Metropolitan Madness

Based on a True Story, and This Time No Embellishment

Not everything that happens in the major Metropolitan areas where Lice Happens™ works is funny. This is unfortunate, considering our predilection for light, good humor. Some of what we encounter out there is a little strange, if not downright disturbing. For example: we recently got a call from a distraught parent of a private school student in the Metropolitan Washington area. The school had discovered a case of head lice and called in a local removal service. The service arrived, screened the students and teachers, recommended that dozens of students and faculty be sent home, then proceeded to sprinkle baking soda like fairy dust throughout the school.

Great tactic for removing pet accident odor, but 100% useless in breaking the cycle of head lice.

The worst part is that the “service” served no one by getting the administration so upset about the outbreak that they closed the school and postponed the school play scheduled for that evening. The disruption was unnecessary as was the emotional toll. The aforementioned parent called Lice Happens to ask for a re-screening, as they were uncomfortable with the initial experience, and because the treatment for head lice offered by the school’s service came with a three-hour minimum, cash only.

(It’s exceptionally rare for us to see individual cases that take three hours to resolve.  The average time to clear a head is about an hour and a half.)

The vacuuming was a good idea, but generally speaking, most schools have that part of it under control, as they already use professional cleaning services. The disturbing part is that there are “professional” head lice removal services that employ people without any background or real expertise in head lice treatment, but are good at housecleaning and marketing, and collecting cash. Since head lice removal services need not be licensed, anyone can start head lice treatment services and charge high rates for what amounts to housecleaning, which is the least important part of breaking the cycle of head lice, according to a study reported by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Because lice that are no longer on a human head are basically doomed, they say, “Herculean cleaning measures are not beneficial.”* The most important part is removing all lice, nymphs, and nits from the head of the infested person(s), and doing it thoroughly.

*See the full article here: http://www.pediatrics.org/cgi/content/full/110/3/638