It all started three years ago when I got “the call” from my neighbor. “My daughter has lice,” she said, “you should check your kids.” When my son returned from an afternoon at his friend’s house I accosted him the moment he walked through the door. I parted his hair and saw something crawl past my finger. I screamed, flailed, jumped, and nearly vomited. To put it mildly, I didn’t handle it well as a parent. To this day I will still swear that I saw that bug eyeballing me as it skittered for cover in my son’s chestnut hair.

Thus began my journey into the world of professional lice treatment. That night we paid a woman from a company made up of school nurses to comb my son’s louse-ridden and nit-laden hair for nearly 3 hours. After that experience, every friend of mine who had lice in her family turned to me with questions. It seems that this is a phenomenon in a lot of communities. A random mom who learns firsthand how to deal with lice becomes the community resource. That was me.

In Spring 2011 I discovered something that changed that, I found the LouseBuster. The LouseBuster, despite its wacky name, is a complete revolution in the treatment of head lice. It uses controlled heated air to “cook” lice and more importantly, their eggs (nits).

Six month laters here I am with a treatment center. Now I really AM the lice lady. It’s strange, but I find an unbelievable sense of joy in helping the families I treat in my office. I am also, as a small business owner, able to provide employment opportunities for moms who are returning to the workforce after staying home to raise a family. In six short months I went from being a captain of the carpool to a captain of industry. Who knew it could be done?

Back to the lice.

I have become a passionate advocate for non-toxic lice treatment, whether done professionally or at home. I never tell a parent that this is out of their scope of ability, I believe they can do this. Whether they want to or whether they are emotionally able to do it is a different story. Every day I meet families who have, out of sheer desperation or because of a lack of solid information, exposed their children to harsh pesticide products. Some of these are prescribed by physicians, some are picked up at the corner drug store. What anyone in the lice industry will tell you is that these products are increasingly ineffective. Just about every day I treat a family that has used these toxic products and been left with an ongoing infestation. It breaks my heart to see it. Little girls (mostly) and boys exposed, sometimes over and over, to these noxious agents.

What can you do if faced with this problem?

  • Find a dimethicone-based product, there are a few; LiceMD is widely available in drug stores and The Nit Nanny Lice Solution is available online.
  • Get a good quality solid stainless steel nit comb, not one with a plastic handle or comb made of plastic.
  • Prepare to spend some serious bonding time with your family.

To conquer head lice you need to either spend time or money. If you go to a professional, look for someone who can provide treatment with the LouseBuster, but if you’re not in a service area, ask around for a service with a good reputation. Be wary of services that say you MUST use their products. When people come into my office, of course want them to use my products. I think they are the best value, but I routinely talk to people on the phone and recommend other reliable products because my first concern is putting them on the right track. I’d always rather see someone use a non-toxic product.

Ask good questions;

  • Ask how they confirm an infestation (using a comb is the ONLY way to rule out infestation).
  • Find out about the follow up you will need to do after the professional is finished with their treatment.
  • Ask what comb they use when treating (if the answer is not the Nit Free Terminator or Nisska, they aren’t using a good comb).
  • Ask about their training, find out who trained them and find out about their track record.
  • Most of all, ask yourself if you’re comfortable with the person you are talking to. Are you talking to a treatment provider or are you on the phone with a call center that is going to dispatch some unknown individual to your home? If you are talking to the treatment provider, are they empathetic? Do they make you feel comforted? It sounds crazy, but this person will be with you for hours and will be touching your kids’ heads.
  • Last, even if it means taking a drive, consider going to a treatment center if there is one within driving distance of your home. While it seems like having someone come to you is more convenient, here are the benefits to going out for treatment: 1) no extra laundry for you to do, 2) while your kids are being treated you can make your phone calls, send your emails and relax instead of running around the house trying to clean, 3) usually in a treatment center there will be multiple technicians which means you will get through the treatment much faster, 4) your children will be more likely to cooperate if they aren’t at home.

However you decide to handle it, remember that no one dies from head lice. It’s annoying, it’s gross, it’s itchy, but it’s not life threatening. Try to find some humor and settle in. You will get through it. Trust me.