You don’t really appreciate the normalcy of everyday family life until the school nurse calls with the news “Not to panic, but your child has head lice”. If you fortunately have not experienced this, and want to see the effect head lice has on the family, catch the hilarious, award winning video, “Head Lice to Dead Lice” on YouTube. Believe it or not, in a very short time those pesky critters will have taken away your family’s peace of mind, and you will find yourself engaged in a fierce battle not of your own choosing.
A few facts about head lice….Head lice infestations are common, affecting up to 12 million school age kids each year. Head lice have been around since ancient times. They have been found in sealed mummies. Queen Cleopatra had her very own solid gold nit comb. Lice were one of the plagues of Egypt. Head lice aren’t dangerous and not a sign that your family has poor hygiene. Head lice can be found in any socio-economic group.
Head lice are especially common in school age children. They are wingless creatures the size of a sesame seed. The lice bite to obtain blood, much like mosquitoes do. The first symptom of head lice is usually itching around the neck. The bites itch but do not spread disease. Head lice are transmitted by person to person contact and sharing of personal items. That’s why infestations tend to happen so often in school settings.
Head lice are treatable…they are not a serious medical concern and should not be the cause of missed school days, although every district has its own policy. They can be effectively treated despite growing resistance to certain past insecticide drugs containing pyrethrum. Head lice are usually treated with medicated shampoos and cream rinses. More “green” products are being developed. The pharmacist or physician can suggest some. However, no one product is 100% effective. Once the live lice are killed, the egg sacs called “nits” must be removed from the hair strands to prevent a new generation of lice from hatching. This is the most important step of all, and might just be the time to call in professional help… a certified “nit picker.”
*Enter Dana Ferita of Tampa, former stay at home mom, now a nit picker…..a certified nit picker. Ms.Ferita is certified by the Shepherd Institute for Lice Solutions, a program that provides training for those seeking a career in lice removal, clinical research and product testing. The Shepherd Method of strand by strand nit removal is known around the world.
Ms. Ferlita estimates that 10% of children have lice at any one time. They get them anywhere kids gather, like school or summer camp. Many of the moms catch the bugs from their kids. It is important to find out where the lice came from to lessen the chance of re-infestation.
Nit pickers have opened stores across the country….the Texas Lice Squad, the Lousy Nitpickers of California, the Lice Ladies and the Fairy Lice Mothers of New York City.
Ferlita calls her business and herself, “the Nit Fairy” and charges $80 for her first hour of nit picking. Business is good. Stubborn cases can cost hundreds of dollars. .She averages $200 a visit.
As a child Ferlita had lice numerous times and swore her own children never would, but they did. She used an over the counter pesticide treatment and then realized she could not nurse her infant daughter for 48hrs. She thought there must be a better way, and there was,
She got certified in a week at the Shepherd Institute and started the Nit Fairy. Most of her business comes from word of mouth. She recently treated three little girls who got head lice from a sleepover.
She uses a pesticide free treatment, partitions the hair and then searches the hair, strand by strand. No product kills nits. You need a good comb and plenty of time.
Her job does put her at certain risks. Twice she has come home with lice herself, but she enjoys helping people. Her clients are happy to see her when she comes, but hope to never see her again. She recommends parents check their child’s head regularly for nits stuck on hair strands, and for live lice. If lice are found, get treatment as early as possible before the rest of the family and the child’s friends also become infested.
Some lousy information:
*Teach kids to avoid sharing things that have touched another child’s head.
*Regularly clean things such as headphones, cell phones, car seats and pillows shared by other children.
*Lice feed on people with the same blood type. If they climb on someone with a different Rh factor, they die after feeding.
*Lice have a hard time grasping curly hair shafts, so they often avoid people with such hair.
*Keep hair in braids or ponytails to avoid lice. Bald heads are immune.
Headlice to deadlice.com.
St. Pete Times
Head-louse Infestation …Wikipedia