That dreaded notice that you get from daycare or school. Or maybe it’s just a notice hanging on the outside of the door. Or it could even just be word of mouth from another mom that you hear. Someone in your child’s class has lice. You panic and immediately check your own kid’s head and YEP…there they are. HEAD LICE.
Believe it or not, head lice is actually a common thing of childhood (and even into teenage years now, as the head-together-selfie is the perfect way for these pesky bugs to move from one head to another). But it’s not actually something to go into a panic about.
Raquel Garcia, who is the owner of Strand by Strand salon in Brookside, knows all about the stress and panic that having head lice can bring to a family. It was actually one of the reasons the practicing community health nurse set out to open up their own head lice removal salon. In fact, she and her siblings had at least 20 individual cases of lice bet
ween all of them growing up; her 10-year-old daughter has had it twice, so she has experience from the perspective of a child and as a parent. With this experience, paired with her career as an RN, she set out to open a salon geared toward helping families take the stress out of lice! Their goal is to educate families on head lice and make it not a life disruption by being available 24/7.
Education about lice, proper treatment for a reasonable price and an understanding and rational person to calm us crazy parents down is exactly what everyone needs. Trust me. I know this first hand, as my oldest son came home with lice the Monday of Thanksgiving week and my husband and I threw every pillow outside of our house, vacuumed every surface and ran our washer and dryer for three days straight.
Unfortunately, our experience with the lice removal salon was not the experience that Raquel and her team strive for. After talking with her about her salon (which it took her over a YEAR to find a store front because of the negative stigma that comes with lice removal), I am confident that our experience with Raquel and her team at Strand by Strand would have been much more affordable and enjoyable. Their main goal is to get rid of the head lice, teach you prevention steps all in a minimal stress environment. When walking in their salon, you can find a parent sitting in the lounge watching a movie, utilizing the free Wi-Fi or the child enjoying a personal TV or handheld device. Education and relaxation are key!
A few important things that I learned from Raquel that I think every parent should know about lice:
- Head lice ONLY affect humans – you won’t (and can’t) catch them from your family pets!
- Head lice cannot fly or jump – there must be direct head to head contact (so remember that when someone tells you “you need to watch out because lice can jump from one backpack to another one” – they cannot)
- Head lice do NOT discriminate – they like clean and dirty heads, people that eat meat and vegans. Just because your kid got lice doesn’t mean they are “dirty” – anyone can get them. They are equal opportunity infesters.
- Head lice can only stay alive by feeding on a human scalp – once they are removed from their food source, they won’t live more than 48 hours because they have no food.
- If a head lice was eating off someone that is B+ blood type and is transferred to someone that is A- blood type – THEY WILL EXPLODE because of the conflicting blood types. (Crazy, huh?)
- NOT everyone itches when they have lice – those that itch are allergic to the saliva of the lice (gross but true!)
- Head lice can easily be mistaken for dandruff, but head lice are firmly attached to the hair shaft with a waterproof and glue-like substance
I have learned SO much just since November about head lice and my reaction when the Great Clips lady found my son’s head lice (poor lady! We had NO idea – but for the record, there was no hair cut, and we were immediately sent home!) would have been very different had I been more educated and informed about how to handle the situation.
Having someone like Raquel to call on a Monday night is the FIRST thing I would add to my “wish I would have done” list. Talking to someone who has the experience and knowledge about these pesky things would have not only put me at ease knowing that the situation is easily treatable.
Here is a quick three step process recommended if you do find lice on one of your family members:
- Do not panic – make sure to wash the clothes, coats, bedding and towels that have been in contact with the head lice, but don’t feel the need to deep clean your house. Raquel said there has never been head lice found in a vacuum from the floor (remember they cannot live without human blood!).
- Call the expert – Call 1-833-4NO-LICE (466-5423) and someone will answer the phone 24 hours a day to walk you through your personal situation and set up an appointment time to come in.
- Learn and stay aware – This is KEY. Taking the time to learn from Raquel and her team about lice, how they live, how they spread, etc. and staying aware of how and when head lice spread can help your own family and others. Awareness and education will help to eliminate the negative stigma that is associated with head lice for so many!
Finally, in my discussion with Raquel, I was so struck by her passion for helping others with head lice treatment and education. That passion expands far beyond this business that she has started; she works with area schools to perform head lice checks (as many school nurses and teachers aren’t trained to identify it) and is also partnering with Big Brothers and Big Sisters and the United Way to give back to the community.
Her expertise, guaranteed head lice removal services at Strand by Strand and kind and calm demeanor will be exactly what you need if your family is struck with head lice.