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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!
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!

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.