sleepovers_kids_safetyIf you have children, chances are you have dealt with head lice and can probably attest to them being persistent and resistant.  An estimated 6-12 million infestation occur each year in the US. (http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/epi.html). Almost all of our clients treat at home unsuccessfully before they call us. After they spend hours, days, and weeks trying to get rid of it, they turn to a professional. They are stressed and upset that they couldn’t get rid of it on their own.

A client of ours recently shared her very stressful and expensive head lice story with us in the hopes of helping others.

Amanda has 3 children a kindergartner, 1st grader and 4th grader. Her daughter, the first grader, contracted lice from a sleep over. Once she found lice, she was hysterical, she ran to the drug store and immediately purchased the first product she found. After using the product, her daughter’s scalp got red, itchy and was burning for days after the treatment. She followed the directions and repeated the treatment 10 days later, her daughters scalp had the same reaction and Amanda found more lice a couple weeks later. So, this time she purchased the Robi comb, followed the directions, used it every night, and sure enough a couple weeks later, she found lice again. Only this time, the lice had spread to her other 2 children and herself. Her Pediatrician gave her a prescription that didn’t work, she tried the mayonnaise, olive oil, cetaphil, and almost every other remedy she had heard of, and still kept finding lice. At her wits end, she confided in a friend of hers for help. Her friend referred her to Combers KC, Amanda had no idea that such a place even existed. She called immediately and set up an appointment. Combers KC treated the whole family for a flat rate and guaranteed the service for 30 days. She was ecstatic, she could not believe that we were able to completely get rid of head lice in the whole family with one treatment.  They had a 7, 14 and 30 day follow up, free of charge, for Amanda’s peace of mind. They were clean at every follow up appointment and she is forever grateful for our services.

lice-life-cycleNow, your probably wondering what happened? Why could she not get rid of her kids head lice? There are a few reasons that she kept finding lice on her daughter. She could have been getting re-exposed, the treatments might not have worked because they are not as effective, or Amanda wasn’t properly combing. Most times, the issue is the treatment used.

The problem with the over the counter products, and even the prescriptions for head lice removal, is that there are several different strands of head lice that have built up a resistance to the chemicals contained in these products.  Lice have genetically mutated and become immune to Malathion, Pyrethrum, Permethrin, and Lindane. These ingredients are all pesticides, they are meant to be potent enough to kill lice even days after the initial treatment.

Permethrin and Pyrethrum, are classified as “possible human carcinogens”,  and can effect the immune system, the reproductive system, liver, and can increase your chances for lung tumors and cancer. (http://www.beyondpesticides.org/mosquito/documents/permethrin.php)

Malathion only has a 36% success rate for treating head lice and must be used in a highly ventilated area. It is banned for indoor use as an insecticide. It is linked to ADHD and seizures. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malathion)

Lindane can cause skin irritations and seizures  and can effect the nervous system, immune system and increase your risk for cancer. By November 2006, the use of lindane had been banned in 52 countries and restricted in 33 others. Seventeen countries, including the US and Canada, allowed either limited agricultural or pharmaceutical use. It has also been banned in California since 2002. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lindane)

Do you want to put these harsh chemicals on your child’s head? No, of course not. The problem is that parents are not aware of the toxicity of  these products and assume, as would I, that they are safe to use or they wouldn’t be on the market. That is just not true. It is not recommended to treat children under 6 years old with these products (per the labels), but I would advise not putting these harsh chemicals on any member of your family, no matter the age.

louseToday lice are stronger, their exoskeletons are thicker than they used to be. I got head lice when I was in grade school, about 30 years ago, my mom used an over the counter product on me and my siblings. This product was not as toxic back then and it worked with one treatment. 30 years later, the lice have evolved and these products are just not as safe or effective as they use to be.

As far as home remedies go, Mayonnaise, Oil, and Cetaphil might work to suffocate the adults bugs in the hair, if used correctly and left on the head long enough, but it does nothing for the nits (eggs). If these are not manually removed, the whole process will start all over again in a couple weeks. If you have ever dealt with head lice, you know that removing the nits is the hardest part.

If you  find head lice on a child or other family member, you can call us and set up an appointment for a head lice check. A Trained Lice Removal Specialist will check and be able to confirm if it is in fact head lice. We can then give you some options for safe and effective treatments. If you would like to self treat,  we recommend you look for a product that is all natural, safe and effective. Combers KC uses and retails Happyheads products. They smell great, they are safe and easy to use, and they work. Go www.happyheadsproducts.com for more information.

CombersKCIf you would like help with head lice prevention, treatment or just have questions, please contact us. Our Professionally trained and certified Head Lice experts can help you decide the best way to treat your family. Educating yourself on Head Lice is half the battle. We are constantly keeping up to date on the science, most recent facts, and research regarding head lice and we love educating others.

We are available 24 hours a day at (913) 451-2662 or check out website: www.comberskc.com