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Texas Head Lice Law Sparks Lice Checks

Texas is serious about head lice. The state passed a law in 2017 that requires schools to notify the parents of every child in a class in which a student is diagnosed with head lice.

For Heather Smith, owner of Lice Clinics of America clinics in Lufkin and Tyler, this state legislation has resulted in a lot more families seeking head lice treatment.

“Our clinics have been a huge help for families looking for answers when their child or a classmate has head lice,” Heather said. “Most don’t know what to do.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, misdiagnosis of head lice is common, and the agency recommends families turn to a professional to confirm the presence of head lice. Lice Clinics of America offers professional head-checks and, if lice are present, treatment using the revolutionary AirAllé medical device.

AirAllé uses carefully controlled warm air to dehydrate lice and eggs. The device has been cleared by the FDA and clinically proven to kill live lice and more than 99 percent of eggs.

While an owner of a hair salon, Heather discovered AirAllé. “After being in the salon industry for years, we saw lice become more and more of a problem,” she said. “I was talking with a friend whose daughter had been treated at a Lice Clinics of America clinic and I became very interested in how the treatment worked.”

The AirAllé device came to market just as the most common over-the-counter lice products were losing their effectiveness. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology found that 98 percent of head lice in 48 states are now resistant to pyrethroids, the insecticide used in most lice treatment products. Other studies have linked pyrethroids to developmental problems in children.

Researchers studying animal lice at the University of Utah developed the AirAllé device. They found that the bird lice they were studying fared poorly in the arid desert climate. When one of the researcher’s children contracted human head lice that were resistant to over-the-counter lice products, it dawned on him that it might be possible to kill the lice by dehydrating them.

Ten years later, the AirAllé medical device came to market. It uses carefully controlled warm air to dehydrate lice and eggs. The entire treatment takes about an hour. Because AirAllé does not use pesticides or toxic chemicals, the process is both fast and safe—it is also effective against pyrethroid-resistant head lice.

“My husband and I began researching Lice Clinics of America and the AirAllé device online and loved the idea of it being safe and effective and insecticide-free,” Heather said. “I wish parents would stop using harmful pesticides on their children’s heads. If they would research what is in these products, they would not want to use them.”

Heather and her husband, Matt, opened their first clinic in Lufkin in early 2017 and opened a second in Tyler the same year. The couple has collaborated with a local children’s advocacy group to sponsor several families that could not afford to pay for treatment.

With more than 300 clinics in 34 countries (and counting), Lice Clinics of America is the largest and fastest-growing network of professional lice treatment centers in the world. AirAllé has successfully treated more than 350,000 cases of head lice, with a success rate better than 99 percent.

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!

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

It’s Not Your Fault.

One of the worst parts of head lice is having to reach out to other parents to tell them their children may have been exposed by your child.  The social stigma attached to lice is significant and stressful.  The best way to stop lice from spreading is by letting other parents know about it. Remember, telling them will protect their child and others around them.

Keep reminding yourself, “It’s not your fault!” Poor hygiene and subpar living conditions are not the culprits. Lice is as easy to catch as the common cold.  No amount of hair washing will stop a live louse from crawling onto your child’s head. Lice outbreaks are totally unrelated to hygiene.  In fact, they love clean hair and scalp. Lice are spread from head to head by direct contact.  Everyone loves a good group selfie! Lice don’t fly, jump or live on your furry family members.

As a parent, I have had to make this phone call more than a few times. Knowing that better treatment options are out there has eased the embarrassment over the years (along with a glass of wine or two).  So spread the word.  Lice Clinics of America-McKinney TX is here to help.  After one appointment (because we all have so much free time) you and your family are lice free! Just remember: it’s not your fault.  The head lice is the enemy here and we have found a way to defeat them.

Cleaning your home after head lice isn’t complex.

Can Anyone Guess?

Can anyone guess what the #1 question is that I get after treating a family for head lice? It’s what do I do about cleaning my house. As much as you may want to, DO NOT call an exterminator, replace everything you own, or burn the house down.

Here is your check list:

Laundry- Everything that can go in the dryer should (excluding your children and pets please). The reason the AirAlle treatment is so effective is the heated air. The dryer will work the same way for those sheets, pillows, small stuffed animals, etc.

Vacuum- Carpets, rugs, cloth sofas and chairs. If you can’t vacuum, a good lint rolling will do the trick for things like car seats and child safety seats. Lice have claws not sticky feet.  They can crawl very quickly but cannot go very far.

Freeze/Bag- Do not boil anything or put it in the dishwasher. It will not kill the lice! Hair brushes, ties, helmets and hats are fine in the freezer for 48 hrs. Oversized items like large stuffed animals or pillows can go into a trash bag and be set aside for a few days.

Just remember lice infestation doesn’t happen in your home. It’s on you head. Having head lice is stressful enough. The thought of having to deep clean is just as stressful. Follow these steps and you’ll be all set!