Head lice removal businesses hatching
The business of treating head lice is booming.
August 20th, 2012
08:33 AM ET

Head lice removal businesses hatching

By Barbara Hall, CNN

(CNN) - The CDC estimates some 6 to 12 million Americans get head lice each year. Most are school age kids. Pediatric Dermatologist Dawn Davis of the Mayo Clinic says head lice don't spread disease:

[:35] "It's an infestation and it's an annoyance and it causes a lot of panic and anxiety, but it's not dangerous."

However head lice are quite contagious. Linda Davis-Alldritt with the National Association of School Nurses says to minimize infestations many schools have adopted strict no lice policies:

[1:02] "Typically the policies now read that the parents will be notified that the child has head lice and that the parents are instructed to utilize an over the counter medication to remove the head lice."

That medication is generally a shampoo containing pesticide and must be used exactly as directed on the label. Mom Kirsten Pannek decided to use a professional head lice removal service when her 6-year-old came home from school with head lice:

[3:14] "It could have cost $500 and we would have done it because you've got to get 'em clean."

Have you had to handle a case of head lice? Would you try to treat it at home, or spend more money for a professional service? Join the conversation and add your comments below.

soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Head LIce Guru

    With my experience treating lice I have developed my own unique techniques to quickly, effectively and safely rid your loved ones of lice-usually with ONE TREATMENT. There is a way out of this without tons of laundry, bagged up rooms and tears! Call me and I will walk you through this. Nothing shocks me anymore so ask away. Having lice is not a sin but keeping it sure is!

    Follow us on twitter @theheadliceguru
    Visit us http://www.headliceguru.com

    August 26, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Caroline

    The safest and most effective way to put an end to a head lice infestation is with a LouseBuster Treatment. Using only heated, regulated air, it kills the lice and thier eggs in just one treatment. No need to comb and clean for days, one treatment, one cleaning and your done!

    August 24, 2012 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
  3. Pharme158

    Hello! ebegbkf interesting ebegbkf site! I'm really like it! Very, very ebegbkf good!

    August 23, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  4. Pharmb768

    Hello! eadeead interesting eadeead site! I'm really like it! Very, very eadeead good!

    August 23, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  5. Pharme614

    Hello! keeadka interesting keeadka site! I'm really like it! Very, very keeadka good!

    August 23, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  6. Karen Greenberg

    Brand new lice removal salon in Austin Texas!
    Lice Happens. MadCaps makes it better! 512-452-LICE

    August 23, 2012 at 3:24 am | Report abuse |
  7. oh mom

    battery operated lice comb. zaps the lice. does't hurt the kid. I think it's called a "robie comb". life saver for our family!

    August 22, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Carla

    I had head lice when I was a kid and remember having to use Nix shampoo and cut my hair. Natural Standard gives anise, coconut, and fenugreek an evidence grade of C, which means there is conflicting clinical evidence. Has anyone on this forum used one of those for lice with any success?

    August 21, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. nitpickyforlice

    The best way to focus on head lice is through prevention. Nit Picky offers professional advice on how to prevent head lice. If more if information is needed please visit http://www.nit-picky.com or call 877-888-2820 .

    Nit Picky Preventative Tips

    1. Screen:

    The first step is to screen your children for live bugs or nits. Live bugs can be difficult to find, the nits are easier to detect.

    How To Screen: Look on the hair shaft close to the scalp for nit/s. They range in colors from white to golden or dark brown and are the size of a strawberry/poppy seed. A nit must be scraped off of the hair shaft to be removed. If it moves easily or flakes away it is not a nit. Screen all family members. If you do not find anything begin prevention. If lice or nits are detected scroll down to step 3.

    2. Prevent:

    Preventative Tips

    •No Sharing Personal Items

    (Brushes, Hats and Pillows)

    •Avoid head to head contact.

    (Even a hug can spread head lice)

    •Keep hair up in a ponytail or braid.

    •Use a lice preventative product.

    (Order Nit Picky Prevent Spray Here)

    •Screen your child for lice or nits.

    (Look on the hair, at the nape of the neck, behind the ears, the crown and the hairline at the front of the face.)

    •Use a lice comb regularly.

    (Regular combing with a lice comb can provide early detection and prevent infestations. If lice or nits (eggs) are found early enough, you may be able to stop the infestation from spreading to other family members.)

    (Order Nit Picky's Professional Lice Comb Here)

    3. Detect:

    Early detection is important. By finding an infestation early you will be able to quickly begin treatment and avoid the spread of lice between family members. If you detect live bugs or the eggs then immediate treatment is needed to stop the lice life cycle.

    4. Treat:

    Parents have options when treatment is needed. They can perform self treatments with over the counter lice shampoos or they can hire a service to take care of the infestation. We find the fastest most effective way to treat head lice is to hire a professional.

    5. Eradicate:

    Once the treatment is completed you will have eradicated the infestation. It is important to continue to prevent a re- infestation by following the prevention tips.

    August 21, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jp2153

    I have had problems with my child's head lice. She has long thick curly hair. We tried the over the counter stuff....didn't work.....went to home remedy......didn't work......used hair straightner with heat and oil...............worked for about a month. Then took the kid to the doctor and got prescription MALATHION ............leave in hair for 8 hours...........wash.........comb out nits..........one week later reapply second bottle..........leave in hair for 8 hours.........wash.........comb nits.......Oh dont forget to do the bedding dah dad.......................little suckers came back because dad didn't treat the bedding! 20 years in the Army never had to worry shave your head ! Doesn't work on a 16 year old daughter with a beautiful head of hair. Just need a dad that is just a little more alert to the obvious reinfestation.

    Maybe the next course of action is to BURN EVERYTHING!

    August 21, 2012 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
  11. Grace

    My daughter had lice which then was passed to me. We went through 90 days of hell. By the forth day I had my head shaved. I was completely upset with her father (separate home) who had her apply it incorrectly twice! So on it went again a third time...not what I had in mind with pesticides. This is part of the reason for the "super lice." I was amazed that I was unable to find a "natural" solution which led me to develop Grace's NitFlix shampoo & conditioning treatment that PREVENTS lice. http://www.awaywithlice.com

    August 21, 2012 at 1:12 am | Report abuse |
  12. surfer

    GreatClips has a product called LadyBugs that has a prevention option and an eradication option. The prevention option is a spray that can be sprayed on kids backpacks, sporting equipment, coats, etc and will last up to 8 hours. The eradication option has 2 treatments and costs less than the shampoos found in drug stores. You can purchase these products at and Great Clips salon nationwide and in Canada.

    August 21, 2012 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
  13. johnny

    All the immigrants bring these freakin bugs over. Bed bugs were non existent for awhile until they came with them.

    August 21, 2012 at 12:27 am | Report abuse |
    • amanda

      that is without a doubt the dumbest comment EVER....jacka**

      August 21, 2012 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Janice

      Are you for real? I got headlice in the early 50's as a child. My mother was so mortified and it was so not talked about that she sent someone else to the drugstore for the medicine. This has been around since the beginning of time. So have bedbugs. People learn to live with a lot of things. We are just getting more exposure to the issues because we as a society are not afraid to talk about them anymore. Sorry you feel immigrants are bringing in everything when you don't want to deal with the reality of it all.

      August 21, 2012 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Educator

      Unfortunately, stupidity such as yours is native to this country.

      August 24, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Richard

    Mark the coincidence with the increase in the Asian immigrant population in the U.S. Same thing happened in Canada aroud 1972 when Uganda kicked out all the Indians and they came to Toronto, Montreal, etc.

    August 21, 2012 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
    • johnny

      Immigrants need to show up at the border with absolutely no belongings and stark naked. They step into the shower and we hose them down with every pesticide known. Then we welcome them into the country.

      August 21, 2012 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
  15. Debsocal

    I soaked my daughter's head in olive oil and put a shower cap on and sealed the edges. Left it on for 3 hours. Then I put vinegar on her head, combed it through and let it soak for an hour. It's all about the nit picking. The vinegar does loosen the nit eggs from the hair shaft. Keep combing that hair until you remove all the nits. The nits can hatch later and start the whole process over again. REMOVE THE NITS. Throw everything in the dryer on high, the heat kills them. Get a roller to roll the car. This is the method I used the 2nd time she got lice–5 years after the first time. You can do this without chemicals and get better results.

    August 21, 2012 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
  16. notesfrommom

    My kids picked these up at school many times and we'd have to do the marathon washing of hair and bedding over and over. We tried EVERY treatment and had more or less success but nothing completely effective. FINALLY I found the only permanent answer, the easiest thing of all. A HAIRDRYER. Turn it on high and blow out the hair closest to the scalp without aiming it at the scalp, which would hurt. Make sure the hair gets very hot and stays that way for 30 seconds. Do that for 3 days in a row and the lice are gone. Much cheaper too, and no pesticides.

    August 21, 2012 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
  17. john

    this is the funniest headline I have seen

    August 20, 2012 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Huey

      This was never a problem until the latinos proliferated.

      August 21, 2012 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
      • Educator

        Stupidity was less of a problem until your parents proliferated.

        August 24, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Jerry t.

    Tea Tree Oil and a good lice comb

    August 20, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Leslie

    We have had a few years with lice on my daughter as she and her friends love to borrow each others clothes and hats. Even RX shampoo by her doctor did not get rid of them. I found that mixing 2 oz of tea tree oil in Extra Strength Desonex dandruff shampoo (it has to be the one that has the acid ingredient in it) and using Coconut scented conditioner (I used Suave brand as it is cheaper) and having her use this every night worked wonders. We also washed her bedding and stuffed animals went into a plastic bag for 30 days. We have not had a repeat episode at our house since last year when I found this home remedy on the internet. You have to follow through and make sure they keep using this every night. And comb the hair!!!

    August 20, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leslie

      Oops, that is Extra strength Denorex Dandruff shampoo. Desonex is something else lol.

      August 20, 2012 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  20. tammi

    My daughter came home with them a couple of years ago she was 12 and had a lot of hair. I tried all the medicated shampoos and it seemed it was working but 3 days or more would go by and it would show back up . I was in a panic because my hair is down to my butt and very thick, the last thing i wanted to do is try a little comb with my hair. After a week or more and she was still having them in her hair, I went to Sallys and bought grease for black hair. I covered her head and hair let it sit over night washed it out or attempted to since its not easy getting it out and that was it.

    August 20, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Sybil

    While I think the lice removal services are a helpful business, I think generally they overcharge based on the fear/anxiety of parents. The first time my children got lice, I paid $100/hour to have someone come to my house to do "professional lice removal" and they essentially doused my kids' heads with olive oil and then painstakingly combed out their hair section-by-section; the person who did the work had no professional training or skills. It was so easy that, in retrospect, I should have watched her do the first child, paid for it, and then done my other child myself and saved $200.

    The second time my kids got lice, I used the Nuvo® Method for Treating Head Lice, found at http://www.nuvoforheadlice.com, which is free and was developed by dermatologist, and it works very well. Indeed, the second time my daughter got lice, I used the over-the-counter shampoo first and she still had live bugs in her hair 2 days later, so I believe that reports of resistance to lice shampoos have validity. Now I swear by Dr. Perlman's method. But thankfully (knock wood), my children haven't had lice for a couple of years.

    August 20, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Andrew

    You should listen to NPR. There is a guy in Utah making head warmers. Apparently lice get their water from the air. 30 minutes in a head warmer desiccates and kills all lice and nits. No resistance, and no toxins

    August 20, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Mom in CT

    We had a case of head lice last year for both my sons, ages 6 and 8. They were horrible and very difficult to get rid of. Pesitcide treatments don't work. Lice are becoming resistant to the over the counter treatments.We tried the pesticides route, but after a few days they just started showing up again. Buy a good steel lice comb, treat once, and then comb, comb, comb! It was the only thing that really worked. We combed their hair with the steel comb three times a day (sometimes four), and we quickly got rid of them after that!

    August 20, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Taryn Kukle

    I would highly recommend a professional service to treat head lice. The Lice People offer a non toxic pesticide free treatment for lice. The majority of our clients have unsuccessfully tried to treat lice on their own. Save time and money (not to mention aggravation) by going directly to the professionals. Be aware of companies that consider themselves professional. The Lice People are one of two Canadian companies that are certified in lice removal.

    August 20, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  25. dotdashx4

    Head crabs.

    School aged children should all just be shaved bald to avoid it altogether. It will help save parents time in the mornings too!

    August 20, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  26. lorraine augustine

    After you use the lice shampoo rinse your hair with vinegar...it makes the eggs slide right out...lits the glue on the egg. They also say sleep with a sprig of rosemary in your pillow. They hate it. Open a clove of garlic and rub it behind your ears and back of your neck. Bugs do not like garlic.

    August 20, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Dawn Mucci

    I think the choice to use a professional service is a personal one based on the level of need. It is like choosing to clean your own house or to hire a cleaning lady. If you pick a service make sure they are reputable and have things like insurance and qualified providers. Not all head lice removal companies are created equally. Do your homework first. There are several great services out there. Lice Squad Canada is a Canada wide franchise that specializes in pesticide free lice removal. Happy to share.

    August 20, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Angela

    Natural Lice Removal Atlanta, GA they have the best technique only one treatment needed.

    August 20, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Angela

    Treat with a Natural Lice Removal, they are available to you.

    August 20, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  30. A.Jax

    Shave their heads.

    August 20, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  31. JS

    While in elementary school, my daughter was constantly catching lice. After speaking with her pediatrician, they have evolved into "superlice" and are resistant to the over the medications such as RID. Baby oil or olive oil work the best to kill and remove lice, and are much cheaper and safer for your child. Plus the oil makes it easier to comb through while removing the nits.
    Quick tip to avoid catching lice, rub a small amount of lavender oil into your child's scalp before school. Lice prefer clean hair, no matter that it is thought to be a dirty person problem.
    And I don't care what anyone says, I have seen them jump, as had the school secretary.

    August 20, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hamsta

      Just like used motor oil works for the mange on a dog, automatic transmission fluid works for lice on humans. Mix 2 ounces of transmission fluid with 6 ounces hair conditioner and 4 ounces of water. after treating hair put a shower cap on and go to sleep. Treat again once a week for four weeks and I gaurantee no lice will be found In your child's hair. Make sure to wash hair twice in the morning. Transmission fluid is also good for your hair. Regular treatment will help with split ends.

      August 20, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Lisa

    Licenders in New york city sells head lice combs, shampoos, and prevention sprays. They have salons in Connecticut and Long Island that remove head lice

    August 20, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Brian Williams

    Peppermint extract + store brand shampoo... They don't like it. Also seems to weaken the nits on the hair. That and a liberally applied hair dryer (the heat kills, too), and then you don't have to put insecticides on your childrens' heads. Additionally, as they ARE sneaky, bedding, clothes, pillows, etc. can all take a long hot trip through the dryer (although on new dryers, you have to do manual settings).

    August 20, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Dan

    When I had children in school it seemed about every year they came home with head lice. We would go through the treatment with the store remedy and that would do the trick. Just don't forget to wash bed sheets and clothes that were recently worn, in hot water to get Rid of the ones left behind or you will be doing it all over again. They are simple but "sneeky".

    August 20, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Jim

    To minimize infestations many schools have adopted strict no lice policies: If business is booming then this policy has failed...

    August 20, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • LiceRead?

      @Jim, I didn't realize lice obeyed rules like that. We should pass a no lice law and get those suckers out of the country.

      August 20, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Rachel Roach

    Before you go to bed put Olive Oil in your hair, put on a shower cap and wash out in the morning. Works every time and is much cheaper than the alternatives that you can buy in the store. My roomate is a 2nd grade teacher and we had to learn this lesson the hard way last year!

    August 20, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  37. Jacquelyn Born

    When you think lice think Simple! Simple Head Lice Solutions!

    August 20, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |