Treatments that Work on Super Lice

Over the years lice have evolved and mutated into a stronger strain of bugs, which is now referred to as “super lice”. Lice have become immune to most common over-the-counter lice treatments, due to the overuse of the chemicals and pesticides they contain. Now, people are forced to search elsewhere for lice treatments that will effectively eliminate an infestation.

This super lice phenomena has been reported in 25 states. Find out what to do in the case of a super lice outbreak and ways to avoid contracting lice in the first place.

What are Super Lice?

Super lice operate the same way as normal head lice do. They are parasites that live atop the head, grasp onto the hair, and feed off of the blood of the scalp. The average case of head lice can be treated with over-the-counter treatments successfully, but super lice cannot.

Super lice are a genetically mutated strain of lice that are resistant to pyrethroid and permethrins. These are the common chemicals used in most over-the-counter lice treatments. These treatments will not kill super lice.

Where are Super Lice located?

Super lice have been found in 25 states in US. The states are listed below.

  1. Alabama
  2. Arizona
  3. Arkansas
  4. California
  5. Connecticut
  6. Florida
  7. Georgia
  8. Illinois
  9. Indiana
  10. Kansas
  11. Kentucky
  12. Maine
  13. Maryland
  14. Massachusetts
  15. Minnesota
  16. Missouri
  17. North Carolina
  18. Ohio
  19. Rhode Island
  20. South Carolina
  21. Tennessee
  22. Texas
  23. Virginia
  24. Washington
  25. Wisconsin

As you can see, super lice are quite widespread.

How can Super Lice Spread?

 Super lice spread exactly as normal head lice do. They quickly crawl from head to to head to personal item to head. They cannot jump or fly.

They are most frequently spread through direct head to head contact, like hugging or touching heads. However, lice can also spread through indirect means like the sharing of hair accessories, pillows, blankets, hats, and even fabric furniture that has come in contact with an infestation.

 How Do You Know if You Have Super Lice?

The symptoms that accompany super lice are the same that accompany regular head lice. The most common symptom is an itchy head and also a tickling sensation or crawling feeling on the scalp.

Super lice and regular lice differ when it comes to lice treatments. Common over-the-counter treatments will eliminate regular lice, but they will not get rid of super lice. Super lice have become immune to the chemicals that these treatments contain.

How Do you Treat Super Lice and Lice?

Your run-of-the-mill head lice can be treated with over-the-counter products. When used as directed this should eliminate your infestation. However, these products do contain chemicals and pesticides and nowadays people tend to stay away from these potentially harmful ingredients.

Some people turn of home remedies such as vaseline and mayonnaise, some choose to nit pick and comb through the hair until the head is clear, and other choose natural lice products to get rid of both lice and nits.

Super lice cannot become resistant to natural lice treatments products. They are non-toxic and do not contain chemicals or pesticides. They are also specifically designed to get rid of both lice and nits, so nit picking is not necessary.

How are lice and super lice prevented?

Since lice are highly contagious and extremely common, it is important to teach children to not share personal items, such as clothing, hats, pillows, and hair accessories.

Teaching your little ones about personal space is also helpful. If you child has long hair braiding it and putting it into a bun can reduce the chances of your child contracting head lice.

Last, but not certainly not least there are natural lice prevention products on the market that can stop head lice from making their home on your child’s head by just washing the hair and then misting it. Check out natural lice prevention products here.

 

Kicked off Delta Airlines for Head Lice, The Hardships Of Having Head Lice

A father of 3 along with his wife and 3 sons succumbed to being kicked off a Delta Airlines flight before arriving at its destination due to his 6 year old son’s head lice.

The family was supposed to travel home to Nashville from Paris, but instead wound up taking a grim detour to Minneapolis, Minnesota, when the plane prematurely landed to have the family quarantined by airport staff.

The children were examined for lice by the airport staff and the family was prohibited from boarding another Delta flight before the son received medical treatment to remedy the lice.

Delta Airline’s actions of booting the family off the flight, having the children undergo medical examinations, and requiring the head lice to be treated before boarding another Delta aircraft may have been unwarranted. This is because, virtually all large airplanes across the United States have at least 1 passenger infected with head lice and nearly all flights contain at least 1 passenger with a communicable disease.

Head lice transmission via a plane seat is not probable; however, it is possible to contract lice from a fabric seat that has come in contact with an infested head.

Ultimately, high quality, non-toxic, head lice treatment and prevention shampoos provide children the optimal solution for preventing and eliminating head lice over alternative methods.

High quality head lice treatment and prevention shampoos are environmentally friendly, and provide a safe and effective solution for preventing and eliminating head lice with their potent formulas of enzyme proteins and plant-based oils that keep head lice at bay.

The alternative to high quality, non-toxic head lice treatment and prevention shampoos, the over-the-counter head lice treatment shampoos, are toxic, non-environmental friendly, and ineffective at eliminating lice. Furthermore, even the prescription head lice treatment shampoos recommended by doctors can be very expensive and can also be highly toxic to the human scalp, rendering them unsafe to apply.

Selfies Causing Head Lice To Spread At Unprecedented Rates

 

The school year has returned, resulting in more children being affected by head lice infections. If the arrival of superlice resisting over-the-counter head lice treatment shampoos coupled with the dire reality of nearly all 600 types of arthropods invading US homes was not enough cause for concern of contracting head lice, there is another hidden head lice threat, selfies.

Scientists recently tested more than 200 kids and found those owning smart phones or tablets were more than twice as likely to have head lice as those without devices.

As selfies increase, higher rates of head lice contaminations are abound. Selfies provide a prime opportunity for head lice to spread as people share personal space, allowing the head lice to crawl from one head to another.

In recent years, head lice incidents rates have drastically increased in older children. This suggests that an increase usage of the smart devices strongly correlates with an increased rate of head lice incidents.

Ultimately, high quality, non-toxic, head lice treatment and prevention shampoos provide children the optimal solution for preventing and eliminating head lice over alternative methods.

High quality head lice treatment and prevention shampoos are environmentally friendly and provide a safe and effective solution for preventing and eliminating head lice with their potent formulas of enzyme proteins and plant-based oils that keep head lice at bay.

The alternative to high quality, non-toxic head lice treatment and prevention shampoos, the over-the-counter head lice treatment shampoos, are toxic and ineffective at eliminating lice. Furthermore, even the prescription head lice treatment shampoos recommended by doctors can be very expensive and can also be highly toxic to the human scalp, rendering them unsafe to apply.

 

 

Superlice Completely Resisting Head Lice Treatment Shampoos

A new report warns that over-the-counter head lice treatment products have lost much of their effectiveness against the superlice, parasitic insects that are similar to regular lice but are resistant to pyrethroids. The good news is that high quality head lice treatment products can still get rid of these unwelcomed invaders breeding in your hair.

The failure rate of over-the-counter head lice treatment products has increased dramatically in many areas domiciled throughout the United States. This leads to health problems, increased head lice treatment costs, and days missed from work and school.

Lice commonly infests in the hair of kids and lice infestations should immediately be remedied with non-toxic, environmental friendly, safe head lice treatment shampoos, such as the ClearLice head lice treatment shampoo. ClearLice’s head lice shampoos are environmentally friendly, and provide a safe and effective solution for preventing and eliminating head lice.

Dermatologists have been tracking the decline in the effectiveness of over-the-counter head lice treatments for years. These over-the-counter drugs for head lice have lost their potency due to head lice becoming resistant to them.

According to the findings of studies about head lice, drugs known as pyrethrins and permethrin have drastically lost effectiveness. Brand names of these non-effective over-the-counter lice treatment drugs that are inefficacious against treating superlice infestations encompass Nix and Rid.

More recent head lice research in the United States has estimated their effectiveness level at 25 percent when combined with combing of “nits.” That level is no better than a placebo, according to the study.

Ultimately, high quality, non-toxic, head lice treatment and prevention shampoos provide children the optimal solution for preventing and eliminating head lice over alternative methods.

High quality head lice treatment and prevention shampoos are environmentally friendly, and provide a safe and effective solution for preventing and eliminating head lice with their potent formulas of enzyme proteins and plant-based oils that keep head lice at bay.

The alternative to high quality, non-toxic head lice treatment and prevention shampoos, the over-the-counter head lice treatment shampoos, are toxic and may be ineffective at eliminating lice. Furthermore, even the prescription head lice treatment shampoos recommended by doctors can be very expensive and can also be highly toxic to the human scalp, rendering them unsafe to apply.

 

The Best Hair Shampoo May Be Your Worst Nightmare

It is a misnomer that the “best shampoos for hair” produce healthy results. Unaware of the health risks, consumers enter the danger zone when they utilize shampoo daily to wash their hair. Many of these people are profoundly unaware that these “hair care products” do anything, but care for the hair.

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Hair shampoos are abundantly tainted with a concoction of hazardous ingredients that harm consumer health and the environment. Some of these deadly ingredients prominent in shampoos encompass propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulphate, sodium lauryl sulphate, DEA/TEA, and PEG. These hazardous chemicals in shampoo are carcinogenic, toxic, and are irritants to both the skin and eyes.

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Additionally, these ingredients found in hair shampoos cause allergies and should unequivocally be avoided at all costs. The so called “best shampoos for hair” should have never made their way onto store shelves in the first place for the threat they pose to consumer health by being saturated with deadly carcinogens, acute neurotoxins, and hazardous endocrine disruptors.

The so called “best lice shampoos” that are guaranteed to eliminate head lice are anything but innocent or a safe treatment for eradicating head lice. These eminently sinister hair care products introduce a whole new spectrum of neurotoxins to the skin and scalp that include lethal ingredients such as lindane, malathion, and permethrin.

Human exposure to lindane can cause vomiting, seizures, brain damage, spontaneous abortion, learning problems, epilepsy and death. Human exposure to malathion can cause nausea, dizziness, confusion, respiratory paralysis, and death. Human exposure to pyrethrin can cause pneumonia, muscle paralysis, respiratory failure, vomiting, and asthma

These lethal shampoo toxins are just some of the myriad of unsafe ingredients used in popular lice treatments like Nix, Ovide, RID and Kwell.

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ClearLice bucks the head lice shampoo treatment norms by offering safe, non-toxic head lice shampoo free of poisons, pesticides, and harsh chemicals.

The ClearLice head lice shampoo contains environmental-friendly, vegan indigents, such as essential oils and botanicals which are plant-based ingredients. The ClearLice head lice shampoo products are infused with a vast amount of potent head lice prevention ingredients, such as tea tree oil, lavender oil, rosemary oils, and thyme oil. ClearLice head lice shampoo products are peppermint scented and are safe for children of all ages. ClearLice products offer an easy and effective solution for both preventing and treating head lice. ClearLice products can be purchased via https://www.clearlice.com/shop.

Author: Harrison Sachs

Almost All Lice Now Resistant to Over the Counter Treatment

lice treatment

If you thought that lice were bad enough before, you’re definitely going to be seeing them as an even bigger nuisances in the future.  No, they haven’t become more rampant, they’ve just become largely resistant to the typical over the counter lice treatment products used to eradicate them.  You may have heard about this issue on the news, but, either way, we’re going to delve into the factors surrounding this situation, what this means for parents of young children, and what we can expect to see in the future concerning the treatment of lice.

The Lice Treatment Agenda

Due to their new resistance, strains of lice are now being termed as super lice or super strains.  Before you panic, though: While lice have indeed adapted to the effects of particular chemical insecticides, they haven’t really changed in any other ways.  Head lice are super annoying, for sure, but they’re relatively harmless.  The biggest health problem you could expect from lice would be inflammation and possible infection due to excessive scratching, but these situations are rare.  Head lice don’t carry diseases, after all, and these newly adapted strains of lice haven’t changed in this regard.

So, what has changed?  For starters, the chemical treatments haven’t, and this is the big problem.  For years lice have been treated using the same family of chemical insecticides: pyrethroids.  The type of pyrethroid commonly used in over the counter lice treatments is permethrin. These chemicals have been so popular for the treatment of lice because they’re relatively gentle on people and they traditionally get the job done. 

The issue is that no other types of chemicals have been commonly used for the treatment of lice, causing strains to genetically mutate and become resistant to the effects of the insecticides.

Super strains of genetically adapted lice are now found in virtually all states, apart from Alaska and West Virginia where testing wasn’t done as part of the recent national study on the problem.  While the whole thing does sound a bit scary, it’s important to understand that lice aren’t an actual threat to anyone’s well-being – they’re simply annoyances.

lice treatment

What Do We Do Now?

Just because super strains may be present in your state, this doesn’t mean that if you or someone in your household gets lice that the strain you’re dealing with is in fact a super strain.  The best course of action that you can take is to attempt treatment with over the counter products that you can find at a local retailer or pharmacy, or even online from companies that specifically manufacture lice treatment products

You want to at least attempt this step, because, otherwise, you’re going to have to go straight to prescription treatments, and these involve chemicals that aren’t as mild as over the counter options.

Most lice treatment kits will come with nit combs that you can use to comb out lice and the nits – egg sacs – stuck to the hair shafts.  If one doesn’t come with your lice treatment shampoo, then you need to buy one, because no matter what strain of lice you’re dealing with or the kind of product you’re using to treat it, combing is essential.  If the lice shampoo isn’t quite as effective, at least with combing you have an increased chance of getting rid of all of the lice and their nits.

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Be sure to follow the directions offered with your lice treatment product very carefully, as you don’t want to overuse anything and expose yourself to more chemicals than are recommended by the manufacturer. 

You also want to be sure that you don’t underuse the product, either, as this is another factor in why lice have built up tolerance to over the counter products.  If you’ve used the treatment as directed, and you’ve been combing with a nit comb but you’re still finding live lice, then it’s probably time to go see a doctor.  Your doctor will walk you through the different prescriptions available, but be sure to stay away from the harsher ones on the market. 

It may be, however, that unless a variety of chemicals start being used for over the counter products, we’re most likely going to see more and more people having to turn to prescription options.

If you have young children, then be prepared for a bit of patience, both with them and their schools.  More schools are dropping the older policies surrounding lice, but some schools still require children to miss school days until they’re lice free.  Since lice can only be spread through direct contact and don’t pose a health risk, this outdated practice is more harmful than helpful.  Also, make sure to talk to your children about lice so that they understand it’s not a negative thing if someone gets them, as it’s important to make sure that children don’t tease one another for having them.

The Nuvo Method for Treating Head Lice

Few actions strike as much fear into the hearts of parents as the first telltale sign of a lice infestation: the head scratch. Perhaps subtle at first, and then growing in frequency, it is a signal that the next several weeks are likely to be fraught with scalp inspections, hair washing, and seemingly endless loads of laundry.

In the western world, lice present no threat to the immune system or spread illness, as they did in centuries past. They are, however, highly contagious and present a threat to the peace of mind for any parent or caregiver who sees them enter the home. Although there are treatments available for purchase, the advent of superlice at the start of the 21st century quickly revealed that many of these treatments were no longer effective.

However, in early 2004 a new treatment that claimed to be more effective and less dangerous than its predecessors was tested. The Nuvo Method was deemed a promising alternative to many commercially popular treatments, and it can be done with readily available materials. Here we share its origins, odds for success, and how you can use it at home as part of your fight against lice infestations.

Origins of Nuvo Treatment

Dr. Dale Pearlman, a San Francisco-based dermatologist, has concentrated much of his research on lice and their removal since the start of his practice in 1976. In 2004, he published a paper in Pediatrics Journal presenting an argument for a new form of treatment that presented over 90% lice removal success in two stages of testing. Drug-resistant lice had started to emerge at that time, and they still persist in their hatching and spreading over a decade later. His goal was to create a method that could effectively kill these lice, without heightening the amount of chemicals required to do so.

Challenges of Traditional Lice Treat

According to Pearlman, the reasons traditional lice treatments tend to fail are multiple and often combined:

Investigators have found lice resistant to many of the commonly used pediculicides. The recommended household cleaning and nit removal procedures are viewed as a heavy burden, and compliance may be incomplete. Some parents, school nurses, and health care advocates are concerned about the safety and efficacy of neurotoxin-based pediculicides and await the development of safer alternative agents. Finally, experts suggest that “there is strong need for the Food and Drug Administration to approve alternative agents.”

All of these reasons have been cited by parents and other caregivers, as well as Pearlman, as challenges to comprehensive lice removal techniques. While the Nuvo Method addresses some of these concerns head-on (toxicity of treatment, drug resistance), there are other elements of the process―namely, the length of time to assure comprehensive removal―that ultimately remain unchanged. In either case, the Nuvo Method presents a marked shift in nit removal strategy.

Procedure for Nuvo Treatment

There are three main steps for each stage of the Nuvo Method:

1. Apply the lotion. Cetaphil brand soap-free cleanser is the most common lotion used for this method throughout the scalp, doing so in sections and ensuring full coverage.

2. Comb out as much excess lotion as possible to prevent buildup. If applied carefully enough, children can go to school with the lotion still in their hair without much disturbance. This combing should take place a few times, with the tines of combs used getting closer together each time. That is to say, a wide toothed comb should be followed by a narrow-toothed comb, finishing with a nit-picking comb to provide some manual nit removal assistance. Many schools require parents or caretakers to nit-comb the infested student’s hair before a return to school, so this last step may be a compliance measure you’re forced to take, regardless.

3. Use a blow dryer to dry your child’s scalp. In the same way that shrink wrap is used to “seal” decorative packages, the blow drying of Cetaphil creates a stifling seal for lice. After eight hours of being under the “sealed” scalp, your child’s hair can be washed as normal.

Full treatment requires three rounds (or stages) of this procedure, each completed one week from the one before it. In total, the Nuvo Method should span six weeks to clear an active infestation. Repeated administrations of the treatment will allow any errant eggs that escaped comb removal and hatched through prior procedures to be removed.

 

It was by following this procedure that the extraordinarily high treatment numbers reported in the study were reached. A successful round of treatment was declared when two conditions were met: a wet combing test of the hair (also used at the start of the study to determine eligibility) came back lice-free, and the child no longer complained of an itchy scalp or was seen scratching excessively.

In addition to the treatment of hair on the head and scalp, Pearlman recommends these supplemental actions to ensure that any stray lice don’t continue an infestation, or spread it to other family members:

  • After each stage of the Nuvo treatment, launder the clothing you and your child wore during the process.
  • Sterilize all the combs and brushes in the home. To do this, you can either soak them in isopropyl alcohol for ten minutes, or you can run them through a full hot cleaning cycle in the dishwasher.
  • Send any bedding that has been used between Nuvo treatments through the laundry. When washing them, do so on hot and follow with a tumble in the dryer on high. Alternatively, you could throw them in the dryer on high for 10 minutes without washing them; the heat will disable any remaining lice, and they’ll fall away through the agitation.

Why This Method?

The power of most commercially available lice removal treatments lies in the presence of powerful neurotoxins like pyrethrins (a chrysanthemum-derived lice deterrent) or malathion. These chemicals are troublesome
for two reasons.

First, particularly in the case of the former, increasing numbers of lice are proving immune to these toxins, meaning your child’s head is being exposed to a load of potentially harmful chemicals for no reason.

Secondly, particularly in the case of the latter, the substance is a neurotoxin for lice and humans. Put another way, what is being marketed as a lice treatment is actually a topical pesticide―and a decision to use such a chemical on a child’s head should not be taken lightly.

Comparatively, while Cetaphil isn’t fully chemical-free, it was developed explicitly to be safe for those with sensitive skin. Rather than serving as an exterminator, it inhibits their breathing. Other home treatments like coating the scalp with coconut oil or mayonnaise operate under similar assumptions, but the length of the application isn’t enough to truly suffocate them. The heal seal created by blow drying, combined with the length of time the product stays on the scalp, outlasts their natural ability to shut down their respiration.

The Nuvo Method as an alternative form of treatment is important in the discussion of the oft-mentioned epidemic of superlice, because these lice by their very definition will outlast traditional over-the-counter remedies. Over hundreds of years, they’ve developed an immunity to pyrethrins, which is why stronger pesticides like malathion even came into use for lice, and even these remedies are now proving ineffective. The risk that more dangerous remedies will present is precisely the risk that these lice have evolved to outlast, but all lice can eventually be asphyxiated, making extermination by the Nuvo Method a more likely scenario.

Advantages of Nuvo Treatment

In addition to a heightened likelihood of eradication reduced toxin load, some of the advantages of the Nuvo method include:

Reduced contagion:
During the time the scalp is sealed, lice have a far greater task ahead of moving from one head to another once the Cetaphil has been applied. Because Cetaphil dries clear, the “seal” can be worn out of the house, allowing your child to leave the house for school, play, or other activities. (A caveat: activities that will compromise the quality of the seal, such as athletics where the scalp will sweat, reduce the integrity of the seal and can allow for contagion.) With that said, the same rules for reducing the spread of lice apply: no sharing of brushes, combs, or hats; laundering commonly carried or worn soft surfaces like blankets, coats and jackets, and stuffed animals; and, believe it or not, watching out for “selfies” (the close proximity of heads is a prime way to spread adult lice).

Accessibility of treatment:
While lice treatment kits may not always be available to those hoping to treat lice, Cetaphil is generally fairly easy to find. Further, most homes already have a blow dryer, making this stage of the treatment accessible as well. However, it’s recommended that you acquire a nit-removal comb: a long-tined, narrowly spaced comb that can help remove lice and their eggs manually. Participants who used these combs as part of their lice removal strategy fared best in Pearlman’s study.

Safety:
Cetaphil is a safety risk in the same way that many other skin care items are; it acts as an irritant when accidentally washed into the eyes, and should be flushed out if large amounts are ingested. These relatively minor irritations seem preferable when compared to the potential damage that could come from topical pesticides. With dangers such as nausea or vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and potential nervous system effects reported from pesticide exposure, it seems responsible to explore less toxic alternatives to these ubiquitous options.

Disadvantages of Nuvo Treatment

Despite its many advantages, even the Nuvo treatment is not without its challenges or downsides. A few of these drawbacks include:

COST:
While the typical chemical lice removal kit costs $10-$30, one bottle of Cetaphil (the required amount for one stage of treatment) typically costs around $15. Put another way, a complete course of treatment could cost more than four times what one chemical kit does.

Duration of treatment:
Some may balk at a course of treatment that takes three weeks. What’s more, the treatment itself must be applied meticulously, ensuring that the full scalp is covered and that no pockets escape untreated. Without proper attention to detail, an airtight seal cannot be achieved, and treatment success could be compromised. A fully successful course of this treatment requires patience and diligence; in the absence of both, an infestation could persist for weeks or even months.

Sensitive to human error:
Closely related to the last item, the process is highly subject to human error. If the procedure isn’t completed with enough product in the hair, isn’t allowed to dry completely, or isn’t repeated enough to ensure complete removal, the odds of success will necessarily lessen. The high odds for treatment are based upon complete compliance with given instructions; in the absence of this compliance, full removal may take longer and be harder to achieve.

Only targets living lice:
just as with the majority of other commercially available lice treatments, the Nuvo Method can only effectively kill adult lice. Nymphs (another word for “baby” lice) and eggs are generally unharmed by both chemical means and the Nuvo Method, which is why the treatment must persist for so long. Repeated treatments are targeting those eggs that have since matured into adult specimens. There are a handful of products on the market that dissolve the waxy exoskeleton of eggs and nymphs, allowing for their extermination; use of these products alongside The Nuvo Method could heighten chances for a mercifully short infestation.

The Nuvo Method is an attractive treatment to anyone who seeks a more functional cure for the aggressive scourge of lice, and it can be of particular interest to those seeking to reduce their exposure to chemicals and toxins. If you or your child has been struggling to beat a case of head lice, this form of treatment may be worth your time and energy to try.

How to Stop the Spread of Lice During Summer Months

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Summer is supposed to be a carefree time, for kids and parents alike. The worries of regular homework are replaced with ones of getting to camp on time, making plans with family friends and neighbors, and staving off the always dreaded, “I’m bored!” However, one threat that does remain year-round is that of lice. Even though many believe that being at school heightens risks of spreading the contagious little bugs, in truth no place where kids congregate in close proximity is truly safe.

While lice are an ever-present concern, you don’t have to spend the whole summer actively worrying about them. With a greater understanding of how they spread, what activities present special risk, and how to recognize them if they do arrive, you can count on a summer that is both lovely and lice-free.

How Are They Spread?

Lice are tiny parasitic insects that set up shop on the head and scalp, and which survive through the blood supply of the scalp. They spread no disease and cause no ill effects to the health of their host. However, they cause persistent itching and tingling, and are difficult to fully remove. Absent wings or the ability to jump, they move from one host to the next through close head to head contact.

This can happen through physical proximity―such as that which happens in sports huddles, horseplay, or even screen-sharing (watching videos on tablets or mobile phones with heads close together)―or through the sharing of items that routinely touch the head―like combs and brushes, hats, scarves, or hooded sweatshirts.

Summer-Specific Risks

Many of us are well versed in the specific behaviors that allow lice to spread, but some of these threats are more prominent or take a different form in the summer months. A few “hot zones” of note that may pop up more in the summer than the rest of the year include:

  • Sleepovers: Between all the communal activities that happen at sleepovers, and the prospect (generally for girls) of sharing combs, hairbrushes, hair accessories, and piles of shared bedding in close proximity, any trace of lice in this arena could lead to a larger infestation.
  • Shared Towels: Beach trips and long days at the public pool can mean that personal towels are less guarded than they would be normally. Even though lice don’t survive long away from the scalp’s vital blood supply, the transfer of stray adult lice can happen through shared towels.
  • Shared Helmets: As skate parks fill up for the summer and bike expeditions are organized, the prospect of shared helmets can present a risk to lice transmission in the same way that shared hats and scarves can do in the winter. Active cases of lice can be spread further if nymphs or adult lice latch inside, then reattach to new heads a short time later.

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Telltale Signs and Treatment

The signs of lice are, for the most part, universal: If your child comes home with an itchy or tingly scalp, especially occurring after one of the aforementioned activities or instances, carefully check the head for nits. For more conclusive proof, a lice identification test can be performed to ensure that you’re not confusing a case of dry scalp or eczema for a lice infestation.

Should you find that your child does in fact have lice, there are a number of actions you can take to remove them while protecting the rest of the family. First, concentrate on as much manual nit removal as possible. There are chemical lice removal options, but many are classified as pesticides, and contain chemicals that lice have evolved past (hence the fears about superlice, already identified in 25 states).

If you’d like a chemical assist in nit removal, look for enzymatic and protein assisted varieties that focus on removing the lice’s waxy outer coating for a more comprehensive and effective extermination.

What Can Parents Do?

As the season of sunny and social days opens, talk with your kids about lice and how they’re spread. Help them identify risky behaviors, and practice with them how they can talk to friends about the risks. Have similar conversations with the parents of their friends, and keep lines of communication open if any children do contract lice. Information, diligence, and prevention all play a powerful role in keeping lice infestations from turning into epidemics. Play your part in keeping this summer fun, relaxing, and lice-free.

The Facts of Lice

Scalp feeling a little … itchy? It might not be pleasant, but kids all over the world end up with itchy, crawly lice – which they “thoughtfully” share with anyone else that they come into contact with. Lice are tough little bugs to deal with, especially when they go unnoticed for a long period of time and/or get loose in your house. Anyone can get lice, too, so if you’ve built up some kind of belief that only certain people get them, it’s time to sit up and face facts.

While they may be a very unpleasant hassle to take on, the good thing is that there are ways to prevent lice infestations, as well as natural remedies to effectively get rid of lice. Everyone should know about how to protect themselves from lice – especially those with children – so here we’ll cover not only the ways in which you can stop them from invading, but also how you can defeat them if they find a way to weasel their way into someone’s hair.

What’s a Louse:

A louse is a tiny little parasite that feeds off of the human head. Lice aren’t particularly dangerous, as they don’t carry any kind of toxins or bacteria and aren’t known to spread any sort of diseases. However, they do pack a rather itchy punch, which in turn leads to a lot of scratching – something young children don’t typically have the willpower to resist. Scratching causes the scalp to become irritated and inflamed, this can lead to problems. Irritated skin can become infected (children are basically magnets for germs, as it is) and these infections can lead to fever, nausea, and other issues. Plus, raw, irritated skin just plain hurts. Don’t want your kids to deal with this – or get stuck sharing the experience with them? Right. Let’s talk defense.

Handy Lice Prevention:

You don’t necessarily have to go into full out war mode when keeping lice at bay.

The very first thing that you can and should do in order to avoid lice is actually super easy: just be aware. Once you know what you’re dealing with and the signs to look out for, it becomes a lot easier to keep these little pests out of your life. Check out pictures of lice online and even go to YouTube to see videos of what they look like in people’s hair. This will give you a visual to always have handy in your head whenever you happen to take a look at your kids’ or anyone else’s head. Speaking of looking at heads, this brings us to our next piece of advice.

If you have kids, particularly those around elementary school age, then it’s a very good idea to remain fairly vigilant when it comes to their hair. Check their heads often and pay attention to any out of the ordinary scratching. Excessive head itching is going to be a big red flag.

Catching lice early on makes getting rid of them a whole lot easier, especially in regards to preventing them from spreading through the household.

Most schools will also do frequent lice checks and will let parents know if there have been any cases of lice in the school. Systems like these help to ensure that parents as well as teachers stay on their toes. It’s not just adults that can work to prevent lice, either.

Talking to your kids about lice is extremely important. First of all, it’s good to let them know that anyone can get lice, and it’s not a negative reflection on anyone. Children can sometimes be unkind in situations like this, so it’s a good idea to remind them that if any of their classmates or friends happens to catch lice, they shouldn’t tease or taunt them. After all, they could very well end up with the bugs themselves.

Secondly, children need to understand that lice are easily spread through the wearing of other people’s clothing or the shared use of things like brushes or hair ties. Making sure they know not to wear other people’s hats and not to share brushes will go a long way in helping to prevent them from getting infected with lice.

This next step for preventing lice is also very easy – just clean! Cleaning should be a regular routine with all of us, so it’s not like you have to go out of your way. Washing sheets and pillow cases, vacuuming regularly, etc. are all great ways of ensuring that lice don’t have an easy time of settling in.

If your kids have slept over at someone else’s house or have gone on a camping trip or some kind of overnight school trip, then the first thing to do when they get back is to immediately put their clothes in the wash. Also, be sure to check their bags and belongings thoroughly in order to spot any lice crawling around. Quick action like this puts forth a decisive block to any pests trying to make their way into your home.

Now, you probably use all types of disinfectants all throughout the house and are wondering if something like this can also come in handy when trying to prevent head lice. Luckily for you, the answer is yes. There are all types of products out there that can be used in order to prevent lice.

One smart – and safe – bet would be to purchase some prevention shampoos and conditioners that utilize all-natural products in order to repel lice. These products can be safely used on a continual basis and can be used as a replacement to regular shampoo and conditioner, so no worries about having to use additional products.

You can also find spray products that feature all-natural products, which are effective in keeping away lice from clothing, sports bags, backpacks, and other accoutrements.

Kicking Lice to the Curb:

If they’ve somehow managed to get past your defenses, don’t worry; you can still ensure that you’re the winner in the end, and the lice are the definite losers. You can find a variety of head lice treatment products on the market, but a lot of these aren’t as effective as they used to be. Many treatment products use chemicals that lice are pretty much building up a tolerance to, which is kind of a bummer, but also a bit of a silver lining.

Exposing your kids to different types of chemicals isn’t exactly something you’re probably going to be thrilled about, and you’re likely not going to be thrilled about having to use them on yourself, either, if you end up with lice as well. The good news is that there is a wide range of all-natural products that you can buy in order to kill lice without having to worry about harmful chemicals. There are also a lot of different home remedies you can rely on that are just as effective.

Everyone seems to have their own secret recipe for getting rid of lice and, of course, they always swear by it. The thing with home remedies is that you sometimes have to take them with a grain of salt and just hope they’ll work out. However, there are some remedies out there that truly are effective, and you can be a little more assured of it based on the ingredients and tools being used.

The first thing you’re going to want to do is get some lice picking combs and remove as many of the pests and their eggs as you can. If you can get the infestation down to as minimal a level as possible, then you’re going to increase your chances for success and minimize the likelihood that they’ll spread.

Once you’ve picked out as much as you can, it’s now time to apply some treatment products. Two things you could use would be olive oil or almond oil. The amount you use will obviously depend on how bad the infestation is, but the effect will end up being the same. These products will, in effect, smother the lice, either killing them or making it a lot easier to pick them out.

You probably shouldn’t soak the hair in oil, just for the sake of avoiding a mess and making it a little easier to work with. Instead, start out with a modest amount and apply more, depending on how many lice are present and how much hair you’re working with. While the main infestation is going to be at the scalp – the source of their food – be sure to work your way through the entire length of hair in order to catch any that may be scurrying around.

After you’ve completed the treatment with the oil, then it’s time to wash and rinse the hair. You can use the shampoo you and your child typically use, or you can use some natural shampoo specifically designed to treat lice. You’ll want to wash and rinse several times in order to do a thorough job.

Once you’ve washed their hair, apply vinegar, and then keep it in for 20 to 30 minutes, covering their head with a shower cap. If you don’t have a shower cap, then you can always improvise with a plastic bag and something to tie it in place, like twine, a large rubber-band, etc. Rinse their hair out again and dry. Make sure you get all of the towels and anything else immediately into the washing machine (it wouldn’t hurt to wash twice).

While it may be easier to use olive oil or almond oil – considering they’re more likely to be in your kitchen or at a local grocery store – there are a variety of oils that have been noted for their effectiveness in treating lice. Such oils include tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, and lavender oil, among others.

Before using, test a drop or two on the person’s skin to make sure they’re not allergic to the oil being used. You can use about 15 drops or so of these oils mixed in with 2 ounces of the olive oil and use it as an overnight soak. You can also apply the same amount of drops to rubbing alcohol (about 4 ounces) and use it as a spray, also leaving it in overnight.

You’ll likely have to repeat these treatments for a little while, so stay patient and keep a cool head. If you’re finding that the lice are just a little more persistent than you’d anticipated, then you can always contact a doctor in order to hear their particular recommendation. You may in fact need a prescription.

Things Not to Do:

Lice aren’t like the sort of pests that homeowners typically battle against, like roaches, fleas, termites, and other pests. Some people get so worried by the presence of lice in their home that they immediately want to call an exterminator, which is understandable but not advisable.

Lice are a true host parasite, meaning that their lives are immediately linked with their ability to find and secure a host. If they don’t have a host to feed off of, then they die off pretty quickly.

Bringing in someone to spray your home is just going to expose your family and pets – which are more susceptible – to harsh chemicals and toxins, not to mention cost you money.

If lice have spread from one person to another and become a much larger household problem, just maintain treatments for everyone. It would also be a good idea to look into the prevention products mentioned earlier that you can spray on various surfaces where lice may be hiding.

Lastly, don’t get overzealous in trying to kill the lice. If you’ve been following a particular treatment method for a while and nothing seems to be working, then it’s time to stop the treatments and seek medical advice. Repeatedly using products, whether they are home remedies or not, can lead to additional problems or may complicate the matter of removing the lice.

The basic principle to work with is that if you haven’t seen any results after about 3 treatments, then it’s time to consider other options.

Pets and Lice: What You Need to Know

There are many concerns you might have regarding your beloved pets and their interactions with lice. We’re here to help.

First things first: Your dog or cat cannot catch head lice from your child, nor can a child catch lice from an animal. Lice are extremely species-specific and can only subsist on one particular kind of host. That said, lice are much less common on pets than fleas or ticks, so be sure of what the infestation actually is.

 

Lice do carry diseases and can transmit tapeworms to your pet, so it’s a good idea to engage in preventative measures before an issue comes up. Keep your pet well-groomed and pay attention to scratching and biting at its fur, especially around the moister areas. That’s where the chewing lice congregate to consume the dead skin; the sucking lice go for the skin (well, the blood under it) at the neck and shoulders.

Make sure your pet’s environment is clean and well-kept, especially for an older, very young, or special-needs pet. All of these are more susceptible to lice, so they will need extra vigilance. A good diet and regular vet exams are a must, regardless, but a veterinarian can diagnose lice (as well as fleas and ticks, of course) and help you recognize what they look like.

If your pet does get lice, there are treatments you can undertake to eradicate them. You will, of course, need to thoroughly clean and sanitize all its bedding, toys, and living areas. If you can’t clean something, seal it in plastic for a few weeks. That will allow all the lice to die off.  A bath, shampoo, rinse, and a complete brushing with a nit comb will complete the procedure; isolate the pet, if possible, to prevent spreading lice to other pets.

Lice have a short life cycle, which means for you that you’ll need to destroy all the eggs and adults to prevent them from laying more eggs. Otherwise, the new eggs will hatch, and the entire ordeal begins again. This is not quite as easy as it sounds, naturally.

 

Lice eggs, or nits, are literally glued to the hairs of the animal they prey on. This is because, unlike fleas, the juvenile lice, known as nymphs, cannot jump. Nor can they fly, or swim, or really move much at all. So the egg is positioned exactly where the nymph needs to be positioned in order to eat when it hatches. The whole life cycle is about two to three weeks, and adults lay eggs constantly, so an infestation could last for months or even years if not eradicated completely.

Since the nymphs are largely immobile, and the adults are no great movers, either, they can only be transmitted through physical contact between hosts: Something to think about at the dog park.

There are chemicals in lice treatments that require a proper dosage be calculated for the animal’s body weight. Too little, and the lice won’t be affected; too much, and your pet could be injured. Be certain to use the correct medicines or insecticides for the correct animal: a dog’s treatment will be ineffective for a cat’s infestation. Most importantly, re-treat any animal two weeks after their initial treatment to ensure you’ve caught both sides of the life cycle.

If you do have multiple pets of the same type, you might want to treat all of them at once even if not all of them show symptoms. Omit harsher chemicals, but provide a bath and close grooming to prevent cross-transmission.

Again, different types of pets don’t need to worry about a louse built for one type attacking another.

 

The lice simply can’t utilize an alternate food source, so a rabbit and a horse are mutually immune to each other’s lice, and so on.

Simply paying attention to your pets’ comfort levels, and ensuring that they are well-groomed and properly fed will go a long way toward keeping them louse-free. Be aware that lice are a lesser danger in the realm of parasites, but difficult to eradicate without some hard, tedious work. Remember that you can’t get lice from each other, so don’t be concerned about getting deep in their fur to groom; in the unlikely event your pet has lice, you won’t be getting any from them.