Something to Scratch Your Head About

Here we go again…First time mom sends her kid to sleepaway camp. First time mom gets a call.

(friend): “Hey Amy, Did you make an appointment at Lice Be Gone?

(me): “Um, excuse me, what?”

(friend): “Are you taking Zach, as soon as he gets off the bus, to the Lice Lady?”

(me): (I am LAUGHING) “Are you serious?”

(friend): “Of course, I am serious. Don’t you want his head checked before he comes into your house?”

OK STOP! Stop right there. Can we discuss this? I may be a first time mom who sent her kid to sleepaway camp but an appointment to get his head checked immediately off the bus? I can understand wanting to get my kids hair CUT once he gets off the bus (because g-d knows how long it has been since he had a haircut) but LICE!

First of all, ew. Second of all, is this the norm? I had to know. I called the Lice Lady at Lice Be Gone. Well, I will start by telling you she was super nice. Her name was Linda Strand (how ironic) and I wound up talking to her for 30 minutes! This is the juice:

The weekend my son gets home she will be seeing over…READY…200 children! 200 CHILDREN!

O M G. I started to panic. I asked her how far in advance did some of these parents make their appointment. Don’t fall over….

1 YEAR IN ADVANCE! She said not all the parents but she has many parents book a year out. HAVE YOU EVER? I mean again, FIRST TIME MOM HERE. Do I book an appointment?

Linda, the lice lady, informed me how rampant lice is and once it enters your house it can spread like wildfire. I am going to recap what she told me, not to gross you out but to give you the low down. She really knows her stuff!  If you are already skeeved out with this topic, you can click out of this little article. If you want the goods, here we go. Deep Breath…

1)”Head lice have six legs equipped with claws to grasp the hair”

2)”Head lice are crawling insects. They can’t hop, jump, or fly” (PHEW)

3)”Head lice do not thrive on pets” (good to know!)

4)”Head lice are small, wingless insects which feed on human blood. They need human blood in order to survive” (EW!)

5)”Head lice live for approximately 30 days on a host and a female louse may lay up to 100 eggs” (I know, I know… gross!)

6) “Head lice are usually spread from head-to-head contact, not from sharing brushes, hats or bedding (although that is also possible).”

Those are the facts.

Here is a quick little video to learn what goes on if you decide to take your child once he/she gets off the bus. I know the narrator sounds like a lady we heard from a video we had to watch in 5th grade science but for a virtual walk into the lice center, here is a quick peek:


Not sure why “the larger bugs are kept in a baggie like trophies.”Maybe it is a prize to find such big bugs. I definitely would not want to be the prize winner at Lice Be Gone! Also “the keep it a secret thing” that your kid has lice, I can empathize. I mean tough call here. Obviously you want to tell your friends to warn them and give them a heads up in case your kids were playing together, right? It is also a little embarrassing though to tell your friends your kid has lice. I definitely think I would tell my friends as I would want their kids to get checked. But,like I said, I understand wanting to get rid of it, keep it quiet and move on. I see both sides.

So back to what to do. I called Zach’s camp to find out what the deal was with the lice checks. According to the nurse, all of the kids heads get checked once a week for lice. I called my friend back and let her know that I would check Zach’s head myself when he got off the bus. He has very short hair and I knew I wouldn’t miss it. If I had a girl, well, that would be a different story, I would probably spend the money for the consult. However, IF I saw lice in Zach’s head then I would be off to Lice Be Gone, no doubt. I do love the fact that if he had it he can” immediately return to school with clean, dry, nit and lice free hair” after the treatment.

Linda said that most over the counter products do not work. Products kill adult lice, but not eggs or babies. The only way to remove it is the long, hard, manual way by separating the hair into quadrants and checking strand by strand. Lice Be Gone charges by the length of the hair (not the time it takes to rid the head of lice). Short hair is $150, medium length (above the shoulders) is $225 and long hair (past the shoulders) is $250. Truthfully I think it is worth it. The thought of trying to rid my son’s hair of lice and finding out a week or month later it still is not gone would save me a ton of stress and anxiety.

Anyway  – what is the consensus? Are you having your kids hair checked once he/she gets off the bus??

Every town has a lice center. I have heard some very clever names such as ” Lice Lifters”, “Lice Busters”,”Hair Police”, and “Nitless Noggins”.

If you live local, Linda is the best game in town!!!

Lice Be Gone, 553 Millburn Ave , Short Hills, NJ 07078. 973-467-5423



Share Your Thoughts

  1. Our camp does the lice check ingoing and outgoing so we don’t have to deal with it. I’ve never heard of the Lice Lady…but nothing shocks me…I’ve learned a lot these past four years!

    July 30, 2013 • 9:05 am •
  2. Oh, honey…welcome to 2013. These critters didn’t exist when we were kids! The first piece of writing I ever sold, for Child Magazine, was called Lice Aren’t Nice–happened when someone at my daughter’s nursery school caught it, and we all had to go get checked–which was an incredibly creepy Brooklyn experience. And forget the $250. Where I live, it’s one hundred dollars an hour!

    As for boys…I have a friend whose two boys caught lice when they were visiting family. All the grandparents did was take them to get their heads shaved. Literally, shaved. Didn’t even do their laundry. And that was it, they were fine after that!

    July 30, 2013 • 9:19 am •
  3. litljen

    i check my girls’ heads myself. one daughter had lice and my friends gave me the “nit picker” secret that the professionals use so i just did that instead of spending all of the money. it’s a lot of work but way cheaper! i wouldn’t spend the money just to have them checked though! the secret to preventing lice is to put some tea tree oil drops into their shampoo and conditioner. lice stay away from it b/c of the ingredients so i buy bottles of that and pour it into their shower stuff! we also use the fairytales kids repel shield during the year to spray on them before they leave for school. since we’ve used these things, we haven’t had lice (and my daughter had it twice from her old school!). and now i’m itchy after reading and talking about it…thanks! LOL 😉

    July 30, 2013 • 9:23 am •
  4. Jenny

    My daughter got lice last year during school yr (and we were dedicated users if fairy tale products) and I was traumatized! I think school policy on lice sux! They leave kids in school as its not a communicable disease.
    I washed sheets and vacuumed everyday for 2 weeks!
    We treated and did combing almost everyday.
    Either thick white conditioner like Pantene and comb with nit picker or even olive oil sitting on heads for hours , yes the house smelt like salad dressing 🙂
    I don’t look forward to doing the whole process of checking when she gets home but it happens and now I’m better educated to deal with it, it’s just a pain in a*s!!
    I now swear by a product called Xpel Lice shampoo. Smells awful but if it keeps them away we can deal!
    Also a spearmint spray by fairy lice mothers.
    Fairy tales lost all credibility in my book!

    July 30, 2013 • 10:08 am •
  5. jamie

    as a former camp mother at a sleepaway camp, (when my boys were 3 and 6, now 38 and 41!)…i was asked to comb thru all campers heads! i was not happy about this at all, but did it, actually only in the bunks where there were issues with lice. used a product called qwell (sp?)… did not smell so nice, but with a fine tooth comb …did the trick. both of my sons, at some point in time got lice in elementary school. i was an old hand at the de-licing already! no shame in getting lice, but i did think that they could jump head to head.
    can’t believe there is a LICE LADY! lol. scratching my head as i write! great posting!

    July 30, 2013 • 11:44 am •
  6. pamb

    We’ve had lice… twice! I lived in Nor Cal at the time, and a suburb 1/2 hr. away had a Lice Salon (they sold t shirts with the name of the salon on it. Why would you want people to know that you had had lice?) They charged by the hour, which made sense for me, as my daughter and I both had hair above our shoulders.

    Yes, I got lice twice as well! Both kids and I had it, my husband did not. The ladies at the salon told me that moms, siblings and babysitters usually get it, but dads don’t. Hmmm, I wonder why ? 😉

    The salon took my medical credit card, which was a big help, as we all needed two rounds both times. Ever since, I’ve been known to attack my daughter’s hair at the sign of a white flake (she also has dry scalp) and use tea tree shampoo every once in a while.

    July 30, 2013 • 12:23 pm •
  7. Nope, I have never done this in the six years my son has gone to camp. The camp does checks the day they arrive, in between and at the end of camp. If anyone in the bunk gets lice over the summer, letters are sent home to all parents with kids in that bunk. So, I’m pretty confident with their procedures and don’t feel the need for lice police!

    August 1, 2013 • 11:55 pm •