I have been a parent now for 9 years tomorrow and in that time, I have heard endless lice scares. Did you hear? LICE is going around. Did you hear?! Someone has lice in the class! So much so that the question really is – when is lice NOT going around?
What’s a mom to do? Well, a germaphobe like me goes into complete phantom head itching panic. And I don’t think I am alone. The thought of it makes my skin crawl.
Both of my girls were recently exposed, and I of course, freaked out. I ended up calling an Orange County lice treatment business, OC Hair Police, to ask them what to do.
After I talked to her, I felt so much better. Neither of my girls got lice, but I just felt better having the FACTS. Which of course, always inspires a blog post.
So here are the questions I asked Frances Ward of OC Hair Police, who is a professional technician and lice consultant (PTLC).
I heard that one of my daughter’s friends has lice or lice is going around? What do I do?
First thing you need to do is check your child’s head if they have been exposed. Use a nit comb and check behind the ears and base of the neck because that is where they start. Often you will notice your child itching those areas, or will see a rash or scratches in the area.
When first infected, the nits can be hard to detect and the baby bugs can often be mistaken as sand, so for your peace of mind, OC Hair Police can do a head check for $25.
“Take a peak once a week!”
The earlier you catch them, the less likely your kid is to infect others and the easier to get rid of them. Plus, you are not contagious for the 1st seven days, so best case scenario, you can treat the lice before it can spread.
Get in the habit of doing a check once a week.
How do you prevent head lice?
The very best thing to do is use this enzyme product as a preventative measure. The one OC Hair Police uses and stands behind is called
Absolute Clear Enzyme Head Spray
I suggest getting it now so it is in your cupboard for the next time you hear “lice is going around.”
The product is nontoxic, eliminates lice and eggs, is pesticide free and safe for repeated use.
You can buy it on their website HERE or it can be found at World of Beauty on 17th Street in Costa Mesa or Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids in Tustin.
Side note – she told me that there is no scientific studies proving lice don’t like rosemary or tea tree oil.
This enzyme will kill them.
The other night I heard one of my daughter’s good friends had lice, so I did the treatment on both immediately just in case.
Then you can use the same spray as a preventative treatment. The spray will foam up, but it will go away. If you have excess foam, pat a little with a paper towel to remove. I will spray it on before school and then comb it through and pull her hair back tight, and off the neck.
On that note, keeping the hair pulled up and off the neck for girls, and short for boys is best.
What to do if your child gets lice?
First thing to do is to (try) not to panic.
Tell people to check their kids!
If you are not at risk of people being nasty or singling out your kids, she highly suggests to talk to the parents of the kids that play closely with your child so they can check their kids. Like she mentioned, the earlier it’s caught, the better.
Your child got it from someone, and in turn, could have given it to someone. People need to check so they can treat it. The worst thing to happen is a repeat cycle of continuous re-infestation where it keeps getting passed around.
Immediately Start a 10-Day Lice Treatment
If a louse lives to be 7 – 10 days old, it is an adult and can spread to others. The key is to stop the hatching process before the bugs become adults.
The enzyme treatment needs to be done 3 times in 10 days to ensure all the lice were killed. The second you know you have it, do a treatment and spend time comb, comb, and combing through the hair with a nit comb, and then wash it out per the instructions.
Do another treatment 4 days later. This will kill any that might have been missed in the first treatment. The last treatment on day 10 is a precaution, and by day 11 they should all be completely gone.
On that note, if a child has live adult bugs you can see on the scalp, they should be kept away from other kids because they are contagious, until treatment has been underway.
And be careful with your products. Many over-the-counter products are toxic, contain pesticides and the lice have actually become resistant to the chemicals.
What About Cleaning the House?
This is where most moms freak out and overreact. I would be one of those moms. I feel better knowing this info now.
Head lice cannot live off a human host for more than 48-hours and they cannot jump or fly. If the infected person has not been around something, don’t worry about it. You don’t have to wash their entire wardrobe.
If anything was in contact, you can quarantine it for 2 days, giving the bugs time to die.
Things like sheets and pillow cases should be dried on high heat to kill bugs if you need to use them right away.
Vacuuming will pick up bugs on the carpet and furniture, so will a lint brush if you want to use that on carseats or strollers.
Frances wanted to share they have published a cute book called Louse Out which help explains (in a non scary way) what lice are and how they can get rid of them.
OC Hair Police
I couldn’t have been more grateful talking to Frances. She was so kind and helpful. She stressed several times how it is her mission to empower parents with information, and she will work with all families to help them through.
They do in-store treatments, and also home treatments. Treatments are by appointment, but you can call anytime with questions (leave a message and they will get right back to you).
Here is their contact information:
OC Hair Police
Back Bay Center
2675 Irvine Avenue, Suite 110
Costa Mesa, CA 92627