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When I found lice for the sixth time I wanted to scream into a pillow, but first I had to wash it! I asked my pediatrician for his best prevention advice? Remain Childless, he said with a straight face. Thanks a lot Dr. Dry Humor!
In 2014 B.L. (Before Lice) during a more innocent era of parenthood, Pink Eye and Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease were my biggest worries. But no more! In 2015 A.L. (After Lice) when the big news story broke and that hideous map appeared on television screens, outlining the 25 states with Super Lice (California was highlighted!) I insisted my significant other leave work immediately and we list our house with a realtor. Wasn’t Oklahoma a nice place to raise a family??
But seriously, I’d been at the pharmacy purchasing over-the-counter Nit Kits so many times, the cashiers were donning gloves to ring me up. And since putting my kids up for adoption and moving out of state weren’t real options, I finally figured out how to handle this dicey err licey situation. Ready? Blend together four raspberries, 3 oz. vanilla yogurt, a ¼ cup orange juice with three shots of vodka. Lather this concoction into your kid’s hair overnight and . . . I’m kidding you drink it. You’ll need it!
Until you contact Lice Clinics of America, like I finally did.
The visit at our local clinic began with a really calm, extremely cheerful woman (Mary Poppins must’ve been released from her Disney contract?) who explained in great detail the simple procedure she would perform on my daughter. My girl was immediately intrigued by her own personal Louse Buster called the Air Alle©, (pronounced air-a-lay) which is an FDA-cleared medical device that kills head lice and 99.2 percent of lice eggs in a single, one-hour treatment.
It’s a revolutionary alternative without toxic pesticides, herbal remedies, or parasitic suffocation tactics, all of which will fail, by the way. This amazing machine, (which was invented by scientists at the University of Utah) works through a specific combination of temperature, airflow, time and technique. There was even a guarantee!
I sat fascinated in my comfy chair while observing the hour-long process, as a pleasant timer gently dinged periodically, subliminally suggesting I go buy a Betty Crocker mix (And maybe I should bake something to commemorate our final demise of lice!) That’s how confident I was that this one single visit had taken care of our lice problem, at long last.
During the short and easy post-treatment comb-out, I snapped a lot of photos of my smiling daughter to illustrate this article. She was so happy at how painless everything was that she announced she thinks she has a new career . . . as a Lice Salon Model. Oy, you’re still going to college, darling!
Driving home, I gleefully phoned my other five children and told them to fire up the oven â€” not to burn the house down like I’d threatened on previous occasions after a lice infestation, but to bake a cake so we could celebrate. After all, this was the last time I would have to wash a load of nit-infested linens (with the dryer heat set to the equivalent of the temperature on the surface of Mercury) to kill these bionic bugs!
Note: This blog post has been thoroughly treated by Lice Clinics of America and is guaranteed parasite-free therefore there’s no need to fear downloading or sharing it with friends. So do pass it on and save someone’s sanity!
Here is what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says about home cleaning when lice are found: â€œHead lice do not survive long if they fall off a person and cannot feed. You donâ€™t need to spend a lot of time or money on housecleaning activities.â€
Here is the CDCâ€™s recommended procedure: â€œMachine wash and dry clothing, bed linens, and other items that the infested person wore or used during the 2 days before treatment using the hot water (130Â°F) laundry cycle and the high heat drying cycle. Clothing and items that are not washable can be dryâ€“cleaned,â€ OR â€œstore in a plastic bag for two weeks.â€
Also, â€œSoak combs and brushes in hot water (at least 130Â°F) for 5â€“10 minutes.â€
The CDC recommends vacuuming the floor where the person with lice has been, â€œHowever, the risk of getting infested by a louse that has fallen onto a rug or carpet or furniture is very low. Head lice survive less than 1â€“2 days if they fall off a person and cannot feed; nits cannot hatch and usually die within a week if they are not kept at the same temperature as that found close to the human scalp.â€
Now you know. â€œSpending much time and money on housecleaning activities is not necessary to avoid reinfestation by lice or nits that may have fallen off the head or crawled onto furniture or clothing.â€ Phew!
Welcome! It’s lice to meet you. As a mother of six parasite-prone children, I have tons of lice experience. In fact, I’m just itching to show off my lousy resume and if necessary, I can supply three nitwit personal references too. Letter of recommendation? Yep! I’ve got a truly hair-raising one written by a nymph, (an immature, teenage louse) herself. And that’s just the tip of the liceberg.
But I’ll spare you all of that and simply invite you to stick around here for some humor, support, and the calming reassurance that you’ll find in our Parenting Corner, because you’re never alone. That’s right, we’re always in your corner and we’ll get through this together because you know what they say? It’s a small world, after all!
As a way to cope, think back to Psych 101 class, where you learned about the Five Stages of Loss & Grief.
(1. Denial 2. Anger 3. Bargaining 4. Depression 5. Acceptance.)
Now brace yourself because here’s my version with a licey twist!
1. SHATTERED INNOCENCE: (The Warning Signs!) Official-looking lice notices fly (even though lice don’t fly!) around school everywhere. You walk in on the tail end of a conversation between two mothers using the “L” word in hushed tones. Throats clear. We meant Lice, as in pizza day. Gotcha! The weekend slumber party circulates ghost stories about eggs lodged in a popular child’s hair that are more chilling than chanting, “Bloody Mary” three times in the mirror. And finally, that fateful episode where Muffy contracts lice on the animated children’s series Arthur, airs three times in one week. Ominous foreshadowing? Perhaps.
2. DENIAL: (The Disowning Thoughts!) My little boy’s allergies sure are acting up, must be a reaction to that new hair gel. Let me take a closer look, (gasp) tell me sweetheart, did you by chance participate in a fun craft project in school today with glitter that looks like poppy or sesame seeds? Lice is something that only happens to other families and Pam Whats-Her-Face on that hit show, The Office. I’m a good mother, wife, housekeeper, laundress, hygiene-instiller, Girl Scout leader, (fill-in-the-blank) and I buy all organic produce . . . so it simply cannot be lice. It’s dandruff, dammit.
3. BARGAINING: (The Deals!) Please. I’ll volunteer to be Room-Mother at school AND the field trip driver. Okay, I’ll also become the art assistant. Absolutely, I’ll totally give up my eating the jar of Nutella with a spoon habit. Cold turkey. And I’ll stop complaining about having to buy knock-off designer purses at Target. Just please let me wake up and make these Super Lice a bad dream.
4. TERROR: (The Faulty Assumptions!) Life as I know it, is officially over. Weâ’ll be branded with Scarlet L’s on our chests forever. We’ll never be hugged again. All the moms will think we’re the ones who started it. And Eeek! The bugs are everywhere on our car seats, the sofa, inside Cheerios cartons, they’ve burrowed into our drywall, and our shag carpets are literally teeming with them. OMG. Did I just use the word teeming? Who even says that??
5. ANGER: (The Ranting!) It was that weirdly dressed kid at school whose mother is an Avon Lady and still throws Tupperware parties, I just know it. Donâ’t even think about watching TV in the lice-free common area formally known as the family room! You’re gonna stay isolated in that bathtub for 2 whole hours while I pour ingredients typically found in a cobb salad onto your scalp. Forget the washing machine let’s trash all the linens and clothes. Are you certain we’re current on our homeowner’s insurance premiums, Dear? Great. Fetch the box of matches and some kerosene!
6. SPECIAL CELLPHONE OUTBURST: (Hating On Technology!) Stupid Selfies! Who leans their head right next to their BFF’s long hair 167 times a day to take pictures that will vanish after 10 seconds anyhow? What’s the point? You want to have a photo near someone else so badly? Cut his or her face out of the school yearbook with a scissors and paste it next to yours. I remember when we just had cameras and wristwatches. Where were all the lice back then??
7. RULUCTANT ACCEPTANCE: (But No Surrender!) Deep breath. Oh, it’s just a nice white paper towel from that super-absorbent roll I bought last week . . . with three wriggling, filthy vermin on it. Well that’s the living proof, I suppose. I’ve researched online for hours and here’s an interesting tidbit. Did you know in 1100 A.D. that a Rabbi proclaimed it was permissible to remove head lice on the Sabbath? Now I can officially pun with the best of ’em. Listen to this . . . I’ve got a new lease on lice and No more Mr. Lice guy. Guess what else? I carried this baby for 9 months, labored for 28 hours, and needed an emergency C-section so if you blood-sucking, beastly, six-legged grotesque organisms think you’re gonna have a piece of her, you’ll have to get thru me first!
POST-LICE PARANOIA: (The Odd Behavior!) Temporary Neat Freaks unite! In this final stage, you have never scrubbed your house so thoroughly. And by you, I mean your spouse. You hire the little person who played Tangina from the 1982 movie Poltergeist to declare, This house is clean! Your daughter is forbidden to play beauty parlor with Katie ever again. If they get bored, they can just French braid each other’s fingers. You say things like, Nobody needs to sleep with their head on a pillow, it’s bad for the spine. And are constantly shouting, Kendall! Tell me I didn’t just see you scratching?!
So there you have it. No matter what stage you’re in, if you’re feeling like it’s a no-win situation, rest assured that countless others have gone through these familiar phases before you. And they all came out just fine, maybe they’re even laughing a bit, in retrospect.
Until next time, I’m Debra DÃ© Louse (and no, we can’t blame my mother for the name. My father was the one who picked out Debra™) reminding you that there can be saNITy around a nit. Just call Lice Clinics of America because they have guaranteed results, all treatments are non-toxic, and they are recommended by pediatricians.
The best time to talk to school officials about head lice is before there is an outbreak in the schoolâ€”like at the beginning of school yearâ€”when no one is in a state of crisis. Schools have been dealing with head for decades and most have a procedure for dealing with outbreaks. Find out what your schoolâ€™s procedure is in order to be prepared when and if the time comes to use it.The time will likely come. With 6-12 million cases of head lice estimated to occur each year, odds are that youâ€™ll be dealing with the little bugs at your school. Understanding how you can work with school officials can make it easier.When the time does come, if you find head lice on your child, by all means contact the school nurse or the appropriate school official. You might be embarrassed, but the reality is that the more quickly the school and other parents are informed, the less severe the outbreak will be.
If you are contacted by the school about lice in your childâ€™s class, or on your childâ€™s head, donâ€™t â€œshoot the messenger.â€ School leaders are doing their jobs. Most of the time they are happy to help you deal with the situation.
Teachers, administrators and school nurses have been dealing with lice throughout their careers. Usually they are a source of calm when parents get hysterical. They know the facts. Head lice have nothing to do with hygiene and cleanliness. They donâ€™t cause any health problems. They will go away. That said, most people donâ€™t want them around and lice have been historically extremely difficult to eradicate.
Many school districts have changed their policies on head lice. In the past a â€œno nitâ€ policy was commonâ€”meaning a child must stay home from school until he or she is declared free of live lice and eggs (nits). Strict â€œno nitsâ€ policies are now opposed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Association of School Nurses. The reason? â€œThe burden of unnecessary absenteeism to the students, families and communities far outweighs the risks associated with head lice,â€ according to the CDC.
Children simply need to be more careful with their hair when dealing with lice. Once you comb out the live lice, there is little risk of spreading lice to others. Nits donâ€™t spread. Long hair should be pulled back. Hats, brushes and clothes that touch hair should not be shared.
We believe in an â€œhonesty is the best policyâ€ about head lice, especially in schools. There is a tendency for parents to â€œblame and shameâ€ one another, which really isnâ€™t necessary. No one did anything wrong. Teachers, unfortunately, are often stuck in the middle and thatâ€™s not fair. If everyone was honest about when and where they find head lice in their families, everyoneâ€™s life would be a little easier.
If your child comes home from school and says that another kid in school has lice, you can say the same thing. That child (and its parents) didnâ€™t do anything wrong.
The myth that lice happen because of poor hygiene or subpar living conditions has been chipped away at over the years, but the myth and the stigma that follows it are still alive. Kids get lice from hair-to-hair contact with other kids. Period. There are certainly things you can do to help prevent lice from landing on your childâ€™s headâ€”keep long hair pulled tight; discourage sharing hats, brushes and anything else that touches hairâ€”but no amount of hair-washing will prevent a live louse from crawling from one kidâ€™s head to another if the opportunity arises.
Unfortunately, â€œyou didnâ€™t do anything wrongâ€ may not be the message your child has already received at school or day care. School officials and other children may have reacted with fear or alarm that could be interpreted as blame or judgment.
Tell your child that â€œcatchingâ€ head lice is like catching a cold. You get it from someone else, who got it from someone before that. No one did anything wrong. There is no morality involved.
You can also tell your child that head lice arenâ€™t dangerous and that, like a cold, they will go away with appropriate treatment. No big deal. While youâ€™re treating it, youâ€™ll have to be careful not to let is spread to othersâ€”repeat the hats and brushes advice.
You can also make a lice encounter a learning experience. Tell your child that lice have been â€œbuggingâ€ people for thousands of years (see our blog post, A Brief History of Lice). Cleopatra had a lice comb in her tomb. Lice have influenced our vocabulary: A â€œlouseâ€ (singular for lice) is someone who behaves badly; â€œlousyâ€ is defined as â€œvery poor or bad;â€ a nitwit is someone or something stupid; and a nitpicker is someone who is overly critical. And remember, every time you decide to go through something â€œwith a fine-toothed comb,â€ you are referring to lice treatment!
Know that you are not alone. There are 6-12 million cases of head lice in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Fortunately, they are getting easier to treat with the advent of the AirAllÃ© medical device. Offered by Lice Clinics of America, AirAllÃ© is an FDA-cleared medical device that kills live lice and eggs in a single treatment that takes about 90 minutes. Know that there is a safe, fast and effective solution available can go a long ways to reducing fear and stress.