Lice Happen: Be Armed with the Facts


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 


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!

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”. 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.

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