Blog

Lice Happen: Be Armed with the Facts

lice

Any parent of a school age child should be aware that wherever kids gather in groups there is a chance of exposure to head lice.  The buggers know no cultural or geographic bounds.   In addition to the prevention methods we’ve discussed in other blogs, to aid our understanding, it’s a good time to examine some of the myths and facts about lice.

It is a MYTH that lice can jump

-There is a common misconception that lice can fly and jump, when the truth is that lice don’t have jointed bodies, hind legs or wings.  Lice can only crawl from head to head.


It is a MYTH that people who get heal lice are dirty.

-In reality, it is true that head lice are equal opportunity parasites.  It is actually easier for them to travel on clean hair.


It is a MYTH that you need to clean your entire house and bag up linens for two weeks.

-Head lice need blood to survive.  They will die within 24 hours when off the human head and without food source.

It is a MYTH that hairspray will prevent lice.

-Hair spray is not a deterrent for lice. Adding products to the hair can impede identification and complicate the treatment process.


It is a MYTH that using mayonnaise or olive oil will kill lice.

Although the oils may help in the combing out process, lice are not suffocated by them.


It is a MYTH that a nit or egg can hatch anywhere.

Once dislodged from the head nits/eggs cannot hatch, reattach or breed in the environment. Eggs do not travel!

Massachusetts lice profesional

Now that we are armed with the facts, we can turn our energy to preventing re-infestation:

Reduce risk of re-infestation with these tips:

-Keep hair pulled back when socializing with others

-Shampoo regularly with a mint-based shampoo or a lice prevention shampoo

-Use a mint-based leave in spritz/repellant before leaving home

-Comb with lice comb once or twice a week and watch for signs of lice

-Don’t let fear of embarrassment paralyze you from telling others

More tips can be found here 

 

All Aboard for Summer Camp: How to Prepare for Summer Activities and Lice

With summer fast approaching, many parents are busy making plans to send kids off to summer camp.  It is the perfect time to add a lice prevention and treatment plan to your child’s summer backpack.  Lice at summer camp is a reality:    If there are groups of children playing, it’s a good idea to assume one of them may have lice. Although, there are solid lice deterrents, if your child does contract lice, don’t panic!  There are effective, non-chemical treatments available which yield great successWith the small addition of a new grooming habit, your family can have the gift of a lice-free Summer, and peace of mind!

The Breeding Ground

Lice at summer camps can be a significant challenge.  It’s a good idea to arm yourself with the most comprehensive information before sending your child off to their new adventure. Typically camps will have some type of head lice policy and are perfectly willing to share this information with parents.

Surprisingly, there are many myths about lice infestation:  Lice are not caused by environmental factors.  The primary source of transmission is head to head contact while sharing personal or sleeping space. (Not so much by sharing personal items such as combs, brushes and clothing which is less than 5%. The family pet is not susceptible). Lice do not jump or fly. They crawl and can only survive for about 24 hours without a human host.

A Head Start

As a parent there are precautions you can take to help keep the critters at bay. Check your child’s head for lice before they depart for camp. Use a well-constructed metal lice comb on damp/wet hair under bright lighting. Make a clean pass from root to tip. Wipe on a white towel. Eggs/nits are about the size of a strawberry seed, are shaped like a teardrop, or tadpole with a little tail.  Lice are about the size of a sesame seed and can range in color from grayish to reddish/brownish. In order to survive, the adult bug must feed on human blood every few hours.

Have a discussion with your child about not sharing personal items.  Summer camp is built around the notion of bonding, so it is natural for kids to be close during activities and while sleeping. A reminder about sharing and personal space is a good idea.

Your Child Has Lice.  Now What?     
Ultimately, despite preparation and best efforts, lice infestation can happen at camp.  The first advice as always, is don’t panic!  The symptoms of head lice infestation include red bumps around the ears and back of the neck. Frequent head scratching is also a sign, but most infested individuals never itch.  You can read about more signs and symptoms here.   A lice infestation is a “medical nuisance” with no long-term health effects aside from scratching.   Contracting lice does NOT mean that your child or your home is dirty!  However, left untreated, lice will multiply and can infest the entire family.

Removal of lice doesn’t require a call to the doctor, and many prescription treatments can have harmful side effects.  A good metal comb will be most effective.

Get in touch with us!!  Nitty Bitty Critter uses the Shepherd Method™ of lice removal. This is a highly specialized strand-by-strand technique that eliminates the need for multiple treatments with harsh chemicals and prescriptions. We are mobile:  Service is provided in the privacy of your home. Trained, certified professional service on the East Coast that can take the stress out of lice removal.  Don’t let your summer vacation get ruined by lice!

We can help NOW!  Here’s how to prepare for our visit.

We can HELP now!
(978) 491-9563
CALL NOW

My Kid Has Lice: What Do I Do?

So you found lice, and now you’re asking yourself what to do? Don’t panic if you find lice on your kids or on yourself; we can help you get rid of them. Once you’ve identified that your kid has lice (read about the signs and symptoms), there are a few things you should do so you can be lice free!

First things first, you don’t need to go to the doctor. They’ll tell you go to purchase the lice removal products at your local pharmacy, which we also don’t recommend. Those products contain tons of chemicals that can be very harmful, and which also don’t work that well. You’ll find yourself frustrated to see the lice sticking around after using them.

I Found Lice! What Do I Do?

The easiest way to remove lice and nits from the hair is to wash and condition the hair before using a lice removal comb. Investing in a well-made lice removal comb will save you a lot of time and energy. After washing and conditioning, use the comb to make passes through the hair to remove the lice and nits, wiping the comb on a paper towel after each pass. This can be extremely time-consuming, but you need to take the time to go through each strand of hair.

We know how much time it takes to complete this task, which is why we’re here to help.
Call us and we’ll come to your home and handle this for you.

Next, change the sheets on the bed, identify combs and brushes that were used and isolate them, and do some light vacuuming. There’s no need to clean your entire home, just a few things you should do to contain the outbreak. Read more on how to clean your home properly.

You’ll need to check the head/hair every day to make sure that you continue to remove any lice and nits that remain. Continue daily until you no longer see any lice or nits, and you’ll be lice free!

Questions?
Let Us Know!

lice what do i do

 

Lice Outbreak? How To Clean Your Home

We know that dealing with a lice outbreak can literally make you feel like your skin is crawling. Just the thought of having lice can make you feel itchy, so we completely understand why you may feel like you need to clean your home from top to bottom when you find lice. We can assure you, however, that this is unnecessary!

Lice can’t fly or jump, and while they do crawl, they won’t want to leave the human head. They survive on human blood, so they don’t have much reason to leave the scalp. Lice can’t survive without a food supply for more than 24-48 hours, so even if they fall off the head, they won’t live long.

All of that being said, there are a few things you should do to make sure that you not only get rid of lice from your family’s heads, but also from your home.

Here are our tips on how to clean your home with a lice outbreak.

  1. Change sheets of the bed the infested individual has slept in within the last 24 hours. Wash and dry in hot temperatures, or just throw in with dirty laundry. Bedspreads, blankets, stuffed animals and comforters can be thrown in the dryer on high for 30-45 minutes.
  2. Combs, brushes and hair accessories used in the last 24 hours only:
    – Soak in alcohol or dish detergent for a minimum of 2 hours.
    – Put in a Ziploc bag and place in freezer overnight.
    – Put in dishwasher on hot cycle
    – Just set aside and don’t use them for a day or two
  3. Lightly vacuum on areas where the infested person sits or lays (ex: floors, furniture and other upholstery). No vacuum? Easy-peasy…use a lint roller!

Unnecessary time spent cleaning the house would be better spent lice-combing your child’s hair. In order to get rid of the lice, all you need is a great lice comb. Stay away from the popular lice removal products you can get at your local store, they contain harsh chemicals. If you need help, don’t hesitate to get in touch! 

What Are Lice, And Where Do They Come From?

what are lice

What Are Lice?

To put it simply, lice are parasites. There are various types of body lice, but we deal with head lice. Head lice are most common in children, especially as their social circles expand. Lice are primarily transmitted via head-to-head contact – think of kids laying down in a classroom for story time. Less than 5% of active cases are contracted through the sharing personal items like hats, scarves, and brushes.

Lice can be hard to see because they are very small – adult lice are roughly the size of a sesame seed. Keep an eye on your children and know the signs and symptoms of a lice infection.

How Do Lice Survive?

Lice feed on human blood, and can only live off the human body for up to 24-48 hours. When someone has head lice, generally you’ll find adult lice as well as nits (eggs) in the hair. One female louse can lay up to 10 eggs per day, and typically travel in harems of 8 females to one male. They attach to the shaft of the hair by a sticky substance that the female leaves behind. Nits can be extremely difficult to remove because of this substance, which is why you want a well-made metal comb to get rid of them.

The CDC estimates that there are 12 million cases of lice every year in the US for kids aged 3-11.

Where Do Lice Come From?

Honestly, no one really knows. Lice have been around for centuries, and have continued to spread. With people moving closer to each other, kids going to school together, and increased opportunities for social interaction, lice continue to survive. Because of the way their claws are constructed, lice can only move around on human hair to crawl and hang on. They cannot efficiently attach themselves to environmental surfaces or fabrics. Human head lice can only thrive on the human head.

How Do I Get Rid of Lice?

If your child comes home with lice, you’ll want to wash their hair and apply conditioner. Take a well-made comb and slowly pass it through their hair, from roots to end. Wipe the comb on a white paper towel after every pass. It’s the only way to successfully remove adult lice and the nits from hair.

Beware the popular lice removal products that are available, as many contain chemicals that we wouldn’t recommend you use on your children.

The Best Lice Combs You Can Buy

There are a lot of lice combs out in the market! It can be confusing to know which one you should buy when your child comes home from school with lice and you’re looking for treatment options quickly.

When it comes to buying lice combs, the factors you should take into consideration are;

  • Construction (how well made it is)
  • Effectiveness in removing lice and eggs

Stay away from any combs that have teeth that are short and/or made of plastic, those won’t be helpful at all. Here are two recommendations of lice combs that we feel are the best you can buy!

lice combs

Nit Free Terminator Lice Combs

This is absolutely the best lice comb you can buy. It’s made incredibly well, and is comfortable to use. It has a no-slip grip on it so you won’t have any trouble using it, even after putting conditioner in your child’s hair. The comb is laser cut, and guarantees that the teeth won’t move or separate, even after many uses. This comb will not only remove the lice, but also the tiny nits that stick to the hair.

LiceMeister Lice Combs

Another option is the LiceMeister Comb. It’s a well-constructed metal comb that will serve you well in lice treatment and prevention. The handle is fully sealed and doesn’t have any edges that may catch on hair as you use it.

In a comparison study done, the Nit Free Terminator was found to out-perform every other comb, including the LiceMeister and the combs that come with lice removal chemicals like Rid and Nix.

If your kids haven’t come home with lice yet, now is still a great time to purchase a lice comb for your home. Combing your child’s hair regularly with a lice comb is the best way to prevent a major outbreak of lice in your house.

Beware The Chemicals In Lice Removal Products

There are many well-known treatments for lice that can be bought over-the-counter, but do you really know what’s in them? There are a lot of chemicals in lice removal products. If you think about it, these products were created to kill bugs, which means they’re going to contain some pretty nasty chemicals. There are better and safer ways to get rid of lice!

chemicals in lice removal products

The popular brand Nix has the active ingredient Permethrin, which is used as an insecticide and is a neurotoxin. It’s a chemical that affects the nervous system, and can harm or kill animals like dogs and cats. Nix says you can only leave the product on for 10 minutes, and then when it likely doesn’t work, you can’t even reapply for another 7 days. Also, Nix only kills live lice and does nothing for the eggs, which means you’ll still have to do something else to remove the eggs from the hair. Why use something that could potentially harm your child, and doesn’t work?

Another popular brand is Rid, which also has Permethrin in it, and has Piperonyl butoxide (PBO) in the shampoo. While PBO isn’t a pesticide, it does enhance the strength of the Permethrin. PBO is also classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”.

Headlice.org has a complete list of popular lice treatments and the chemicals they contain. Before you purchase a product like this for your children, you should do some research on the chemicals you’ll be using.

The best approach is wash the hair, apply conditioner, and then go through the hair with a well-constructed metal lice comb, wiping on a white paper towel in between passes. It can be time consuming (which is why you can call us to come help!) but it’s the most effective way to get rid of the lice, and especially the eggs.

Not sure if your child has lice? Check out the signs and symptoms, or give us a call for help.

How Do I Know If My Child Has Lice: Signs and Symptoms

We know that as parents you constantly worry about your kids bringing head lice home from school, summer camp or sleepovers. If you’ve never had to deal with lice personally, you’re probably wondering what signs and symptoms of head lice are that you should be looking for on your kids. Symptoms may not present themselves in the most common of ways, but there are some things you keep an eye out for. As always, the best prevention is regular hair checks and combing hair with a well-constructed metal lice comb.

 

symptoms of head lice

Common Symptoms of Head Lice

1. Itching

This is the most common of all symptoms of head lice that you should watch out for without actually checking your child’s hair. While not everyone hosting the critters will itch, it is an indication that should give parents a heads-up. This is the symptom that school nurses and summer camps will keep an eye out for, especially if the child is scratching frequently.

You always want to confirm a diagnosis of lice if you’re being told that they saw your child itching. Usually by the time this happens the individual has built up an intolerance to the bug saliva, and the infestation may have been present for more than a month.

2. Not Sleeping Well

Having an itchy scalp would keep anyone awake, and having head lice is no exception, especially since they are nocturnal creatures. You may find that your child is extra tired in the morning even after a full night’s sleep.

3. Red Bumps on the Scalp or Neck

The gross truth is that head lice feed on blood, so if you find that your child has red bumps on their neck or scalp, it could be because of lice bites. Keep an eye out for red bumps behind their ears, along their hairline and on the back of their neck.

4. The Appearance of Lice and Nits (Lice Eggs) in the Hair

To diagnose if your child has lice, do a thorough check of their hair. Lice and nits can be hard to spot because they can look like dirt or dandruff, and the bugs move quickly in the hair (about 9 inches in 60 seconds). The best way is to detect the buggers is to apply conditioner to damp hair, comb it through with a regular comb to smooth out snarls, then go through the hair with a well-constructed metal lice comb, wiping on a white paper towel between passes.

Adult lice are about the size of a sesame seed and can be reddish-brown to grayish in color. Nits are as tiny as a strawberry seed, are egg shaped and will be attached to the hair approximately 1/8  to 1/4 of an inch from the root, on one side of the hair shaft. They can be beige to black, difficult to comb out and will feel like a grain of sand when you run your thumb and index finger along it. Nits will not budge if you flick or blow on them. You will literally have to scrape one off with your fingernail.

If you do find lice, don’t worry! Don’t tear your house apart. Lice can’t live off the body for more than 24-48 hours because they need to feed on human blood every few hours, so they won’t live on your furniture or in your bedding. If you need any help at all with treatment or advice on cleaning, don’t hesitate to call us! We’ll come to your house and make sure that you and your children are treated without toxic chemicals or harsh medication.

get in touch today

symptoms of head lice

Head Lice and Disease! Parents Need the FACTS!

Parents require correct information in separating fact from myth, regarding head lice treatment. Current research shows that the chemicals in products, such as Nix and Rid, no longer work! Pregnant/Nursing mothers and those with ragweed sensitivity need to avoid them. Sadly, they remain the most common “DIY” fix among parents in panic mode.

In light of this article, families affected by the strain of dealing with the lousy buggers need better resources:

The Itchy History Of Head Lice And Bacterial Pathogens

lice exposure

Lice Exposure from Summer Camp to Holiday Season Nightmare

Parents, if your child was exposed to head lice during Summer camp, symptoms can be hidden for over a month. If the hair is thick, perhaps even longer! This is a perfect environment for lots of head-to-head contact (which is the primary culprit for getting the little buggers). Camp staff are not trained to identify and remove lice correctly. Itching is not always the first sign of an existing infestation. If not properly  treated in a timely manner, what may have been a smaller nuisance in the late Summer/early Fall, can evolve into a Holiday Season nightmare for the entire family.

Summer camps admit head lice can be real headache .