Lice head start the school year - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Lice head start the school year

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Lice. Just say the word and it makes your head itch. And to make matters worse lice today are harder than ever to get rid of.

There is a Potomac woman who has built her business on the bugs.

The problem is so prolific there's an awareness campaign on lice. September is head lice prevention month. Kids miss school because of lice. Last year a school actually closed for several days because so many kids were infested.

It's just horrible to think about, but it is so very common.

Lauren Salzberg calls herself the Potomac lice lady. She is literally a professional nitpicker. She's working on her latest infestation. Liz Reed and her daughter Sydney went to Lauren with a pretty bad case of lice.

Reed says they tried everything to battle the bugs. “We tried Rid and Nix. Using combs they supply.”

And that's the problem with lice these days. The toxic pesticides that once worked no longer do.

The Centers for Disease Control says 60 percent of the bugs are now considered super lice because they've developed immunities to common treatments. They're even resistant to the strongest insecticides like malathion.

And researchers say they can't be suffocated through using home remedies like olive oil, petroleum jelly and even mayonnaise.

“Lice are pretty remarkable creatures. They can hold their breath for more than 10 hours. Anyone can get lice. Six to 12 million kids get lice a year. It's more common than the common cold,” says Salzberg.

Salzberg worked as a preschool teacher for years and has three kids of her own. She says she just fell into this work. After building up a mobile business she got so busy, so she brought in a partner and now works out of her Potomac home. Unfortunately for those affected, business is booming.

“Everybody wants a quick fix. That can't happen with lice. It's a process,” says Salzberg.

She says the only way to get rid of the blood sucking bugs is to use the right comb. A professional grade lice comb like one created by the National Pediculosis Society. Salzberg says it works when you comb in multiple directions with diligent follow ups.

“You don't want to see bugs crawling on your child's head and not be able to help them,” says Reed.

But it's that time of year. The kids are back in school. Lice are making their rounds.

The Potomac lice lady says it's important to note lice do not jump or fly. They crawl.

“They live in your head, not your home,” says Salzberg.

So if you are affected, wash bedding and towels, get a new hair brush, vacuum your house and the car, and clean the backpacks.

But there’s no need to hire a professional cleaning service. Head lice can't survive more than 48 hours after they fall off your head. And no need to panic, the Potomac lice lady says it is not a sign of bad hygiene.

“There are so many worse things. They're just a nuisance. It doesn't mean your house is dirty or you’re dirty. Lice don't discriminate. They go to everybody,” says Salzberg.

And that keeps the Potomac lice lady firmly planted in the critter killing business.

There are things you can do to prevent lice. Send kids to school with their hair back in a ponytail. Tell your kids not to share hats, scarves or hairbrushes. Spray detangler on their hair to make it a little greasy. The bugs don't like that.

For more information on the Potomac lice lady go to PotomacLiceLady.com


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