LiceDoctors Answers Frequently Asked Questions That Bug Parents
Head lice expert, Wendy Beck, owner of LiceDoctors Head Lice Treatment and Nit Removal Service, who has 20 years of experience in the field, addresses questions commonly asked by parents.
Interviewer: We hear a lot about head lice today. Just how prevalent are lice and are they dangerous? LD - Lice are found in somewhere between 6 and 12 million children each year. That estimate is probably low because that is the number reported; many cases go unreported. Lice are not dangerous; they can cause itching and a rash, but do not carry disease. Lice are more of a nuisance than a danger. Lice can not kill you, which is a question we have been asked. Interviewer: What do lice look like? LD - Adults are about the size of a sesame seed, have 6 legs, are wingless and have a browinsh tinge. Inteviewer: What do nits (eggs) look like? LD - Nits are laid on the hair shaft, close to the scalp and are glued to the hair shaft. They are oval in shape. They look brown when placed against a white background and are encased in a translucent shell. Interviewer: Ok so if you determine that you have nits, long does it take for a nit to hatch? LD - Nits take 7-10 days to develop and hatch. Nits are not contagious; it is not possible to transmit a nit to another person. Only live lice can be transmitted. Interviewer: Does medication kill lice? LD - There is an increasing resistance among lice to the drug store lice shampoos and prescription chemical lice treatments. In addition, some of the more efficacious chemicals have been removed from the lice medication due to their harmful side effects. Today’s lice are so hearty/resistant as to be dubbed “super lice and often lice shampoo does not kill these lice. Interviewer: How about nits? Do lice shampoos kill nits? LD - No. Nits have an impenetrable shell so lice medications do not kill nits. Nits must be physically removed from the hair. Inteviewer: So I guess that answers the next question. Does chlorine kill lice? LD - The answer is no. This is a question we get a lot. Interviewer: So if these lice treatments don't work, are there home remedies that can kill lice? LD - Olive oil is the best home remedy to kill lice. It is a natural remedy and the best natural way to kill lice as it suffocates the bugs To remove the nits, though, someone has to comb and pull out the remaining nits from the hair. There are no short cuts. If 2 nits are left in the hair, the case starts over again. Interviewer: What does a professional service do that I can't do? LD - A professional like LiceDoctors comes to your home and gets rid of the lice and guarantees the work. Technicians apply oil, comb through the head with a professional quality comb, and physically remove the nits. Nits camouflage so you need to have experience to be sure that you get all the nits out. Interviewer - So lice are so common now. How are lice spread from person to person? LD - Head to head contact is by far the most common way to transfer lice. Lice can be transferred through objects like caps, helmets, and hair brushes, but this is less common. Interviewer - How long can lice live off of the head? LD - Lice feed on human blood from the scalp up to 3 times daily and will die within 24-36 hours when off the head. Interviewer: And how do you remove lice from the home if there are some that are off the head? LD - At LiceDoctors we say, it's the head not the house. To kill lice in your home, you can leave them and they will die by the next day. People think that they have to vacuum and bag everything. That is overkill, because the bugs will be dead within a day off the head. It's all about the follow-up in the head not the lice treatment for the house. Interviewer: Well it is good to know that there are ways to treat lice but how do you prevent lice? LD - Parents should check children’s hair weekly for lice. When possible use natural sunlight as it makes it easier to see lice. Put long hair in a bun or braid and cover with hair spray, gel, or mousse. Unless you put your child in a bubble, there is no way to absolutely prevent your child from getting lice, you can only make it less likely. Interviewer: What are symptoms of head lice? LD - Believe it or not, not everyone feels itchy from head lice. A person may have several lice and be asymptomatic or may have one louse and itch a lot. Most people do feel itchy so that is one symptom. Also look for translucent eggs that are stuck to the hair shaft. Interviewer - Do I have to tell my child’s friends and her school? LD - The choice is yours but it is better to let his/her friends know so that they can check to see if they have it. If they do, they need to have be treated so that they don’t give lice back to your child or to someone else. To learn about your child's school head lice policy, ask the school nurse or check our web site under the Education Center tab. Many schools have begun to move away from "no nit" school lice policies in accordance with recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National School Nursing Association. Interviewer: What is the Academy of Pediatrics reasoning behind that recommendation? LD - Too many children were missing too much school. The association states that by the time a case is discovered, the child has been in school already for at least 2 weeks. Some schools maintain a “no nit” policy while others have dropped it. Interviewer: As a dog owner, I have to ask do pets carry lice? LD - No. Lice and nits only live on human’s heads. They need human blood to survive. Interviewer: That's a relief. One less thing to worry about! Well, thank you so much for all of this valuable information. We very much appreciate your time.
LiceDoctors has a board certified medical director on staff, has treated over 250,000, and is located in 45 states across the U.S. Call LiceDoctors at 800-224-2537 for help today.