By Deb Medina
If you are a parent with kids in school, you have probably gotten a letter in the backpack indicating “a reported case of lice in your child’s class.” As you start to panic a little while checking your child’s head, you might wonder if you really even know what you’re looking for.
If you’re just looking for bugs crawling around, that is not always the case! Yes, you may see actual lice crawling around if the eggs or “nits” have hatched. However, if the louse has laid eggs and moved on, you may just see a small white speck on the hair strand which you could easily mistake as a fuzz or dry scalp. The difference is when you try to flick it away, it hangs on to the hair shaft for dear life.
I never knew to look for nits. The first time this happened was last fall after we got the dreaded letter. I took my daughter to the doctor for something unrelated. I asked her to check her head, even though I told her I already did and didn’t find a thing. That’s when the doctor said, “See these little white specks? Those are nits.”
I immediately went to the store and bought the typical lice treatment remedy. I spent $100 on a nasty chemical, then spent the next 2 hours with a crying 6-year-old sitting in front of me while I used a comb that continuously pulled at her long hair, and with each pull she screamed at me. She cried, I cried, and both of us were nearing a nervous breakdown. By the end, we were both physically and mentally exhausted. We vacuumed, bagged things and washed everything in hot water as instructed per the box. I never wanted to go through that again.
Months later, I was in my car and heard an advertisement for the Miracles on Lice Treatment Center in Ballston Lake. After looking on their website, I really wish I knew about this place sooner so I wouldn’t have put my daughter through that ordeal.
But even though school is out for the summer, lice don’t take a vacation. I picked my daughter up from camp one day, and later while brushing her hair, I found nits!
This time I immediately called Miracles on Lice. They were very nice and accommodating, and I was given an appointment for the next morning. I hoped that they would say she was clear because their treatment is expensive, but if they could indeed perform a “miracle,” it would be worth every penny.
The first thing they do is a head check which runs $25. So if you get the dreaded letter from school and you aren’t sure whether your child may have lice, the $25 is worth it. If they do have it, everyone in the family is given a head check at no charge, and then they will give you the options to treat it. The treatment process is extremely time-consuming and done in more than one stage while you’re there. They don’t fool around – they wear headlamps and are certified in the “Shepherd Method,” which is strand-by-strand nit and lice removal, which is supposed to be the most effective method.
Unfortunately my daughter did have nits, so we spent the next 3 hours at their office (they checked me and thankfully I was clear). They had movies and other things to occupy my daughter, who went from being scared before we arrived to actually not wanting to leave! When her treatment was done, they gave her a braid of her choice and me a letter clearing her to go back to camp the next day.
Miracles on Lice is run by a local family of licensed hair stylists who saw the need to help families. The mom worked in a salon for children and when they had to turn away lice-infected kids, she realized they needed help, so they started this business.
While the cost is high, I was willing to pay more to let the experts treat it and treat it right. Did you know you can get lice from going to the movies? Many other heads touch that seat before you sit down in it, so the risk is there. I would have never known that without visiting Miracles on Lice!
I also learned that to help prevent lice:
- Stop using sweet-smelling hair products. Most kids’ products smell fruity and sweet. Rosemary and mint aromas can actually repel lice. Miracles on Lice has their own brand which contains a special mix of scents that lice hate most (I bought a set of their shampoo and conditioner – I’m not playing around either).
- Always have long hair in braids or buns when around others (especially at school).
- Do not let kids share hats, combs and brushes, hair bands, and other items. If kids’ coats are hung next to each other, lice can walk right on over. Miracles on Lice also has a repellent spray that lasts 8 hours – spray on coats, backpacks, etc.
I hope sharing my story will help any families that might be dealing with lice, whether it’s just to get a head check or a full treatment.