Lice Panic Strikes Again!

by Deborah Wolfson, owner of Lice Ladies Tampa Bay

Lice doesn’t run around a room, house or school. Here’s some great info for you:

People don’t realize that when they self treat and don’t get all of the lice and nits out, their own kids are continuing to spread it to other kids. This, in no way, is the responsibility of the school to fix. Kids can get lice anywhere – playing with neighborhood friends, Disney World, youth group, school friends, taking selfies with heads touching, etc…. People also don’t understand that the lice are increasingly resistant to pesticides, and if ALL of the nits (eggs)are not physically removed, they will continue to hatch into baby bugs. The labels on the pesticide shampoos have false claims that they kill lice and nits and that is just no longer true. They have been “super bugs” for several years now. This is not new news!

We tell our clients:

1. That lice is 2nd to the common cold in the entire U.S. in elementary and younger and that WHEREVER there are kids, there will be lice – including the park, school, church, Disney World, etc. It is becoming more rampant in older kids now too – taking selfies, sleepovers, etc. Lice is mostly spread by head to head contact. They do not jump or fly.

2. That the school can NOT legally make a parent get a professional head lice service. Just like when a kid gets sick, the parent has to decide how to treat their own child.

3. That it is the legal responsibility of the parent to decide how to check their own children for lice. It is not the school’s responsibility to check their kids for lice. A school can not force a parent to treat a certain way so it is the parent’s legal responsibility. Plus, kids can get lice from anywhere there are people with hair! It doesn’t run around a place…it is spread from head to head contact. The school can not stop kids from touching other kid’s heads – hugging, whispering in ears, leaning in too close, having sleepovers, sharing brushes, etc…

4. We tell parents that kids need to try to do their own part by not touching heads – that’s the only way to be sure you don’t get lice. Of course with small ones, they are not physiologically developed enough yet to have a sense of personal space so the parents need to be doing weekly checks. We teach them to do a once-a-week maintenance check with a good lice comb that takes 5 minutes per child.

5. Also, the school, as well as our company, are bound by the HIPAA laws and we can not say who was treated, who had lice, etc.. so again, it’s the responsibility of the parents to care for and treat their own children.
We want to help parents and guardians as much as we can here at Lice Ladies!

Many parents turn to popular over-the-counter treatments which contain pyrethrin or permethrin. They used to work more than 10 years ago but head lice are increasingly resistant to pesticides and literally NOTHING kills the nits. They have to be combed out. Regarding the pesticides, even though they are not effective anymore, we invite these pesticides into our own bloodstream when we use those products. They can begin to attack our central nervous system…in effect poisoning the human…not just possibly killing a few of the head lice running around in our hair.
Many health officials have continued to recommend these products like permethrin, pyrethrin, Lindane, Malathion, Ovide, Ulesfia, etc…. they still work occasionally killing some of the live bugs in some people, some of the time – however the dangers are great and the eggs (nits) are proving to still hatch when left in the hair. Consumer Reports say Lindane can have serious risks and should not be used. Studies show a newer prescription drug called Spinosad could be effective, but its long-term safety is unknown. It’s reported to be very expensive . We have heard reports that it costs as much as $280 for four ounces. We have also been witness to newer non-pesticide prescriptions that claim to “freeze” the nits. We see people that have spent over $300 on this prescription only to have a crop of baby bugs hatch out of said “frozen” nits. Ivermectin also does not kill all of the lice, nor does it sterilize all of the female adults or kill the nits. We see children with freshly hatched nymphs after also using Ivermectin. You can’t blow dry or dehydrate all of the nits – they STILL have to be combed out. Some of them most likely will hatch into nymphs if left in the hair.

The safest and most effective method to get rid of human head lice is to comb out the bugs and nits. Studies have shown that pediculosis capitis, human head lice, are becoming more and more resistant to pesticides which include the prescriptions. There’s nothing actually new about “super lice or mutant lice.” We have had this in the states now for around 8 years and are more than a decade behind Europe and Asia with the pesticide resistant bugs – head lice only being one of them. Many of the drug companies have funded some of these “new” mutant lice studies.

Some parents apply mayonnaise, Listerine, cetaphil or olive oil on the heads of their children. This can smother the adult lice, but does nothing to kill the nits. The nits still have to be combed out.

A good enzyme based product that aids in loosening the nit glue along with a premier, professional comb is the best bet. Of course Lice Ladies are always here to help!