Call in professionals to treat lice? New treatment pricey but …

My head has been itching a lot and I’m starting to worry I have lice. There was one class at my kids’ school that had lice recently and I heard they were checking kids at school so now I’m paranoid. (I think my problem is just dry skin but …)

Thank goodness, so far, knock on wood, my kids have never come home with lice. My girlfriend’s school has had multiple cases year after year and her kids have repeatedly picked it up. It is such a nightmare to deal with washing everything in the house and picking through long hair. She’s finally found the treatment that works best for her kids. She kept having to retreat.

I did have lice once when I was a kid, and I just remember the stuff smelling awful and my mom yanking on my head combing it out. (My curly hair doesn’t comb well.)

The new twist on lice is I am hearing more and more about professional services that will come to your house to do the dirty work for you. I found multiple companies in Atlanta with a quick click of the mouse. Although none seemed to list their prices that I could find.

One article from The Detroit Free Press listed some prices as $95 for a traditional treatment with a manual combing. However there is a new non-chemical product just approved by the FDA called the LouseBuster, It is a vacuum-like machine that shoots hot, dry air onto the scalp, which kills the lice and eggs. That treatment was $145 — which is pricey but that does sound easier.

My girlfriend told me about one company where you drop off your kid and then you go home and wash everything while they treat the kid. So it’s all done at once and no chance for re-infection. Most of the companies I saw online come to you. Here were a few I saw:

Nit Pickers Atlanta

Natural Lice Removal Service

Elimilice

From the CDC’s website:

“Head lice are not known to transmit any disease and therefore are not considered a health hazard.

Head lice infestations can be asymptomatic, particularly with a first infestation or when an infestation is light. Itching (”pruritus”) is the most common symptom of head lice infestation and is caused by an allergic reaction to louse bites. It may take 4-6 weeks for itching to appear the first time a person has head lice.

Other symptoms may include:

  • a tickling feeling or a sensation of something moving in the hair;
  • irritability and sleeplessness; and
  • sores on the head caused by scratching. These sores caused by scratching can sometimes become infected with bacteria normally found on a person’s skin.”

Treatment of the lice

AJC back-to-school story on treating lice

(Total side note: When I used to be the editor for News for Kids at the AJC we did a story on head lice and one of the fantastic artists created a drawing of lice having a party in a kid’s head. They had party hats and a kick line. Just having a big time. I saved the original artwork and framed it when I had Rose. So Rose has a drawing of a lice party in her room.)

Have your kids ever brought lice home from school? Did you treat yourself or have a professional do it? What are your best tips for treating at home?  If you used a professional what did you think? How much would you be willing to pay for someone to treat the lice for you?

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U.R. SoSimple

January 24th, 2011
3:48 am

“My curly hair doesn’t comb well.” Imagining what you must look like the morning after the night before (let alone the night before the morning after), I shudder to think…

Jeff

January 24th, 2011
6:43 am

I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that there are companies out there who will come in and do it all for you in this situation. Not sure if it is a symptom of the times we live in or a result of the current parental culture. Either way, we handle so little of the issues ourselves that our parents used to handle. It’s like customer service calls, we’ll farm it out if we can.

Then again, I’d probably seriously consider bringing someone in, so I’m no better or different.

Richard Pollack

January 24th, 2011
6:49 am

Before emptying the bank account to pay others to pick nits from your child, do your homework and carefully consider the issues. Most importantly, ensure that your child has live (crawling) lice before you treat or bother to pick nits. Having an itchy scalp does not mean that lice are present. Similarly, finding nit-like objects is insufficient evidence to conclude your child is infested. Even if you find a live louse, ask why it is necessary to pick nits. The expectation that you must remove nits is based upon myth and misinformation. It is not necessary to perform this task to eliminate an infestation. Next, realize that few (if any) of the nit-picking service providers are medically qualified to identify or treat lice or are licensed as barbers or beauticians. This is an essentially unregulated ‘industry’. Educational information about lice, their management, school policies, and nit-picking issues that had formerly been hosted at the Harvard School of Public Health is now at IdentifyUS LLC. The information is provided at no cost and without commercial agenda at http://identify.us.com.

mom2alex&max

January 24th, 2011
6:51 am

My youngest came home with lice about 2 months ago. It took ALL weekend (including Friday) of washing, laundering, spraying, vaccuming, etc. It’s a lot of work! I can see how a working parent really cannot afford to take three days off of work to deal with this and would hire a company. I think I would!

catlady

January 24th, 2011
7:17 am

I guess there will be service providers for every need someone else does not want to do.

Lice are endemic in our system. I work in one room where 14 of the 16 kids have had lice this year, and it keeps recirculating because they don’t get rid of it. It drives me nuts.

We also occasionally have kids with “the itch” which is caused by bugs that bury up under the skin. Also totally awful.

Finally, I have had a kid (school board member’s child) pass a foot long worm in the toilet, freak out, and call me in to see. Her mama had givern her “worm medicine” that morning.

Folks, you have NO IDEA what teachers deal with!

Hindu Elvis Pimp

January 24th, 2011
7:46 am

Lice is nice when you’re eatin rice!!!

motherjanegoose

January 24th, 2011
7:47 am

I am alive, in case any one has wondered ( NOT) but just have been way too busy to stop in as I am making up all the schools I missed during the snow. I just got back in from Colorado ( sorry Tiger, no time to see you LOL) and am not even home yet.

We never had lice at our house, bot growing up and with our kids. I am hearing about more and more hotels that recently have had infestations and this obviously concerns me. I do not want to bring them home in my suitcase.

I will give an AMEN shout to catlady’s last line. Just when I think I have seen everything ( and I have been in schools from Florida to Alaska) something new pops up. I will say that I have no experience in the worm department…thank goodness!

Outta here and have a nice day all.

Jelly Sandwich Meat

January 24th, 2011
7:48 am

True story:

The guy next door to me had head lice when he was in 5th grade. It upset everyone in the neighborhood, so we made fun of him and beat him up for his lunch money. To this day, when I see him, I give him a wedgie and take his lunch money.

So let that be a lesson to the rest of you…….Lice is not as fun as it seems.

motherjanegoose

January 24th, 2011
7:49 am

catlady…shoot me an e-mail if you get a chance, I am on my laptop and cannot seem to find yours.

Becky, lunch next W? Let me know.

Enemas for Christmas

January 24th, 2011
7:50 am

motherjanegoose…….Who are you?

motherjanegoose

January 24th, 2011
7:56 am

nobody to you…I do have just a few friends here ..maybe someone will claim me…maybe not…LOL….anyone?

Enemas for Christmas

January 24th, 2011
8:23 am

Techmom

January 24th, 2011
8:40 am

Thankful my son has never had lice. It seems like it went around my elementary school at least once a year growing up. I’ve always had long hair so I can remember sitting there after my mom shampooed my hair as she combed through and picked out the nits. It was awful. I don’t think I would pay someone to clean the lice out of my son’s hair – that’s what buzz clippers are for. LOL

JJ

January 24th, 2011
8:55 am

I dealt with lice when my daughter was in elementary school. They seemed to have an infestation at that school. I cannot tell you the number of times I had to leave work to tend to this….

All I did was buy some Rid, wash her hair, then pick through it with that tiny little comb. She has VERY thick hair, so it was quite the process.

I had to bag up everything in her room, pillows, stuffed animals, etc. in plastic bags. I was told to get everything out of her room and stuff it into plastic bags, apparently the bugs suffocate in the bags, and had to leave it all in there for two weeks…….UGH what a pain in the tailend…..

Anyway, after elementary school, we never had lice again!!!!!

DB

January 24th, 2011
9:05 am

If you’re a parent who have never had to deal with lice, then I can see where someone might want an “expert” to make sure that all the lice and nits are gone. I don’t see why there’s any moral aspect of whether or not a parent is too “lazy” to do it themselves. Is someone lazy when they have a cleaning service come to their home? As far as I’m concerned, this is just a specialized cleaning service.

Sandyspringmom

January 24th, 2011
9:06 am

We’ve been through two bouts of lice over the last four years. I’ve got two daughters, both with very long hair, and I’ll tell you, it was an absolute nightmare. The first time, I didn’t know what I was doing, and we ended up fighting lice for over a month because we kept reinfecting ourselves. The second time around, I was maniacal about getting every nit out of their hair…an exercise that killed my back and lasted into the wee hours for several nights, but paid off in a very short infestation.

Bottom line, if I could save my back and hours of my time and pay someone a one time fee, I’d be all over it!

TinaTeach

January 24th, 2011
9:46 am

My little one hasn’t gotten lice yet but I got it at least SIX times when I was a kid. I usually picked it up at school or at the neighbors house.

I remember sitting in the bathroom with my step-mom reading Calvin and Hobbes comics books aloud while she picked through my hair. It’s something I have fond memories of (the reading not the lice!). It’s a shame that I got it so many times that it became a “tradition”!

The high school I work at has never had a break-out. I’ve never heard of a high school having one so I wonder why the elementary and (sometimes) middle schools are more prone? When I was little I remember only taking a bath 3 times a week and as I got older the baths increased in frequency. Maybe that’s it?

LM

January 24th, 2011
9:46 am

My DD school in Gwinnett seems to have some issues with Lice. I also used in-home daycare for before and after school. A parent, not knocking anyone but she was a teacher, would dropped off her child at the daycare in the morning so she could go to work. Her child had lice so bad you could see them crawling in her eyelashes. Her excuse “I didn’t see it”.

We ended up with lice once, and that was too much. It was suggested to use Vasoline to smother them. It works great and they were dead and gone in 24 hours. I missed work and one of my bosses was upset and didn’t care if I infected the rest of the staff, he was bald so he didn’t care. Both my daughter and I had our hair to our waist so the little nit combs were a joke.

I would not suggest Vasaline again, takes too long to wash out, but try mayonaise, wrap head in plastic wrap over night and do the washing and bagging of soft items, and vaccuming.

TWG, you got my head itching.. But I have poision ivy or oak and it has gotten into my hairline. Ugh now I just want to scratch….

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

January 24th, 2011
9:53 am

MJG — they were looking fro you last week — you were missed — I said I thought you had just headed out west –

JATL

January 24th, 2011
10:02 am

I can honestly say this is one of those things that freaks me out! We had a “scare” last fall when a child in my toddler’s preschool room got lice. I know this isn’t suggested, but we went ahead with the RID shampoo and kept checking him. I scalded everything sent home from school. Luckily nothing ever materialized. My head is itching just thinking about it! So, while I would like to think we would just handle it -if we had an issue with lice, I would probably call one of these companies. I would do the RID kit first and wash everything in scalding water, but if they cropped up again -OH YES -I will happily pay you to scour my home and my child. I get this fear directly from my mother who always told me she would shave my head if I ever came home with lice. I was terrified! I’ve tried to steel myself for it, because they seem so prevalent these days, but I will probably kill all of us with chemicals and scalding water if it ever happens.

@catlady -thanks for being my diet aid today!

Doc

January 24th, 2011
10:03 am

Are the three companies medically staffed and do the know the difference between crabs, body lice and head lice?

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

January 24th, 2011
10:04 am

once you start thinking about it — every scratch you think oh no — but my kids aren’t complaining or scratching so i think it’s purely in my head and not on it.

Tommy Lambert

January 24th, 2011
10:13 am

Really not that pricey here in Georgia, $90.00 for Boys and Men and $115.00 Girls and Women
also it is the 0+ blood types that have more of problem with it and if you have a negative blood type
it is like kryptonite for lice……also the mother of a child that has head lice has a 57 percent chance of having it herself and she has two children that have it it goes up to 85 percent….dad are alway 10 percent or less . Thanks Tommy Lambert http://www.headhunterslice.com

Betty

January 24th, 2011
10:21 am

@TinaTeach–Not sure why it’s more common in younger grades but it does seem to be. Our daughter got lice once, and I’ve taught her to never share hats with her friends–I was convinced at the time that she got it after trying on lots of summer hats at the store one year and I was convinced there must have been lice in one of them. It’s a total pain to get rid of them. I remember bagging things up too, like JJ. I think they die after 2 weeks without a host.

Becky

January 24th, 2011
10:26 am

Yeah, my two have had it once this year..It’s a constant at the school where they go..Just do pretty much what JJ said..You can also spary their hair with Listerine (couple hrs.) then wash it out..

I have two neices that seemed to keep it a lot in middle school..Bout drove my sister crazy..They were always using other kids hairbrushes, no matter what she said..That’s why everyone in my house has their own hairbrush…

Would I use a service to treat it? Probably not, but as DB said, if you do, why does that make you lazy?

@MJG..Lunch next week sounds good..Just let me know..

HB

January 24th, 2011
10:44 am

Ick, ick, ick! I’m very much a DIY person, but for lice, if I had enough info to know the services were indeed good, I think I’d pay the money in a heartbeat.

Marie

January 24th, 2011
11:06 am

If lice is going around the school wash and blow dry childrens hair nightly. Lice like our body temp if it changes by a degree or two studies show that they (the eggs and lice) die. The hair dryer heat is enough to kill the buggers. Have you notice that lice is rarely heard of in Middle and Sr High School. Kids wash, dry and style their hair more. I’m just saying.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

January 24th, 2011
11:40 am

Tommy — Have you tried that new device that sucks and heats the lice????? what are your thoughts on it — is it easier on the kids?? does it work well??

love those mom stats — very upsetting!

Tommy Lambert

January 24th, 2011
12:12 pm

The device is the Lousebuster device it does not suck the lice it heats the lice and dehydrates them and the nits (eggs) and causes them to die. The combination of air volume and heat dries out the lice and their nits. We have used it hundreds of times with great sucess.It is easy on kids and we have never had any problems of kids hating it, they seem tolerate the 30 minute application just fine and if they do not we can just do it all manually. The kids sit very well for us at our facility we set them up with a movie on the big flat screen and they just stay glued to their movie and we take care of the lice problem.
The number one thing any parent can do when they find out a child has lice is to check everyone in the household and that’s because it is about 3 weeks before most people realize they they have a problem. and the longer someone has it in the house the more chance it has already spread onto someone else. Also to eliminate head lice totally is a process, a female louse only has to be fertilized once in her life and will continue to lay eggs at a rate of 6-10 a day until she dies of old age around day 33.And as for the suffocation …well we have video showing lice that were submerged in water for 15 hours and still survive ………If you have a good lice comb you can get rid of lice with just that.of course it will take some elbow grease…….

Robin

January 24th, 2011
12:25 pm

Our hairdresser told us that if we spray (lightly) our child’s hair with hairspray every morning, she would not get lice at school. Has anyone every tried that or heard of that?

CDD

January 24th, 2011
12:35 pm

Never had lice as a kid & my children have never had them either – thank goodness! Yet another reason I’m so grateful that I can homeschool them. There was one time my niece had lice and I had to treat myself after being around her for a while. I don’t know if I did or didn’t have them but I wasn’t taking chances!

CC

January 24th, 2011
12:39 pm

Robin, it works! I picked my daughter up one day from school and she was scratching her head in the car so much it ticked me and I asked “does your head itch honey” not knowing it was lice until we got home. I freaked needless to say and began the lengthly process of illimination. What a workout! The two girls, contracted them again and after that, I resorted to home remedies. Mayo with a hair cap overnight worked the best and blow drying and adding hairspray each morning seemed to keep them away.

frugal chef

January 24th, 2011
12:50 pm

Tommy Lambert

January 24th, 2011
12:53 pm

Hair spray helps by keeping hair strands from moving so easily that is why lice prefer clean hair .
clean hair is easier for lice to grasp because the hair individual strands are more seperated not clumpy or as intact like dirty hair or hair with hairspray would be.Lice have small hands(claws)
here is model of a louse on you tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axtTT-USHCE

PA

January 24th, 2011
1:24 pm

Still not sure what harm lice causes, other than itching. Seems to be a lot of work to get rid of something that doesn’t seem to cause any major harm. Is it worth going nuts spending effort and money and time cleaning and scrubbing and all that when it may not stop them anyway?

In any case, RID is no longer working all the time. The bugs are becoming resistant to it. Hair spray… interesting idea. Hair spray is very effective on many insects. It usually kills them outright by chemical means or by suffocating them. You have not lived until you’ve been in a termite swarm with nothing but a can of hair spray to use. It’s like a WMD against them. Works great, if not solving the actual problem.

JJ

January 24th, 2011
1:26 pm

Hairspray also kills wasps. It makes their wings stick together…..

Stacey

January 24th, 2011
2:31 pm

I saw that a couple of people posted to wash and blow dry the hair daily to avoid lice but I had always heard it attracted them. I remember being in elementary school in the 70’s and the white kids all being checked for lice periodically but the black kids didn’t have to be checked. I was it was because we (black people) don’t wash our hair every day and that the oil that we put in our hair served as a repellant. Has anyone else heard that. Please know that this is a sincere question and not an attempt to race bait.

mountain mom

January 24th, 2011
2:31 pm

Richard is correct– information is your best offense. Treating the room, stuffed animals, carpet, furniture, etc. is unnecessary. Educate yourself about the lifecycle– the eggs cannot live off the scalp, and the lice themselves cannot live more than 36-48 hours without feeding (i.e., they cannot infest a mattress or rug). The white “nits” are empty egg shells– the actual eggs are black and must be at the base of the hair shaft, right on the scalp, to survive. Using a hair dryer or other method to “dry out” the lice is the newest way to effectively destroy them, also known as “dessication.”

Tommy Lambert

January 24th, 2011
3:05 pm

The nit must remain at the tempature between 88-93 degress to be able to hatch.Egg color vary from each individual light tan to darker brown based on the host hair color .The promotion of using a hair dryer is going to cause scalp burns.

Becky

January 24th, 2011
3:12 pm

@Stacey..I was told that same thing by a couple of black people that I work with..One lady told me that it was the oils and styling gels that black (more so) people use in their hair..Plus she said in her case and her family, that they would put the oil in their hari at night, then put a plastic nightcap over it and that was also why…So, don’t know if that’s correct or not..

Not so sure about the hairspray trick..Back during the time that my sisters girls were getting lice on a regular basis, the Dr. told her to make them stop using hairspray..Guess it’s as with everything, different times…

Wayne

January 24th, 2011
3:31 pm

One of the guys I work with – who is black – said that it’s the shape of the hair that is different. I’m not entirely sure I’m remembering it clearly, and he isn’t here today to ask but I will when I see him!

Stacey

January 24th, 2011
4:22 pm

Thanks Becky and Wayne. I was just curious if any one else had heard that. My son had thick curly hair and has never reported being checked nor has he ever brought a note home from school but I know from other parents in the neighborhood that they have had at least two outbreaks in his school over the past 5 years.

catlady

January 24th, 2011
5:27 pm

We had one family that had it all the time. The mama ended up washing her kids’ hair in bleach! It was pittiful. Here are these kids with AWFUL body odor (they didn’t bathe much–had to carry water) and their blonde hair whacked off short and all dried out and standing straight out but they were louse-free for quite a while!

Another true story from the bottom of the well.

MJg–I will email you this eve. You were missed. Several things you could have weighed in on!

Nit Mommy

January 24th, 2011
5:36 pm

My daughter, now 18, had it every few months in elementary school in Florida. We started with the vaseline, mayo, goop to smother, did the box stuff, finally ended up using dog flea shampoo. Same pesticide as in the RID, but in a lower dose. We kept the habits of changing the pillow cases every few days, just in case. To this day, anytime you start playing with her hair it puts her straight to sleep. All those hours in my lap getting her nits picked ;)

Also, hair dye kills lice, for older girls. It also dyes the nits so the school will let them back in, since the nits that you can see that far down on the hair shaft aren’t alive anymore anyway.

cofthenight

January 24th, 2011
5:50 pm

What is this “itch” that someone mentioned earlier? A bug that buries under the skin? I haven’t heard of that and… my 4 yr old has had itchy skin for over a week now! I think it’s just dry skin from where I’m cranking my heating up to keep us warm. I slather him with lotion but… his skin is bumpy and his face almost looks like acne. I”m checking him for lice RIGHT NOW, lol!!!

cofthenight

January 24th, 2011
6:00 pm

Scabies, perhaps, is what they were talking about? I just Web MD-d it, haha!

HB

January 24th, 2011
6:26 pm

Cofthenight, he could have eczema. Check in with his doctor — a simple steroid cream might clear it up quickly.

Misty

January 25th, 2011
12:36 am

Motherjanegoose… I’d love to claim you as a friend. :-) Can we e-mail? I’ll send Theresa my e-mail address. I’m totally normal and not a nut.

[...] Call in professionals to treat lice? New treatment pricey but … – Atlanta Journal Constitution (bl…(I think my problem is just dry skin but …) Thank goodness She’s finally found the treatment that works best for her kids. She kept having to retreat. I did have lice once when I was a kid, and I just remember the stuff smelling awful and my mom [...]