Updated on December 17, 2018
Maybe you have ruled out chemicals for safety reasons or because you have read and heard that they are no longer effective. (Resistant Lice Crisis)
Perhaps you have unsuccessfully tried those or other alternative lice treatments and are ready to call in the pros.
As long-time participants in the lice removal field, we have “seen it all”. Usually, we only talk about our own lice removal protocols, but after 20 years in the field, we have decided to share what we have researched as well as what we have heard from clients about alternative treatments, about which we will report in this blog and subsequent blogs. We acknowledge that it is a challenge for us to be objective, but we promise to only report what we have gleaned from reputable sources which we will reference with attribution.
In this blog we will talk about LiceDoctors and compare our program to those of salons that use hot air devices, also called AirAllé (formerly Lousebuster) and often operating under the name Lice Treatment Center. LiceDoctors makes house calls and typically uses an oil-based and manual extraction process correlated with the life cycle of the louse and developed by Dr. Stephen Beck, on staff physician and medical director. (Lice Doctors Treatment). AirAllé heating devices are typically used in salons and blow heated air at the scalp. (AirAllé® Lice Treatment)
Below we will discuss a variety of criteria:
LiceDoctors and AirAllé report effectiveness rates of over 99%, the highest reported in the industry. LiceDoctors has 99.5% success rate (LiceDoctors is most effective) while AirAllé claims 99.2% (AirAllé effectiveness).
On her website, Let’s Be Pals, owner Julie discusses some issues with the AirAllé efficacy claims, citing results of two studies: (American Association of Pediatrics) and another study here (Journal of Medical Entomology). She writes, “The studies appear to use a lot of non committed words “an appreciable number of eggs” “nearly all”. And the study excluded subjects with a “high” probability rate of reinfestation from the follow up analysis which sort of makes it sound like the tests were manipulated to have the best possible outcome.” You can see her whole discussion at (Does the Lousebuster work?)
LiceDoctors oil based and manual extraction protocols are 100% safe for children and adults of any age. This treatments are also safe for pregnant women and nursing mothers. In over 20 years, there have never been any allergic reactions or side effects.
AirAllé carries risk warnings on its website: the web site warns: “Can not be used on people who can not sense temperature or pain; who can not communicate physical discomfort; who have open wounds, sores…..
Note that safe use of the AirAllé device has not been demonstrated for children under the age of 4 years old….
- CAUTION: Because the device delivers heated air, there is a slight possibility of scalp burn if the device is not used according to instructions.
- CAUTION: Some dead or living lice and lice eggs may remain in the hair after an AirAllé treatment…after treatment a complete comb-out with a louse comb is recommended. (AireAllé Risks)
Note that there is a significant difference in price between LiceDoctors and salons using AirAllé devices; the salons are far more expensive!
LiceDoctors charges $199 for the first hour and $99 for each subsequent hour for fewer than 50 miles.
To treat a family of 4 usually takes about 2-3.5 hours (depending on degree of infestation and length and thickness of the hair).
A family of 4 averages $300 to $450 including travel. For LiceDoctors pricing details click here.
Air Alle salons have a range of prices depending on geographical location. The range that we found was $150 per head to $250 per head.
This translate for a family of 4 to $600 to $1000! (AirAlle Pricing and Pricing)
Both options will provide information to submit to insurance companies who may cover treatment.
Both LiceDoctors and Lice Treatment Centers treatments come with a guarantee. The guarantees are quite similar.
LiceDoctors specifies a 30 day guarantee and stipulates that you will not be contagious upon treatment and that your case is considered fully eradicated after a simple at-home follow-up. In the highly unlikely event of further infestation, a technician will return free of charge. (LiceDoctors Guarantee)
Lice Treatment Centers offers a guarantee that “the treated individual will no longer be contagious. You are guaranteed to be free of head lice when the LTC® aftercare protocol is followed properly, and all follow up protocols are undertaken as recommended by the technician. Should you still have an active case of head lice after full completion of the aftercare, Lice Treatment Center® will treat you again free of charge if in the unlikely event it is necessary.” (AirAlle Guarantee)
As we have said, the location of lice services is a point of difference between these options: LiceDoctors delivers its lice removal service at home, while AirAllé is typically administered in Lice Treatment Center salons. LiceDoctors arrives at your home in a regular car with no signage assuring complete privacy. Salons obviously require patrons to visit a location where there is always a risk of “being seen”. Hopefully, there is no stigma around head lice in your area (as there should NOT be), but for those folks who want absolute privacy, in-home treatment is likely a better option.
Flexibility and Convenience
Of course, with today’s busy schedules, parents want the most convenient option out there, LiceDoctors offers the convenience and flexibility associated with at-home appointments. You call in and specify the time that you want a technician to be at your door. To ensure that all family members are lice-free and therefore not contaminating other family members, everyone should be treated. When child one has completed treatment he or she is free to return to normal daily activities. There is no need to wait around for a sibling or parent to be treated. LiceDoctors treatments at home can be incorporated into busy family lives with a minimum of disruption in the schedule. In addition LiceDoctors offers service from early morning to late night, 7 days a week.
Treatments at a salon require families to transport themselves to a salon. In most cases, all family members wait at the salon until everyone in the family has been treated, which may be a hardship for some busy families. In addition, many salons are open weekdays only or 6 days a week until 6 pm.
Infectious Disease Specialist is Skeptical About Heating Devices
In a recent article in the New York Times, Dr. Mary Anne Jackson, director of infectious disease at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, who works with the American Academy of Pediatrics, was quoted as saying, “There are many treatments out there that have no evidence to back them up. For example, there are clinics using heat on children’s hair, which may work under certain conditions, but there is no regulation of how it is being used “to quote unquote inactivate the lice,” she said. “I am skeptical.” (NYTimes)
We have laid out some differences between LiceDoctors In-Home Lice Treatment Service and Lice Treatment Center AirAllé Heating Devices. We believe that the advantages of LiceDoctors over all other treatment options are clear. We urge you to give us a call at 800-224-2537 and we can answer all of your questions and we can have a lice technician at your home whenever you want us.