Imagine this: You’re sitting down, pleasantly relaxing on a Sunday while attempting to avoid the planning and chaos that will soon begin as the school week commences. Unfortunately, your minute of solitary bliss is suddenly broken by hysterical screams coming from the children’s bedroom. Sipping your last bit of room-temperature coffee, you hope for the best as you open the door.
They’re itching. Your sweet little tykes are scratching away at their scalps like they’re on fire. You sigh as you realize just what might be happening. Lice. The irritating parasites that get into human hair like a plague.
Lice are suckers – no, really. They live off of human blood in the scalp and could care less if a person is clean or dirty. They love just about anyone’s head, and they don’t discriminate. In actuality, millions of Americans get lice every year. The one good thing about them is that they don’t spread disease and aren’t dangerous, but they are extremely contagious and terribly annoying.
What seems to be the most infuriating thing about these little insects is the way that they tend to multiply and evade various remedies.
“The over-the-counter products were not working and it was extremely time consuming,” said Katy D’Olive, who, after her own children were riddled with lice, decided to open a local, lice-removal service called Head Honcho five years ago. “The whole process was so stressful. I thought there had to be a better way.”
She soon began researching and found out that specialized lice-removal services were available all around the United States, but none near our area. “I also found out the techniques they were using were not only effective but more efficient,” she said. “I went to Atlanta and was trained by a certified lice-removal specialist.”
In a short amount of time, her business began to grow and her two partners joined: Katy Nicholas and Terri Stadther. She wasn’t the only parent frustrated with the contagious itch-inducing bug. “We are all mothers and understand the anxiety that lice can bring to families,” D’Olive said. “When people leave our office, they are not only thankful and relieved, but they are educated with the true facts of lice.”
All over the internet, and even from word-of-mouth, different myths have been spread concerning lice. Some are just plain ol’ false, while others are downright dangerous. “One time, a parent said she had put everything she could think of on her kid’s hair to get rid of the lice infestation,” D’Olive recalled. “Some of them were Coke, vinegar and gasoline! Not a good idea!”
It’s important to remember that lice don’t jump, fly or burrow. Off of the human head, they can only survive for up to 48 hours. Pets cannot get lice. The majority of the time they spread from head to head contact, but they can sometimes transfer from surfaces as well. The itching comes from the louse saliva. Many over-the-counter products, and even prescriptions, will kill the bugs, but not the eggs. The most important thing to do is remove the eggs, or nits, so they don’t continue to spread. D’Olive remembered another parent who incorrectly thought it was necessary to get rid of various household objects and decided to bag up all of her child’s stuffed animals for two weeks.
The experts over at Head Honcho recommend to wash bedding and dry on high heat. “The best way to prevent getting lice is to encourage your children not to have head to head contact and don’t share hats or brushes. Kids with long hair should wear buns or braids. Use lice preventative products. If someone in your family or classroom should get lice, don’t panic!” they said. They remind people that bombing the area with any type of insect killer or the like is not needed. Neither is cleaning every surface of your home. “Concentrate on the head!”
Whether you’ve ever had a run in with lice, or your child has, it’s a relief to know that there are some local experts on the case.
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