It’s Not Nice to Have Lice

Suddenly, a severe itching sensation overtook my head. “It’s not nice to have lice,” I thought to myself, realizing that these pesky parasites had hitched a ride home with my son from his kindergarten class.

I didn’t suspect anything was wrong with my son for a while because he wasn’t scratching. I noticed his scalp crawled with lice when I looked at it closely. I didn’t know if I should contact my son’s school or his pediatrician or buy some lice treatments. I let the other parents in his class know how he felt because they had similar questions about how to deal with the lice problem.

You’re not alone here.

Don’t freak out if your child brings home a note from school saying that someone in their class has lice or if you see something moving in your child’s hair. Lice are incredibly common, unfortunately.

The annual number of infestations in children 3 to 11 years old in the United States is estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be between 6 million and 12 million. In fact, the prevalence of lice is highest in children of preschool and elementary school age.

Just what are they?

Infestations of these tiny critters are not pretty. To attach to the scalp, a louse (plural: lice) needs only to touch another hair. Contrary to popular belief, lice can only move from one scalp to another. However, a louse can become a problem if your kid shares a hat, comb, coat, or sweater with another kid.

Head lice are parasites that feed exclusively on human blood. The adult louse can be several different colors and is about the size of a sesame seed. Nits are the eggs of a parasite that are notoriously challenging to eradicate. According to the CDC, “especially around and behind the ears and near the neckline at the back of the head” are two of the most common locations for both.

This is the good news.

There is some good news. Pediculus humanus capitis, the most common type of head parasite found in children, has not been linked to any infectious diseases. Lice infestations are also unrelated to personal hygiene. In fact, the opposite is true: Lice are more attracted to clean hair.

There might be hints there about how to stop an infestation. If you keep your kid’s hair pulled back, there’s less of a chance that his or her hair will get tangled up in someone else’s. Hair gels, particularly oil-based ones, can hinder the ability of head lice to attach to the hair.

If you discover nits on your child’s head, you should not use shampoo or other treatment for lice as a preventative measure. Caution: Getting rid of lice and nits is easier if you catch them early and treat them.

Home visits

Having dealt with these parasites opened doors for me professionally. Exactly one year after my son’s incident, I decided to strike out on my own. I organized a team of doctors and other specialists to give free in-home treatments for head lice.

My employees will come to your home for $75 an hour (plus travel expenses) and perform a thorough de-lousing procedure, which usually takes about two and a half hours. Or you can pay a flat rate of $85 in Ann Arbor, which includes two follow-up visits.

A mother with two teenage daughters traveled 12 hours from Missouri to find assistance. They had been intermittently trying to eradicate the pests for five years. They tried everything, including shaving their daughter’s head, but the infestation still persisted.

Lice spotters at the boutique took three days and twenty-seven hours to comb through both girls’ hair and treat them. No more head critters for the girls! I’ve noticed that some people are more susceptible to getting lice than others.

Meaningful articles you might like: How to Talk to Your Child About Body Image, Tips on Personal Hygiene for Tweens and Teens, How To Deal With Head Lice Without Missing Class