with everything you have posted here. I tried to convince our local paper, The London Free Press in London, Ontario, of the misinformation they were spreading (and fear) but the reporter simply got bent out of joint. The reporter refused to even consider contacting Mr. Speares. I was surprised since I worked at that paper before retiring. Keep up the good work. It is difficult with newspapers and their reporters and editors all too eager to continue spreading the myths.
Cheers,
Ken

Minerva said...

Whilst looking for your blog again using Google I ended up on www.thenicelicelady.com and she does have a whole list of washing, boiling,hoovering and bagging etc to do - so perhaps that is where people are getting their info? I much prefer your relaxed keep calm and comb on approach ;-) My one concern is that there are still a lot of nit casings in dd's head - she was literally infested before she started scratching. I have 3 different combs, none seem to grab the nits - she has super fine hair.

Ali said...

Hi. I recently discovered that I have lice. My roommate and I have been sharing a hairbrush. I have had an itchy head for almost three weeks now and have done the shampoo treatment twice, and had a roommate pull the eggs out beforehand. The roommate I WAS sharing a hairbrush with refused to let me check her head. She says she does not have it since her head is not itchy. How can I convince her to let me simply CHECK to make sure? This is extremely frustrating to me since I feel like it is never going to go away because she probably has lice.

Anonymous said...

I got lice from my boyfriends house a long time ago because he had two young children that had it from school. My mother did not like him so when I got it she refused to help. It got worse and worse. I kept combing and cleaning and nothing seemed to help and she said she didn't have it. I moved out of her house and got it under control. I had to move back in with her because she got cancer and sure enough, I got lice again. She has a few strands (chemo) of hair and refuses to comb, shave, anything. It is so frustrating.

tlovesericviking said...

I am crying because yes I know that extra cleaning doesn't help. But I do throw the kids blankets and mine in the dryer for about 45 minutes on high dry. Then Vacuum my house and the couch where they have sat of course. I am crying because where I live in the states the school district lets your child stay at school with live lice. I have been fighting Lice about once a month since may 2016 because they brought it home from school. i do not know what to do anymore. it's so much stress on me it's making me terribly depressed.