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Lice Prevention Tips, Advice, and Measures As Schools Reopen in NY

Published on October 22, 2020

Lice Prevention Tips, Advice, and Measures As Schools Reopen in NY

The sudden and unpredicted onset of the coronavirus has shaken us all. From threatening the economy and risking business closures to taking lives, the virus has reshaped the very fabric of our existence in a matter of months.

After settling into the new normal and making lifestyle adjustments to curb the spread of the vicious disease, things are finally looking up. With lockdowns and stay-at-home orders being uplifted all across the USA, we’re all getting back to business as usual.

The same is true for New York State. Once the epicenter of the worst coronavirus outbreak just a few months ago, New York State is now one of the few safe places to reopen schools.

a blackboard that has ‘back to school’ written on it with chalk

Public health experts have commented that conditions look favorable across the state to bring back children to schools as long as safety precautions are put into place. While many parents are worried and have expressed concerns about the decision, everyone is gearing up to embrace the new way of life with the dawn of a new school year.

With masks and social distancing becoming the new normal, students must ensure they adhere to all the guidelines put forth by the CDC to ensure their safety and the safety of their loved ones.

But as we start this new chapter of our lives, we mustn’t forget that the pandemic lives on and we’re still bound to its constraints. As students take precautions to stay protected against the coronavirus, they must also be wary of another threat in their midst—the threat of a lice infestation.

Of course, there’s no comparison between the coronavirus and a lice infestation—after all, the former is a deadly, life-threatening disease. But we can’t deny the prevalence of lice infestations. Parents may not have battling lice infestations at the top of their list, but it should come close to bagging the second spot.

Research shows that around 12 million children under the age of six contract head lice yearly. Just the idea of creepy crawlers living on our scalp makes us shudder. As such, much like how we’re taking precautions to keep the coronavirus at bay, we should take the necessary steps to keep our children lice-free.

 a boy in a mask ready to get back to school

Here are a few prevention tips and guidelines to ensure that you don’t fall prey to these pesky creatures.

Know Your Enemy

Make no mistake; lice infestations are much harder to get rid of than you think.

These creepy crawly creatures suck the blood out of your scalp and keep you up all night, itching on your head. And while it’s true that infestations only last for about 3 to 4 weeks without treatment, many of us can’t bear this nuisance for so long, and as such, must take action immediately to eliminate it once and for all.

But before you march into battle, you should know your enemy. You can no longer opt for the traditional over-the-counter (OTC) lice treatments and shampoos to get rid of head lice in a single wash.

Times have changed, and we’ve entered the era of the seemingly undefeated super lice. But don’t worry, all isn’t lost just yet. With the right information and tools, we can help you get battle-ready and emerge victorious against your enemy—the super lice.

Let’s delve into how the super lice came about and what preventative measures you can take to preserve your children’s sanity as they head back to school.

What You Need To Know About the Super Lice

Traditional head lice are tiny insects that live on our scalp. These parasites attach themselves to our hair and require the blood and the warm temperature of the human scalp to survive and thrive. They’re transmitted from one host to another if a person comes into contact with another who has a live infestation.

Once they’ve taken root, the female louse starts reproducing. The life cycle of head lice has three stages—egg (nit), nymph, and adult. A female louse lays six eggs in a day, single-handedly birthing an army of lice in just a matter of a few days.

Apart from the usual annoyance that comes with scratching your scalp, lice infestations didn’t bother hosts as much because, for decades, people have used OTC treatments to eliminate head lice. These traditional treatments contain a range of chemical ingredients, such as permethrin, to eradicate these tiny critters.

And who cared if these treatments ruin the hair!? If it’s a choice between scratching our scalp until it’s sore and having brittle hair, many will eagerly choose the latter.

But here’s a thing of the nightmares: OTC head lice treatments no longer work. In fact, it’s our very own reliance on them that has led to the creation of super lice. It’s evolution’s foremost rule that a species will fight tooth and nail to live, and that’s precisely what head lice do. Permethrin may have been a formidable enemy for them, but not anymore.

According to a study conducted in 2016, 48 states have super lice. This genetically mutated strain is resistant to the active ingredients in the conventional lice treatments, and using conventional shampoos and treatments that contain pyrethrin and permethrin, isn’t the desired course of action any longer.

a girl experiencing itchiness on her scalp after contracting head lice

How Did The Super Lice Come About?

Super lice are a pervasive parasite, and it wouldn’t be false to say that they’re a result of our own actions.

The tale of the super lice started all the way back in WW2, where countless soldiers fighting in Europe and Asia would cover themselves in insecticides to halt head lice transmission. It wasn’t long before pyrethroids entered the scene as an active ingredient in the effective treatment and elimination of head lice in soldiers.

Pyrethroid-based treatments were once effective because they disrupted the head lice’s nervous system by affecting their cell’s sodium-ion regulation. As a result, there’d be a high sodium-ion influx into their cells, which paralyzed and killed them.

Unfortunately, the overuse of these chemicals for so many years helped lice form a resistance mutation. The genetic mutation desensitized a louse’s anatomy to the function of pyrethroids, permethrin, and pyrethrin.

But that wasn’t all it did. Besides allowing the lice to develop resistance, the mutation also made any other potential ingredient that could’ve killed head lice the same way ineffective—rendering all head lice treatments in drugstores today useless.

How Do You Know You’ve Contracted Super Lice?

Super lice symptoms include:

  • Lice and nits found on clothes
  • Excessive itchiness on the ears and neck
  • Red bumps along the neck, scalp, and shoulder
  • Irritability
  • A ticklish feeling on the head as lice move between your hair
  • A break in the skin of your scalp due to excessive itching. This can further lead to bacterial infections.

Many believe that an itch on the scalp signals the beginning of the infestation, but it isn’t as simple as that. All scalps react to head lice differently, and while itching is a sure sign of an infestation, most people only experience it when the infestation is well underway.

This is one of the primary reasons why killing an infestation in its early days is tricky because most people with head lice may not even know that they have them.

How Do They Transmit?

Super lice aren’t too different from the traditional head lice. There’s no visible difference between the two and nor can the former fly or swim. The only difference is that super lice have a resistance gene that allows them to bypass the effects of conventional OTC head lice treatments.

Super lice also spread from direct contact with someone that has a live infestation. They crawl from one scalp to another, just like typical head lice.

Additionally, super lice are also transmitted through inanimate objects or furniture that may have lice crawling on them. Although lice need human blood and their scalps’ warm temperature to survive, they’re able to live for a couple of hours, or even days, after slipping from your hair. This gives them abundant time to look for another host for an infestation.

Sharing things like hair accessories, pillowcases, toys, hairbrushes, hats, and scarves can also make you vulnerable to a super lice infestation.

a student experiencing symptoms of head lice

How Can You Stay Safe From Lice As Schools Reopen?

Head lice have scoured the planet for as long as we can remember.

These tiny critters do nothing but loiter on our scalp, reproduce, and suck our blood. But human beings have never shied away from a challenge, and 2020 has made us more resilient than ever. We can keep super lice infestations away by taking preventative measures.

Although a lice infestation is nowhere near as dangerous as the coronavirus, the latter is definitely an inconvenience that all of us want to avoid

Let’s have a look at a few ways parents can protect their children against lice as they go back to school.

Persistent Scratching

An itchy scalp indicates the presence of head lice. When the lice take root on your scalp and suck blood, their saliva comes in contact with your skin, which causes the itching.

While it’s true that itching indicates that an infestation well underway, all isn’t lost if you take the right course of action to treat the scalp immediately.

You should also know that not every scalp reacts to head lice in the same way. If your child complains of a tingling sensation on their head instead of an itch, it could mean they have head lice.

Bumps on the Scalp

Some children experience mild irritation that can develop into a rash or a bacterial infestation due to a head lice infestation.

If you notice swollen lymph nodes or tender skin around your kid’s scalp, you should immediately check for lice and consult a doctor to ensure that the bacterial infection doesn’t worsen.

Keep an Eye Out For Nits

In addition to frequently checking your children’s scalp and behavior for common signs of head lice, you should look for nits or lice eggs regularly.

Nits appear as tiny yellow or white specks that look like dandruff. They’re commonly found near the hair shaft and aren’t easy to get rid of. Nits are located close to the scalp because they require the scalp’s warmth to hatch and survive.

It’s best to inspect your child’s scalp every other day after they come back from school because you’re likely to spot nits in the hair before you catch a live, crawling louse. If you’ve identified a nit, you can halt the infestation before it even begins.

Avoid Head-to-Head Contact

Since the pandemic isn’t over yet, we’re all still trying to stay indoors as much as possible. This means that we interact more with the people who live with us, which ultimately increases physical contact between everyone living under the same roof.

But you must be wary because increased head-to-head contact can make you vulnerable to a lice infestation. Whether you’re playing with your children or resting with your partner, try to minimize head-to-head contact so that even if one of you has lice, the infestation doesn’t spread to other people in the house.

As your children go back to school, you should be more vigilant than ever. Despite the precautions they’ve been instructed to take for protection against the virus, your children will likely want to hug their friends or sit close to them. This can lead to head-to-head contact, which is all that the super lice need to do their deed.

You must instruct your children to maintain a safe distance from everyone to reduce the chances of contracting head lice and the coronavirus.

two schoolchildren in masks

Keep Your Belongings Separate

Studies show that schools are a louse’s breeding ground. With so many children sitting and playing together, it’s easier for these parasites to crawl from one scalp to another.

You must instruct your children not to share their lockers and personal belongings with anyone, especially if they have head-touching belongings like brushes, combs, hats, towels, helmets, and scarves.

Taking Charge—How Should You Treat A Lice Infestation?

Even our best efforts can fall short sometimes. Regardless of how many preventative measures you take, they can be futile if life has other plans for you.

If you’ve done everything by the book but still found evidence of head lice in your midst, we can help you fight the infestation.

If OTC treatments were your first choice of treatment to kill these pesky creatures, you’re virtually defenseless because these treatments are inconsequential in lice removal. You may go online to find a few home remedies, but slathering mayonnaise or vinegar all over your scalp won’t do anything other than leaving a repugnant smell in your hair that will take days to go away.

The only sure-fire way to get rid of head lice is through natural hair lice removal, and here are some ways you can halt the infestation so that it doesn’t plague any more members of your household.

1. Shampoo Your Hair

To remove nits and lice, start with a shampoo that wets your hair and makes it easy to untangle it. Don’t go looking for an OTC lice treatment shampoo as it will do you no good. Find an organic, toxin-free shampoo that’s devoid of any toxins to protect your hair. You can easily remove nits that are hard to extract from the hair follicles with the shampoo.

Made from natural, organic, and nourishing ingredients, the Lice Troopers’ lice treatment shampoo works actively to preserve the moisture in your scalp without harming the hair’s texture, leaving it dry, or irritating sensitive scalps. The shampoo is perfect for both adults and children.

 A non-toxic and hypoallergenic lice removal shampoo that hydrates and nourishes hair

2. Use a Fine Lice Extraction Comb for Wet Combing

Wet combing is 95 percent effective in eliminating head lice, but it can be challenging to identify super lice and differentiate between nits and dandruff. This is where a fine-toothed comb comes in. The comb lets you part your hair into sections to help you thoroughly extract lice from each one.

If you’re looking for a fine-toothed and reusable, Lice Troopers’ lice extraction comb has a durable and sturdy design that makes it the ideal tool to regularly check for lice at home.

You may think that the entire ordeal is very time-consuming, but just know that the results will be worth it.

Don’t forget to wet-comb under a bright light source so you can identify and extract all lice and nits. Remember to place a towel on the shoulders so that if any lice that fall from your hair try to scurry away, they don’t get a chance to run off to wreak havoc.

A durable fine-toothed, lice extraction comb to fight super lice

3. Make Your Home Lice-Free

Head lice often land on furniture and inanimate objects if they fall off the hair strands on the scalp. As such, you must clean your surroundings after cleaning your scalp to minimize the risk of a re-infestation.

To ensure your home is lice-free, start by submerging your personal belongings, head accessories, and clothes in warm water, to kill the lice. You should also change your bedspreads, pillowcases, and bedsheets.

If you want to clean non-washable items, secure them in air-tight plastic bags and storing them in the freezer to suffocate lice lingering on them. Finally, use Lice Troopers’ cleaner to wash your rugs, carpets, and curtains.

A cleaner to remove lice and nits from carpets and furniture

4. Go for Expert Lice Removal Services

Getting rid of these creepy-crawlers is a time-consuming and tedious task, without a doubt, so if you think you’re not up for it, get in touch with professional lice inspection and cleaning services. The truth is, missing even a single nit can render the entire ordeal futile because you will be back to square one.

As such, it’s best to call the professionals so you can skip the hassle and stress of it all.

Leading Lice Treatment Services in Lawrence, NYC

Lice Troopers offers top-of-the-line lice removal services in Lawrence, NY, to keep you safe and lice-free as your children go back to school.

Our lice salon in Lawrence, NY, has state-of-the-art tools and equipment to help you get rid of lice effectively without any harmful or toxic products.

We also offer a range of other lice removal services in Lawrence, NY, to eliminate the nuisance of head lice once and for all. We can visit your home for inspection, screening, and cleaning to minimize the risk of re-infestation. Our lice specialists come to your house in an unmarked van so you can maintain your confidentiality.

We also offer at-home lice removal services to bring convenience to those families who want to become lice-free without leaving their homes during the pandemic. We make it a point to strictly adhere to all the guidelines and safety protocols suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to keep you safe.

We also offer extended hours on the weekend and same-day appointments upon your request. Give us a call to schedule an appointment with us right away!

You can place an order for your lice removal kit here.

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