A Lice Guide for Hair Stylists

In most states, cosmetology regulations make it against the law to cut or style the hair of someone with head lice. Yet stylists are reporting more and more cases of head lice in their salons, which can be due to the fact that most lice are now resistant to the most common anti-lice products. So what is the best way to handle the situation if you find bugs in your client’s hair? Here is a simple 6-step plan.

  1. Confirm that what you see are lice. Identifying head lice can be tricky. A 2000 study by the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) found that people often mistake dandruff as head lice. Lice are brownish bugs about the size of sesame seeds. See the article, “Is it Head Lice or Dandruff,” to get it right.
  2. Don’t panic. Except for the itching, lice are harmless. Also, medical researchers have found no link between hygiene and head lice—your client isn’t dirty. Remember: lice can only spread by head-to-head contact, so as long as you’re not head-butting your client, you’re safe.
  3. Communicate calmly. Your client might want to shoot the messenger! You can make the difference between sending your client into a panic or simply helping him or her solve a problem. Calmly state that the client didn’t do anything wrong, and that 6-12 million people get lice every year, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Let him or her know that there are now same-day treatment services available that remove lice and eggs in about an hour, guaranteed!
  4. Give sound advice. It is now proven science that traditional over-the-counter lice medications are no longer effective. Lice have developed resistance. Here’s the scientific study that proves it. This means that if you send your client to the drug store, you might be sending him or her into an abyss of futility. Also, you should discourage home remedies. These range from the ridiculous (mayonnaise) to the dangerous (kerosene). Seriously. People have died from using these things to treat lice.
  5. Direct the client to a medically proven solution. Lice Clinics of America offers the only FDA-cleared medical device clinically proven to kill live lice and more than 99 percent of eggs (nits) in a single treatment that takes about an hour. Success is guaranteed. The company also offers a non-toxic home Lice Remover Kit that makes home lice removal much easier and more effective.
  6. Invite them back. People are often embarrassed about having head lice. You can help them feel comfortable by letting your clients know that they are welcome back when they’re lice-free. You might even offer to make room for them later the same day if they get treated at a Lice Clinics of America clinic. You don’t want to lose a client just because you were the bearer of bad news. You can also be the superhero for recommending a “one and done” solution!

Tips for Doing Laundry After Lice

When you’ve had head lice in your home, it is important to properly clean the clothing, bedding and other materials the person with lice has been in contact with.

Here is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended laundry procedure: “Machine wash and dry clothing, bed linens, and other items that the infested person wore or used during the 2 days before treatment using the hot water (130°F) laundry cycle and the high heat drying cycle. Clothing and items that are not washable can be dry–cleaned,” OR “store in a plastic bag for two weeks.”

Doing a few loads of laundry is a lot easier and faster than filling plastic bags. According to the National Pediculosis Association, “You can also put bed linens, stuffed animals and other items in a dryer for 30 minutes.”

It is also important to wash towels, washcloths and hair accessories that have been in contact with the hair of someone who has head lice.

Having head lice doesn't have to be stressful; it's not your fault!

How to Break Lice News to Other Parents

Parents don’t like to talk about lice. That’s a shame, because communication is one of the most effective ways to prevent lice outbreaks. If you know that lice are present in a school, daycare or camp, you can take precautions to protect your own child from getting lice.

The best time to talk about lice is before an outbreak happens. Many healthcare providers recommend that parents develop a lice response plan within their school or parent group so that they are prepared for lice outbreaks and have an agreed-upon plan to react. This way the discussion about head lice happens when no one has them, and without that added emotional charge. A plan might include recommendations for how to check for lice and available resources for treatment, as well as ways to prevent head lice from spreading—avoiding head-to-head contact and the sharing of anything like hats, brushes and backpacks that contact hair.

If another parent tells you that their child has lice, thank them for telling you. It’s not easy, as the social stigma around head lice remains significant. Not talking about it makes it worse. The fact that someone informed you will help you protect your children. After thanking the parent, the best message you can send is that it’s not that big of a deal—because it’s not. Yes, dealing with head lice is inconvenient, but aside from that, the more you can do to counteract the stress and embarrassment parents feel, the better.

If your children have lice, let other parents know through the school or through your network of relationships. Remember—it’s not your fault. You didn’t do anything wrong. Your children aren’t dirty. They just “caught” lice from another healthy child, much as children catch colds from one another. Have the facts handy: Lice aren’t dangerous. Lice outbreaks are unrelated to hygiene (in fact lice prefer clean hair and scalps). Lice only spread from head to head (they don’t fly or live on animals—stuffed or live). You might want to share our blog, “It’s Time to Shed Light on Lice” to help educate other parents about head lice and to demystify the experience.

Another thing you can do to ease other parents’ concerns is let them know about a Lice Clinics of America’s professional, medically sound, one-and-done, guaranteed lice checking and removal service. Knowing that there is a fast, easy way to get rid of lice and eggs in a single treatment can relieve a lot of stress!

Want to get more specific? Here’s how a conversation might play out.

You: Hi , it’s me. Do you have a minute? There’s an issue with the girls.

BFF: Sure, what’s up?

You: Well, it seems that there is a bug going around, and my daughter caught it. I wanted to let you know because our girls spend so much time together.

BFF: Thanks. Sorry to hear that. What is it?

You: Well, this time is a literal bug. Head lice. At first I was freaked out and I didn’t want to tell anyone. But I sure wish someone had told me it was going around, and I thought that if we all get on top of it and get all the kids checked we can nip it in the bud.

BFF: Lice! OMG! That still happens?

You: Yeah, it’s a bummer. I’ve done some research. It happens a lot—6-12 million cases a year in the U.S. alone! But there are new ways to get rid of lice that only take an hour or so. And we have a clinic right here in town that can check the kids for lice and then treat them on the spot if need be. Peace of mind either way! I’ll send you the link.

BFF: Well, thanks for telling me. I’m a little freaked out but it might be easier if we work together!

Lice Removal Services Completed at Our Lice Treatment Center

How to Check for Head Lice

Head lice can be difficult to diagnose because they are difficult to see. Just because a child scratches his or her head doesn’t mean that head lice are present. An itchy scalp can also be caused by unusually dry skin, or conditions such as dandruff, eczema, or by an allergic reaction to a hair care product.

“Misdiagnosis of head lice infestation is common,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The diagnosis of head lice infestation is best made by finding a live nymph or adult louse on the scalp or hair of a person.”

One reason head lice can be difficult to find is because they are very small, blend in well with hair, and are usually near the base of hair strands close to the scalp. This can make it especially difficult to identify lice for children with long hair.

It’s important to know how to check for lice and to check frequently, so you are able to act and act quickly before an infestation spreads.

The best way to check for head lice is to wet your child’s hair. Use a bright light to spot the lice and a very fine-toothed comb for lice removal. There are specially designed lice combs available at most drugstores and supermarkets. Part the hair and shine the light near the scalp. Most lice live about a quarter of an inch from the scalp. That’s where the warmth and humidity of the human body is most hospitable. The best place to start is around the ears and the nape of the neck.

If your child has lice, you’ll see small brownish specks about the size of a sesame seed—they will likely be moving. Even if you don’t see lice, run the comb slowly through the hair from the scalp outward. Then dip it in a bowl of water and/or wipe with a white cloth or paper towel. If lice are present, you will see them in the water or on the towel.

Lice eggs, or nits, can be even more difficult to identify. They are even smaller, glued tightly to hair shafts, and are often indistinguishable from hair to the naked eye. It can be helpful to use a magnifying glass to look for small bumps on hair shafts—as if the hair shaft had been tied in a knot. A good louse comb will pull out both lice and nits.

The best way to stay ahead of lice infestations is to check your child regularly. Have a game plan ready if in fact you do find lice. There are new solutions available to treat head lice that are safe, fast, and convenient. Lice Clinics of America offers treatment using an FDA-cleared medical device that is clinically proven to remove live lice and 99.2 percent of eggs in about an hour. The AirAllé medical device dehydrates lice and eggs with carefully controlled warm air. Treatment is delivered by certified technicians that have been carefully trained to remove head lice.

There are more than 170 Lice Clinics of America clinics in the United States, and more than 120 clinics in 33 other countries around the world. For more information or to find a clinic, visit www.liceclinicsofamerica.com.

Preventative products from Lice Clinics of America can help reduce the odds of contracting head lice!

Let’s Prevent!

For any of you that have read my past blogs you know the reason I got into this business is because of our battle with lice and summer camp. Every year my twins get the amazing experience of two weeks on the Texas coast surfing and sailing. That’s great right….. Well every year they came back with head lice. That I fought for weeks on end! We all know the routine, over the counter pesticides, hours of combing and the inevitable trip to the pediatrician. Here is the problem…..

Summer camps are often in remote locations and have limited access to medical resources. About 30 percent were said to have “no nit” policies, meaning that if a camper has head lice, he or she will be sent home.

According to the American Camp Association (ACA), “Every year, one of the most common calls to the ACA Camp Crisis Hotline comes from camps who have questions about lice. Either they have detected head lice on a camper’s or staffer’s head, or they are preparing for an infestation.

In a 2016 study, researchers from the University of Michigan Mott Children’s Hospital tracked lice infestations in more than 500 summer camps over a three-year period and followed up with a questionnaire to camp leaders. Some 69 percent of camp leaders surveyed said lice were a significant challenge faced by camp staff and parents.

Why are lice common at camps? Well, for the same reason head lice are common wherever young people gather. It’s an opportunity for head-to-head contact and lots of sharing of clothes, brushes, combs, and the like—the primary ways head lice spread.

How to Prevent Lice at Summer Camp?

New preventative products can help you reduce the odds that your child will contract head lice at camp. Lice Clinics of America, the company that has introduced the breakthrough AirAllé medical device, offers preventative sprays, conditioners, and shampoos formulated to deter head lice. The preventative hair products contain scents that smell perfectly fine to humans but irritate a louse’s olfactory senses (and thus repel the lice).

Many camps contract with Lice Clinics of America to screen and treat campers with the FDA-cleared AirAllé device (which uses warm air to dehydrate and kill live lice and eggs). Bring your child in before camp, let our trained technicians give you the peace of mind that your child is clear.