Lice Through the Ages

At first thought, it is easy to understand that lice could’ve been a problem that has impacted humans since the beginning of our species. A deeper look into the different cultures lice has impacted and how they combated it is both interesting and educational. Not to mention a great way to step back and reflect on the marvels of modern medicine.

 

Chimpanzees and Their DNA

Scientists tell us that human DNA is a 98% match to that of our closest animal relative, the ape.

With all of our common physical traits comes a common problem, lice. Roughly 5.5 million years ago two different types of lice were separated and formed different eating habits. One that survived off of the human species, and another that lived off of chimpanzees. Over the centuries many different species of lice have divided off and infect many different mammals and birds in their different varieties. It is interesting to note however that each type of animal is only inflicted with their specific lice. That is why animals do not pose a threat to infecting humans with head lice. Apes to this day gather together in a shrewdness of apes and nitpick one another to remove lice and nits. This important social gathering for apes could have been a common practice among our homo sapiens ancestors as well.

 

Walk Like An Egyptian

Egyptian gods and goddesses have been revered for centuries as creatures of beauty and great power. We know now that recent archaeological findings prove lice was rampant during Ancient Egyptian time. Mummified corpses left traces of intact lice on the heads of the mummies. Some had over 400 adult lice on their scalps. Egyptian culture and royalty continue to this day to influence design and fashion. One way this is apparent is the way they handled lice infestations. Women, children and most often priests or royalty would shave their entire bodies to prevent lice. They would wear beautiful, elaborate hair pieces or wigs that were symbols of power and wealth.

 

Lords and Ladies of the Land had Head Lice

The Dark Ages was a time of brutality, coldness and torturous medical practices. Medieval men and women lived in close quarters, shared beds, owned limited pairs of clothing, and some researchers believe cared little for personal hygiene. These practices and living conditions made it a time when lice plagued everyone, from the wealthy royal to the common peasant. Some folklore suggests that lard and oils were used to try and suffocate the lice and eggs. Another fun tale says that people would wear fur vests and cloaks in hopes that the lice would prefer the lush fur and make their way into its warmth. However primeval that may seem, those living with lice every day would likely try anything to be free of it.  

 

Frontiersmen Fought off Lice

Among reports of infectious diseases in hospital wards, soldiers quarters and battlefields, lice also imposed a great amount of discomfort to the American Frontiersmen. Among the artifacts discovered at soldiers forts in Wisconsin were bone-derived lice combs. These small combs, a few inches in length, prove that the people were bothered enough to come up with some desperate solutions.

 

The 20th Century and Modern Science

When the WW II soldiers were trapped in trenches and fighting for their life, fortunately for them scientists had developed pesticides that were intended to ward off malaria-borne diseases carried by mosquitos. These same treatments proved effective in killing lice and their nits. Today we know that harsh chemicals are not the best approach. Thanks to modern science, over the counter shampoos and chemical treatments, are becoming a thing of the past. Dehydration methods prove much more effective and affordable to use.

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Who is Most Likely to Contract Lice?

Lice are really no respecter of persons. They don’t care how old a person is, or where they live. They don’t prefer people with dirty or clean hair. Lice will strike whenever they find the opportunity. In the United States it is true that anywhere you travel you are at risk to contract lice. In fact, throughout the world lice can be found in almost every country, city or town.

With that in mind who then is most likely to be affected?

 

Children are Most at Risk

Small, school age children are at the most risk. They easily pass lice from one head to another at school playgrounds, classroom settings, daycares, or extracurricular activities where many children are together.  The easiest way to catch lice is through direct head to head contact. Hence, children are more prone to lice because they don’t fear getting close. Lice are also easily passed through children because they share reading rugs, gym mats, stuffed animals, bean bags, pillows, blankets, towels, jackets or anything else that they use that could be contaminated with lice if recently used by a child who is infected.

 

What are the Most Common Ways Adults Catch Lice?

The single most common way that adults are affected is through their own children. If you have school aged children 3-11 you are much more likely to have lice yourself. Without knowing a small child is carrying lice it is easy for everyone in a household to become infected. Eggs from the adult lice can be spread quickly through unsuspected items throughout the home. In no time, everyone could have a problem. In fact, symptoms of lice can take several weeks to surface. Eggs need time to hatch and may be on a scalp for awhile before they are detected. Once they have hatched they begin to feed on the scalp, which can then start to cause irritation and itching. That makes it especially difficult to stop the spreading early on. The best way to safeguard your home is by doing frequent head checks to watch for lice eggs, nits, close to the scalp. Check your school age children often to prevent spreading.

 

Fabric Lined Seating in Public Settings

Adults can also catch lice in many different scenarios away from home. Have you ever stopped to consider how many people have shared that same seat on the public bus? How about the movie theater where someone infected with lice could lounge for hours watching a movie and be completely unaware they are spreading lice eggs, or nits onto the headrest. When the next show starts someone else will sit in the same cushioned seat and the lice eggs, marked with a sticky substance could easily be transferred to them completely unaware of it happening.

 

Crowded Areas

Crowded areas have always been a breeding ground for lice. When a lot of people are trying to get to the same place people moving into a crowd bump or maneuver around one another possibly infecting each other with lice. Places such as pools, elevators, malls, amusement parks, concerts, stadiums, locker rooms, and airplanes are all places adults have been known to pick up lice. In other words, no one is immune. Everyone is at risk and needs to be aware of the signs and symptoms of lice as well as the ways it is most likely contracted.

 

Barbershop or Hair Salon

Generally speaking most hair stylists are professional and take care to properly clean and disinfect their equipment. However, the risk is always there. It only takes once for someone to be careless or forgetful and pass on lice to an unsuspecting customer.

Pumpkin, Apple and Caramel – The Tastes of Fall

Pumpkin spice and everything nice, that’s what we wish for you and your family this fall season. At Lice Clinics of America here in Lexington we love this time of year and thought that we’d like to share some of our favorite ways to celebrate with our clients and community. Everyone could use a little more festivity this autumn. Take a look at these suggestions and pick a few to try.

  1. Walk through the autumn leaves and take family pictures. One of the best ways to capture the spirit of the fall season is to literally capture it with photos. Gather your family, layer up in your cool weather jackets and head for the autumn time foliage. Matching scarves or plaid shirts create a feeling of comfort and warmth with the beautiful leaves slowly falling all around you. One favorite part is to gather up a huge pile and jump in it! Pets can make a fun addition for photos in the leaves and they won’t disappoint when you start throwing leaves to play! Capture the smiles and memories that you can keep for a lifetime.
  2. Find a local farm to pick apples and check out the pumpkins. Many local farms offer amazing produce this time of year.  Apples of many varieties, figs, tomatoes, squash, raspberries, and more make for delicious food and fun. Supporting local businesses is very important and offering healthy snack options this season is a great idea with all the candy and sweets that no doubt will be around. A great resource for finding a pumpkin patch or orchard near you is www.funtober.com/pumpkinpatches/kentucky/.  Call ahead to the farm to make sure you know what to expect. Take enough produce home to can some for winter or make delicious jams and jellies your whole family will love.  
  3. Try a new Halloween tradition like making your own matching costumes. You would be amazed how many items lying around the home can be used to make creative Halloween costumes. Websites like Pinterest have idea boards that can give you a lot of information. You  can just simply gather the supplies and follow directions. For example, trash bags and newspaper can be used to create clown costumes. Another idea is to take some white crepe paper and wrap yourselves up to be walking mummies!  The best part of making costumes is the fun in being creative and working together. Try painting pumpkins instead of carving them. Take a hayride through the woods. Find a local restaurant with pumpkin soup and try it with friends. There are many fun fall ways to add to the festiveness.
  4. With pumpkins in season you can never go wrong with delicious pumpkin recipes to try at home! Your whole house can smell like heaven when you make scrumptious pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting, just to name a few. Ever tried roasting pumpkin seeds? It’s easier than you may think, and so worth it! Pumpkin spice and pumpkin baked goods bring a sweetness to the season that you won’t soon forget. Make an extra batch and take them to your neighbor! We could all do something to show our friends we are thinking of them. A strong community is the result of individuals who do small and simple things that help those around them. Enjoy the best fall has to offer together.

Before you head out to enjoy these ideas take a moment to talk to everyone about avoiding head lice. Encourage children and adults alike to avoid sharing head gear like hats, costume helmets, jackets or hoodies. Protecting your family against head lice is always a positive move whatever the season.

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The Link Between Selfies And Head Lice

Our kids are in school and constantly around classmates, friends and other kids. It’s prime time for head lice outbreaks and we are crossing our fingers that your little one doesn’t come home itching their head. Head lice spread through direct contact and in this day and age, direct contact often happens through a favorite pastime of many children: taking selfies.

Study of Selfies

For a recent study, scientists studied over 200 kids and found that those owning smartphones or tablets were more than twice as likely to have head lice than those without devices. Digging deeper led them to discover that children were spreading lice when taking selfies. Kids get close together, touching heads, giving lice the perfect opportunity to crawl from head to head.

The uprise in selfie-taking has also led older children to get lice because it is spreading more rapidly from person to person. This may be a result of younger children taking selfies with older children, causing it to spread from elementary school to middle school, to even high school. It takes one person to have head lice and bump heads with someone and then a domino effect occurs.

Super Lice

Lice continue to spread rapidly and most infestations comprise of super lice, meaning they are resistant to over-the-counter treatments and difficult to kill. Lice treatments you find at the store are ineffective at best and harmful at worst because of their harmful pesticides.

Our Treatment

Our high quality, non-toxic AirAllé treatment is the optimal solution to head lice treatment. It’s revolutionary, medically proven and doesn’t use harmful chemicals or pesticides. We have other treatments as well, all save and environmentally-friendly.

If your child gets lice after taking a selfie with friends, be sure to pick a lice treatment that is not only effective but safe to expose them to.

 

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Quick Head Lice Facts

If you have young children, then you may deal with head lice in the near or distant future. Many parents deal with it but few are prepared for it. As lice experts, it’s our goal to educate as many parents about head lice as possible to debunk myths and illuminate the stigma of having lice. Just like kids get the common cold from their peers, kids also get head lice from their peers. It goes from child to child and lice certainly don’t discriminate. This means they don’t care if your hair is clean or dirty, straight or curly, blonde or brunette. They just need hair to live in and blood to suck on. People of all ages can contract head lice but it is most common among children because it spreads through direct contact and children often touch heads while playing, napping or hugging. Here are some quick facts about head lice to jump start your head lice knowledge.

  • Head lice are parasitic insects that go way back to ancient times.
  • Head lice are one of the top 3 reasons kids miss school.
  • Head lice are common among children. About 6-12 million kids get lice per year.
  • Head lice are not dangerous but they are a contagious nuisance.
  • Head lice have nothing to do with uncleanliness or hygiene.
  • Head lice don’t jump or fly.
  • Head lice can’t live on pets.
  • Head Lice cannot live in your home for more than 24 hours.
  • Head lice need a human host to survive because they feed on human blood several times a day. They will die within 1 to 2 days after being off their host because they no longer have a food source.
  • Head lice are very small — about the size of a sesame seed. They can be tan, brown, or gray in color.
  • Head lice prefer a dark, warm environment and are often discovered behind the ears, under a ponytail and at the nape of the neck. They can also be found on eyebrows and eyelashes (not as common).
  • A female louse can lay up to 10 eggs daily; they prefer to lay their eggs ¼” from the scalp.
  • Head lice eggs or their eggs might be mistaken for dandruff. But they are firmly attached to the hair shaft with a waterproof glue-like substance and won’t brush off.

If you face head lice anytime soon, we offer the best treatment on the market. Give us a call for a head check and lice treatment appointment.

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5 tips For Raising Generous, Self-Sufficient Children

It’s our job to teach our children to be successful and self-sufficient. Here are 5 parenting tips to get you on the right track.

Let Your Children Fail

It’s often hard to let our children fail because it can feel like we are failing as well, but failing is an essential part of growing and learning. The ability to get up after falling is an invaluable skill to learn at a young age. Children who learn this at a young age don’t give up when things get hard. They fight for things and learn how to solve problems on the fly. It sometimes does our children a disservice when we do their school projects for them or hold their hand when it’s unnecessary. Sometimes it’s good for a child to figure it out on their own.

Let them read what they want

No matter what your children’s interest are, encourage them to read. The more children read, the more they excel academically in every subject.

Teach Your Children About Service

Teaching your children to focus on others instead of themselves will help curb entitlement and selfishness. We recommend encouraging daily acts of kindness instead of annual grand gestures such as soup kitchens on Christmas or visiting an Old Folks Home on Thanksgiving. It is more influential to encourage service every single day. Encourage them to rake the neighbor’s leaves or throw away their peers’ trash at lunch. Only good can come from serving others.

Try To Avoid Paying Your Children To Do Chores

If we pay our children to clean their room then they will grow up with the impression that they are entitled to awards for everything they do. We want our children to learn to do chores without expecting anything in return.

Stick To A Bedtime

A study published in 2013 in the journal Pediatrics found that seven-year-olds who had irregular bedtimes had more behavioral problems than did those with consistent bedtimes. Children need structure and consistency and one way to teach them that is through following a bedtime schedule.

One of the best things you can do as a parent is to make decisions based on a long-term perspective instead of what is convenient at the moment. It’s our job to help our children grow up to be independent, generous and self-sufficient.

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Back To School Head Lice Information

Most kids are back in school and sad that summer is now just a memory. Back to school season is also the season associated with something else: avoiding head lice! Or as we call it, lice education season. The more your kids are around other kids, the higher the chance of them getting head lice. You’ve probably heard a thing to two about lice before but if you haven’t had to deal with it, all you probably know is that they are contagious and you want nothing to do with them. We hope you don’t ever have to deal with head lice but if you do, it’s important to know what to do including how to treat them effectively and how to handle the situation. It’s also important for parents to know that lice are common, they don’t carry disease and we can effectively treat them with one treatment.

What can you do as a parent to try to avoid head lice or to treat them if your child is affected? We’re here to cover it all, from what head lice are, to how to get rid of them.

What Are Head Lice?

Head lice are tiny little parasitic bugs that live in the hair and feed off the human scalp for blood, which they need to survive. That’s why lice can’t live off the head for more than 24 hours. Head lice are not necessarily dangerous. However, they are a huge nuisance, they are incredibly contagious and you want to get them treated as soon as possible. Live lice lay eggs, called nits and they secrete a glue-like substance that cements them to hair strands, making it very difficult to remove them. When treating head lice, it’s important to remove every single nit or else they will hatch and a new infestation will occur.  An infestation can last years if not properly treated because the eggs will just keep hatching and then the adult lice will lay eggs and so on. A head lice infestation is no reason to panic. Bring your family to our clinic for treatment and you can go on with your normal life. Seek treatment sooner rather than later.

Nothing To Do With Hygiene

Contrary to a belief that goes way back to ancient times, head lice have nothing to do with cleanliness or hygiene. We promise. So, you don’t need to beat yourself up about not bathing your children enough if they get lice.

How Did They Get Lice?

Children get lice through direct head-to-head contact such and touching heads during nap time, hugging, taking selfies or many other ways. They can also get them through sharing combs or brushes with someone who has an infestation. Any child can get lice. Lice don’t discriminate, they just want hair to attach to and blood to suck.

The Symptoms?

The most obvious symptom of head lice is an itchy scalp. Children who have lice also have a difficult time sleeping at night and may feel a moving sensation in the head. They might be irritable without a known reason and they may have red sores on the head or on the back of the neck.

How To Treat Them

In this day and age, lice have become super resistant to common, over0the-counter lice treatments. Because of this, the media coined the phrase “super lice” to describe lice that have mutated and evolved to withstand many chemicals that are supposed to kill lice. This makes lice treatment difficult and makes our treatment even more valuable. At our clinic, we treat lice with the AirAllé® — a revolutionary medical device that dehydrates lice and their eggs by blowing warm air through the hair. We can get rid of a lice infestation with just one treatment and it is medically proven. When it comes to lice, we are experts. Trust our lice treatment and you will not regret it. Call us today for a head check and possible treatment.

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Head Lice Policies In Fayette County

As a parent, it’s your right to know the policies and procedures at your child’s school, including the head lice policies. The Kentucky Department of Education and the Kentucky School Board Association back up recommendations by the American Pediatric Association and the Center For Disease Control (CDC). Because of this, schools have dropped their “no-nit” policies. Children no longer have to miss school because of lice or nits.

The CDC

“Students diagnosed with live head lice do not need to be sent home early from school; they can go home at the end of the day, be treated, and return to class after appropriate treatment has begun. Nits may persist after treatment, but successful treatment should kill crawling lice.
Head lice can be a nuisance but they have not been shown to spread disease. Personal hygiene or cleanliness in the home or school has nothing to do with getting head lice.
Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) advocate that “no-nit” policies should be discontinued. “No-nit” policies that require a child to be free of nits before they can return to schools should be discontinued for the following reasons:
Many nits are more than ¼ inch from the scalp. Such nits are usually not viable and very unlikely to hatch to become crawling lice, or may, in fact, be empty shells, also known as ‘casings’.
Nits are cemented to hair shafts and are very unlikely to be transferred successfully to other people.
The burden of unnecessary absenteeism to the students, families and communities far outweighs the risks associated with head lice.
Misdiagnosis of nits is very common during nit checks conducted by nonmedical personnel”

However, different districts around Lexington have varying head lice policies, so we encourage parents to have a clear idea of their child’s school policies and procedures.

Lexington-Fayette County Schools

In accordance with the CDC, children with nits may remain in school. However, children with live lice in their hair will be sent home to be treated and return after they have been treated. When children return to school, they will be checked by the school nurse.

Their district policy states:

“School personnel shall actively pursue the prevention and control of head lice in the District’s schools by developing a consistent education, screening and follow-up program for all students. Principals and school personnel trained to identify live lice shall adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. When students are observed/reported to have live head lice any time during the school year:
    a. Playmates closely associated with the student and possibly siblings of the student that attend the same school may be checked for live lice, which are defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as crawling lice. In general, school-wide checks are not necessary.
    b. Parents of each student identified as having live lice will be contacted by a school/District representative advising them of the finding. Parents will be asked to pick up the child for treatment.
  2. Principals or school/District personnel shall offer parents of students identified as having live lice:
    a. Visual evidence of live lice in the student’s hair.
    b. Verbal and/or written information/direction for hair treatment and household procedures.
  3. In most cases, students should not be excluded from school. However, in all instances when personnel identify live lice, they shall confirm with the student and/or parent/guardian that the following have occurred:
    a. The parent/guardian has combed the student’s hair with an actual lice/nit comb or
    applied special lice killing shampoo on the same or next day.
    b. When the student returned to school after treatment, designated school personnel
    rechecked the student before s/he returned to the classroom. If live lice remained, steps 2 and 3 above were re-established.
  4. School personnel shall follow up with students found with a second and subsequent cases of live head lice to assure that:
    a. Prescribed medical treatment for live lice has been applied to the student’s hair no later than the next day.
    b. Any second application required is applied within the recommended time frame.
  5. The Superintendent/designee shall:
    a. Establish education/information programs on head lice control methods for school
    personnel, community members, students and parents.
    b. Provide each school with written materials on head lice control and prevention.”

We hope these policies are helpful to you. As a paren, it’s a good idea to know these policies ahead of time so there are no surpirses when an incident does occur.

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Is Coconut Oil An Effective Head Lice Treatment?

Coconut Oil

Finding head lice in your child’s hair usually consists of panic and frustration. We won’t judge you if there are also a few tears, whether it’s mom or child doing the crying. Once the initial freak-out stage has passed, the next step is figuring out how to treat it. What is the best option? You may have heard of coconut oil as a lice treatment. On its own, it isn’t very effective at all but mixed with anise spray, it outperformed over-the-counter lice treatments, according to a clinical trial by the Medical Entomology Centre. Out of 50 patients, 41% were cured using this combination, while only 23% were cured using permethrin lotion (over-the-counter). So, coconut oil, combined with anise spray is more effective than over-the-counter lice treatments, but still not as effective as our professional lice clinic treatments. Our AirAllé® is successful 99.2% of the time and our most recommended treatment option.

Coconut Oil Vs. Other Home Remedies

Coconut oil alone is about as equally unsuccessful as tea tree oil and mayonnaise. Don’t use them because they will be a waste of time and potentially harm your children with side-effects. However, coconut oil mixed with anise oil has a higher efficacy rate than both mayonnaise and tea tree oil. In addition, it isn’t as harmful as mayonnaise and tea tree oil. In fact, coconut oil contains some nutrients that are actually good for your hair, skin and scalp.

Even so, coconut oil mixed with anise spray is still unsuccessful much of the time. If you’re a particularly lucky person, you may want to take your chances, but most parents wouldn’t want to risk a treatment that only works 41% of the time. Especially when ourAirAllé treatment is effective 99.2% of the time. Our treatment is also one-and-done as well as completely safe. Every day, parents find reasons to choose our treatment over any other. Skip the hassle and the risk, give us a call for a head screening and treatment.

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Tips For Positive Discipline Within The Home- Part 2

As promised in our last post, we’ve got four more steps for discipline in the home, brought to you by Dr. Katharine C Kersey, the author of “The 101s: A Guide to Positive Discipline and Jim Fay, the founder of the organization Love and Logic.

1.Give Attention To Behavior You Like and Ignore Behavior You Dislike

A lot of the time, children act our because they want attention, so it can pay to ignore the actions you don’t want to see more of. Kersey calls this the “Rain on the grass, not on the weeds” principle. Tantrums and whining call for playing deaf or walking away. This will help your child learn that there’s a better way to communicate.

2. Replace Bad Behavior With Positive Behavior

Just saying “no” or “don’t” all the time might be ineffective because kids start to tune those words out. Instead of telling your little ones what not to do, Kersey recommends offering a positive alternative to replace the bad behavior. For instance, if your child is acting up at the grocery store, you could make them help gather things from your grocery list or push the cart. Redirect their attention from the bad behavior to something new.

3. Exploit the “energy drain”

Dealing with tantrums and misbehavior can be quite exhausting. Fay says we can use that exhaustion to our advantage. Fay calls it the “energy drain” principle. For example, you might defuse a sibling fight by saying “wow, you need to take that fight with your brother somewhere else, because listening to that could cause me a big energy drain and I don’t think I’ll have enough energy to take you to get ice cream after dinner.” The reasoning behind this is that your child cares more about getting ice cream after dinner than they do about fighting with their sibling so they will most-likely stop.

4. Don’t Bribe

Bribing is very tempting but Fay says it can send the wrong message and form unhealthy habits and expectations for the child. What kids hear is “You don’t want to be very good and you have to be paid off.” Instead, “the best reward for a kid is time with the parents.” Kersey says parents should spend at least 15 minutes of quality time with their children a day. This should be a one-on-one bonding time.

The best investment you can make in your child is spending quality time with them and listening to them and really knowing them.