According to Wendy Beck, owner of LiceDoctors, who is a pioneer in the field of lice treatment with 18 years’ experience, every year with the end of camp and the beginning of school, there are significant outbreaks of head lice. "This year we are seeing a significant increase in the incidence of head lice among school age children in Nashville as well as in surrounding areas ", reports Ms. Beck.
Ms. Beck attributes the increase in large part to a growing resistance to the chemical treatments. "Often parents think that their children are lice and nit-free after treatment with pesticides, but if nits are left in the hair and there is no effective follow-up plan then the case will start up again. In addition, various strains of lice are so hearty that they are immune to chemical treatments..”
Compounding the problem is the fact that nits often camouflage in the hair, rendering them very difficult for the untrained eye to detect. According to one Nashville parent, "I have tried to get rid of lice in my daughter's hair but I just can't seem to see them all. Plus there are just so many cases in her class now. The parents are frustrated."
Nits are translucent shells that are glued to the hair shaft; they contain a small brown bug called a nymph. These nits are particularly difficult to find in dark hair. Pulling the nit from the hair and placing it on a white background allows the viewer to see if the object is a nit or simply a piece of dandruff.
In addition, based on recommendations from the American Pediatric Association, many schools have begun to move away from “no nit” policies. The rationale is that by the time head lice are discovered in a child’s hair, they have likely been there several weeks giving the lice ample time to spread to other children. Since children are missing so much school, and are not in fact sick, the suggestion is that it is better for these students to remain in school. In addition, it is important to distinguish between lice and nits; the lice are contagious, while nits (eggs) are not. However, because some students have nits and are not effectively treating them, the nits hatch and then the bugs will eventually be transmitted to other children, thereby perpetuating the problem.
The best way to identify nits is to bring the child to a bright spot, either by a window, outside, or where there is a bright lamp. The light reflects against the translucent shell which makes it easier to find them. According to Ms. Beck, "The most important thing to remember if your child has lice is that to truly eradicate a case, every nit must be removed. Once all of the nits are gone, then the child is completely lice-free."
To contact LiceDoctors in Nashville, call 615-953-0047 or find them on the web at www.licedoctors@