Lice is one of a parent’s worst nightmares once their kids enter school. The inevitability of a household with school-age children dealing with lice is pretty high. Enter the Lice Clinics of America, which I didn’t even know was a thing until learning they opened a location in Greenville. It’s like a franchise restaurant, except for lice prevention and treatment, and happens to be the largest network of urgent care lice treatment clinics in the country.
So instead of Googling about lice prevention and what to do when a child comes home with lice, I figured I’d go right to the experts and ask all my lice-related questions. Heather Purtle is the clinic owner of the Lice Clinics of America location in Greenville and she graciously answered my questions.
What you need to know about lice
KIDDING AROUND GREENVILLE: How common is head lice in elementary, middle, high school and college? What are the chances that parents will have to deal with lice?
HEATHER PURTLE: It’s estimated there are 6 to 12 million new cases of head lice diagnosed in children ages 3 to 11 each year in the United States. To put that number in perspective, 1 in 20 children have lice at all times. And approximately 40% of people will get head lice; a few decades ago only 4% of the population got head lice. This dramatic increase is due to the evolution of Super Lice, which are lice that are resistant to traditional treatments. Just like antibiotic resistance, lice have evolved and they now can survive traditional, over-the-counter, pesticide treatments.
Head lice cases have not been tracked as closely in older children, teenagers and adults so there aren’t accurate statistics at this time. But unpublished studies show a dramatic increase in cases in teenagers and adults, as well as children. This is related to the prevalence of Super Lice and also could be related to technology. People regularly gather in close proximity around video games, computer screens, and take selfies with heads pressed together. It is likely that once there is a head lice infestation in the house, a parent, caregiver or other sibling also will become infested and moms especially are vulnerable.
KAG: Lice are one of parenting’s worst nightmares. How does Lice Clinics of America help parents deal with this?
HP: Lice Clinics of America offers a professional, head screening as the first step in the process. (And very good news- many more clients are negative than positive!) To give you an accurate diagnosis, we carefully head screen clients, putting all samples under our high- powered microscopes. If we find anything, you will see it and we can advise you on your best treatment options.
If someone in your family is positive, Lice Clinics of America recommends the entire family should be screened, as lice quickly spread in families or other group living situations, like college dorms or retirement homes. If someone is positive, Lice Clinics of America offer in- clinic treatments that take about an hour to be lice- free or DIY, take home options to use over a 10-day period. Both options are highly effective, non-toxic and pesticide- free. In contrast, traditional, over-the-counter treatments are only 25% effective and typically contain pesticides that have been linked to some scary side-effects.
Lice Clinics of America is the largest lice network in the world, with approximately 300 locations. It is a company dedicated to using science to solve lice. If you ever Google “head lice,” you most likely will be overwhelmed by the- often contradictory- advice. Lice Clinics of America- Greenville will give you the best, current practices and save you a lot of unnecessary worry and work.
How does Lice Clinics of America work?
KAG: Can you tell me a little bit about what Lice Clinics of America does?
HP: Sure! Lice Clinics of America is best known for our quick, effective cure for eliminating Super Lice and their eggs through a 3-step process involving an FDA-cleared medical device, comb-out and topical rinse.
Step 1: There isn’t a shampoo, oil or spray on the market that effectively treats nits (lice eggs). But a scientist at the University of Utah discovered if you remove the water in the eggs, it kills them. He invented our exclusive, FDA-cleared medical device, the AirAllé. It is the only FDA-cleared, medical device in the upstate for treating lice and eggs. This heated- air treatment takes 20-30 minutes and has been clinically proven to kill the living lice and 99.2% of their eggs (nits). It is the only treatment that effectively kills nits.
Step 2: The purpose of the AirAllé device is to kill the lice and eggs through dehydration, but dead lice and eggs will remain in the hair after treatment. Our technicians will do a post-treatment comb-out with a professional lice comb (which usually takes about 30 minutes) to remove the dead lice and eggs.
Step 3: The technician will apply a post-treatment topical rinse to ensure the eradication of the lice. Using this procedure, we guarantee you will leave our clinic lice-free.
KAG: If a parent is notified of a child that has lice in their child’s class, should they bring their child to a Lice Clinic of America location to get checked? What precautions should they take when they get that email?
HP: If you’re concerned, call Lice Clinics of America for a head screening appointment. Lice Clinics of America can spot lice a lot earlier using our microscopes than you can with the naked eye. But it’s still important for parents to perform frequent head checks on children, especially if you’ve been notified that a child’s classmate has lice. If you are unsure how to check your child’s head, call Lice Clinics of America for a head screening appointment and we’ll screen your child, while teaching you how to repeat the process in the future.
The most important thing to keep in mind when preventing head lice is to avoid head-to-head contact with others. It’s estimated more than 98% of infestations occur from direct head to head contact: hugs, horseplay, sports and selfies are perfect opportunities for transfers. It is extremely rare to get lice from secondary objects such as hats, brushes, helmets, etc. But as a precaution, we recommend that these objects not be shared.
KAG: How fast can Lice Clinics of America see a child? Can the child be treated immediately if they have head lice and can parents get everything they need to combat lice at the clinic – like they don’t need to run around to different stores to find what they need?
HP: Lice Clinics of America operates by appointment. In order to be checked and treated for lice, all you have to do is book an appointment and come into our professional lice removal clinic. In as little as one hour, with no pain or toxic chemicals involved, you or your child will leave lice-free, guaranteed. Everything you need is located at our clinic; you do not need to go to different stores to purchase products.
Other information you should know
KAG: Why did Lice Clinics of America choose Greenville as the next city to open in?
HP: Lice Clinics of America locations are individually owned and operated. Many owners have had some experience with lice, which led them to look for better solutions. I’m the same. Last year, my elementary-aged children gave me lice. I, neurotically, stayed up all night searching for solutions and scrubbing my house. During my research, I realized that the best treatment in the world (AirAlle′) was not available in the Upstate. To my children’s great horror, I bought the rights and opened a clinic to serve the Upstate. My employees and I have been overwhelmed by how rewarding it is to help families and individuals during this short-term, life crisis!
KAG: How much does it cost for an appointment at Lice Clinics of America and do you take insurance?
HP: The prices for the various treatment options include:
Screening and consultation — $20 (This fee is waived if you choose an AirAlle′ treatment.)
Signature AirAllé® treatment— $199
Express AirAllé® treatment— $159
Comb-out treatment— $95/hour
Do-it-yourself lice removal kit—$29.99 and up
Lice Clinics of America’s in-clinic services often are covered by insurance, so we offer you forms you can submit to your insurance for possible reimbursement. We also accept HSA. Additional information on specific pricing for the Greenville clinic can be found here.
Lice Clinics of America
1 Creekview Court, Suite C, Greenville
Thanks, Kristina! We loved your great questions! -Heather at Lice Clinics Greenville