By Kimberly Pickens
Understanding head lice is key to prevention and treatment.
So what is head lice? They are parasites that feed on human blood from the scalp. Lice can attach themselves to the bottom of a single strand of hair and crawl their way up to the head. Head lice are primarily spread from head-to-head contact. This can happen by simply hugging someone who has the bugs crawling through their head. This includes close contact from putting heads together and/or sharing brushes, hats and coats. Family members often will spread it to one another due to frequent close contact. As a single female louse can lay up to 200 eggs in 30 days, it’s important to take prevention steps in order to avoid an infestation.
In order to spot an infestation early, it’s important to perform frequent head checks. Adult lice are the easiest to spot because they are the largest. But — at the size of a sesame seed — they still aren’t that big. Although lice vary in color, they commonly appear to look grayish-white or tan. Adult head lice can only live up to 48 hours without human blood.
For parents to determine if their child has a lice infestation, they should look at the hair strands about a quarter inch off the scalp for lice eggs attached to individual hairs. They look like tiny specks and will be glued securely to the hair. If they can’t be easily pulled off, they are probably eggs and not dandruff.
Playing the defensive role is the easiest way to avoid getting head lice from others. Staying lice free can be done by remembering to not share things like hair brushes, hair accessories, pillows, hooded clothing, and costumes. Parents can also keep their child’s hair up in buns or braids. Prevention sprays made of essential oils or using a simple mint repellent spray can help prevent lice from crawling from head-to- head. This would be used in conjunction with pulling the hair back. But, the most important thing to keep in mind when preventing head lice is to avoid head-to-head contact with others, which is the least costly option.
Head lice treatments are often full of chemicals. However, there is a safe, effective, chemical-free single treatment option called the Full Service AirAllé, an eco-friendly option that requires just one treatment, which is guaranteed for 30 days. It does not use any pesticides that are usually found in typical over-the-counter products and shampoos. By using controlled, heated air, the FDA-cleared device dehydrates the bugs and their eggs in a single treatment, which takes about an hour.
For more on AirAllé, visit airalle.com.
Kimberly Pickens is the founder of No Nit Noggins, a lice removal clinic part of the Lice Clinics of America network, with a location in Scottsdale at 8060 E Gelding Drive 85260. The clinic uses an FDA-cleared medical device, the AirAllé, which kills lice and eggs through dehydration rather than using chemicals or pesticides. The device, invented by scientists at the University of Utah, kills lice and eggs through a specific combination of temperature, airflow, time, and technique. Learn more at NoNitNoggins.com or by calling 602-441-0231.