The bad news is that, despite all our 21st century technology, humans still get head lice. The good news is that Asheville now has a certified lice-removal service that can rid us of the critters using natural products and the old-fashioned but highly effective method of nit combing.
Just last week, North Asheville resident Anna Warren started a new business, called Asheville Lice (she’s also the founder of Jobbitz.com and Dang Food catering).
Warren was inspired when one of her kids came home with the bugs last year (I went through a similar situation, but I didn’t react with entrepreneurial spirit. I just freaked out). After treating her kid with store bought chemicals, Warren wondered if there might be a better way. She started researching lice treatments and discovered The Shepherd Institute for Lice Solutions in West Palm Beach, Fla. Yes, Warren paid to go to south Florida to study lice removal — so you wouldn’t have to (Is your scalp itching yet? Mine is).
“Lice aren’t easy to see, especially if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for,” she says. She then told me all about lice procreation — which you can Google yourself if you’re so inclined.
“Lice have been preying on mankind forever,” Warren adds. “They found a nit comb in an Egyptian tomb.”
Now that makes me feel better. Warren notes that right now is prime lice time as kids are back in school after the warmer months, in close quarters and knocking heads.
She says that there is lots of misinformation out there about the insects. For example, they don’t jump or fly, but spread through direct contact. That’s why kids are at higher risk than adults. Kids spend time with their heads together looking at art projects and telling secrets and doing school work. That’s how the bugs spread like wildfire through schools and camps.
So what to do if you suspect lice on a loved one’s scalp? First, call Asheville Lice at 777-6540. Warren can come perform a head check for $30 (though it will cost you more if it’s after hours). Warren is in process of setting up an office space as well — with good light — important for successful nit picking.
If she finds live bugs or nits on you or yours, she treats them with an enzyme solution, then spends up to two hours very carefully dividing hair into paper-thin sections and removing all signs of the parasites with a “Terminator” comb. Treatment costs $90 for the first hour and $60 for each subsequent one. There’s a family discount for head checks and two post-treatment recheck visits are complimentary (plus the head check fee counts towards treatment cost).
Warren also will advise you on home cleaning. She says lice don’t survive more than 24 hours off of humans, so you don’t have to clean as frantically or deeply as I did last year to ward off re-infestation. Washing bed sheets and clothing is recommended, as is vacuuming. Warren’s primary recommendation is that you contact everyone your kid has had close contact with to let them know about the lice — that’s the best way to prevent re-infestation.
“People get freaked out about lice, but I want to help kids understand that there’s nothing wrong with them. I want to help parents feel at ease as well,” Warren says. “I want to demystify and degrossify the whole lice thing.”
Good luck with that, sister.
I do wish Asheville Lice had been around last year. I would’ve happily paid for Warren’s help.
Now my scalp’s itching like mad. Perhaps I need a head check.