Back to School: Battling head lice

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Your children have their school supplies, homeroom number, and lunch bag - but there's a chance, they could be going to school with an unwanted visitor.

September is one of the worst months for head lice.

Jill Bazos, founder of Lice Out 911, is certified in lice removal and is educating families on the pesky parasite from inside her Bedford location. “First thing we do is we have a conversation with mom and child. The child is part of that conversation because it will involve them taking care of their hair, being careful with their social behavior, not to put their heads on their friends heads.”

Bazos says lice don't discriminate. “They'll latch onto anyone, and they quickly crawl from one head of hair to the next...they only need your scalp to survive. It's got to get to a food source and it's got to get to 98.6 degrees. It's going to get there, it's been here since the beginning of man, it's going to get to your head.”
Like it did to Kailyn Otero. “She goes to camp so when she came back that's when I started noticing the scratching,” says mom Doris Otero. That's when mom Doris also noticed lice in her hair. “I was very embarrassed, it feels like you're neglecting your child almost.”

Bazos is treating more families now, after children return home from summer camp or sleepovers.

Dr. Rachel Menaged, of Northwell Health, reminds parents as kids head back to school, treating for lice is the only way to get rid of them. “Lice are a nuisance that can keep coming back if you don't fully treat them and treating the live lice is not terribly difficult. It's getting rid of the eggs or nits that can be time consuming and it involves careful combing.”

That's exactly what Bazos does, combing through each strand of hair, to remove the mom louse and her eggs. “You're finding eggs and you're like where is she and we can say, OK this kids got 20 eggs in her head, she's been here for two days because we know she lays 10 eggs a day, where is she.”
Doris Otero says the removal isn’t as bad as she thought it would be. “I'm nervous, the child's nervous and she makes everything so calm, she has television, laptops for kids and coloring.”

A spa-like experience, dispelling any myths. “It's nice to tell the other moms and say, hey it's not that bad, it shouldn't be anything to hide anymore,” says Otero

By now we know how common lice is, so really moms shouldn't feel ashamed or embarrassed if they have it or if their children have it. “They feel terrible because it's a lack of control and they can't get rid of it and it's so stigmatized over the years that you're dirty or come from low income and it's just nature. There's nothing to be ashamed of. Literally everybody gets it,” says Bazos.

And with the right removal, everyone can be lice free. Bezos recommends that to protect yourself and kids from lice that you should tie long hair in a ponytail or braid, do not share brushes, and check your child's scalp regularly.



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