// MUMS IN THE KNOW

The Hairforce comes to Wilmslow, Cheshire

27th January 2013

The Hairforce have come to Cheshire! Founded in Primrose Hill, The Hairforce offer a revolutionary way to de-louse all those suffering with head lice- and Cheshire’s first is down the road in Wilmslow. Their Lousebuster treatment is being featured on  ITVs This Morning on Thursday 31st January.. which is also National Bugbusting Day!

We hear more from them about the little critters which can be every parents nightmare, some great tips on DIY nit treatment & info on their removal master classes.

Head lice. Nits. The mere mention of these words sends parents into a fit of panic, followed by much scratching of the head. It is unclear whether the head scratching is merely the result of an involuntary reaction, or a case of total bewilderment on how to solve the issue which  plagues every playground – but what is clear is that this is an issue which we need to take very seriously, otherwise it will  get the better of us.

Head lice do not care what kind of head they inhabit – long hair, short hair (they only need 1.5 cms of hair to lay their eggs), straight hair, curly hair. They are not a sign of poor personal hygiene; nor is there any socio-economic or ethnic division. A nice warm scalp is all they seek, with easy access to a new head whenever the fancy takes them. They are in fact genetically programmed to move from head to head.

It is estimated that head lice are crawling about on the scalps of a third of all four- to 11-year-olds.   53% of people who suffer don’t even itch until the infestation has taken a much greater hold, meaning it is essential you know what to look for. Catch the problem early and it’s easier to solve. Ignore the problem and not only will it not go away, it will become much worse and much harder to deal with.

Some people believe that head lice are harmless, beyond the irritation of the itching they cause. This just isn’t the case. Over the years lice infestations have even made an impact on the English language. I’m sure you’ve heard of the saying ‘feeling lousy’ This saying originates from persistent head lice sufferers often reporting having flu like symptoms, caused by bites in the head being left untreated. Also, the unfortunate and thankfully now somewhat unfashionable term ‘nit-wit’ was used to describe children who suffered from a lack of concentration due to long term head lice infestations.

So what can I tell you about the head louse?  It crawls between the heads of cosy, snuggling families; it nips from parting to parting of primary schoolchildren, and increasingly onto the heads of tactile teenagers and adults. They travel at up to 23cm per minute on its six claw-like legs. It cannot jump, fly or swim. They survive by sucking blood directly from the scalp. It can live outside of the head for up to 48 hours, but cannot live in pillows bedding, car seats etc., beyond this time. But as anyone dealing with an infestation will tell you, it is notoriously difficult to control.

While chemists’ shelves groan with head lice treatments, none has been shown to be 100 per cent effective. And even if you manage to kill off the live lice, unless to tackle the nits (the eggs), then pretty soon you’re going to be back where you started. And so the vicious cycle begins….

The only proven way to shut down an infestation at home is by systematic wet-combing, using a specialist lice comb.

To do this efficiently, wet hair should be combed thoroughly to ensure no knots, then smothered in conditioner (leave in is better as its less hassle, also it doesn’t have to be expensive conditioner the cheap stuff will work just as well for this purpose) then section-comb with a fine, long-toothed comb.  Long hair should be bunched into six sections, each tackled individually by running the comb from root to tip, checking the comb after each stroke. DO NOT remove the nit comb until you have combed right through to the ends of the hair, otherwise you run the risk of simply dragging the eggs further down the hair. After EACH stroke wipe the comb with tissue, and then start again.

For average length hair a single combing session will probably take about 30-45 minutes. This process needs to be repeated daily for three days, and the process repeated the following week if you have an infestation. Then repeat one week later is to break the life cycle of the louse.

There is a lot of confusion around the life cycle. A female adult louse needs to mate only once, after which she can lay between three and 10 eggs per day for up to 30 days. The eggs are laid close to the scalp and are often invisible to the human eye. They take seven to 11 days to hatch. Baby lice take 12 days to develop their sex organs and begin to reproduce again. This is why any treatment always needs to be repeated 7 days later.

So what can you do to keep on top of the issue?

  • Invest in a good quality head lice comb and know how to use it in the right way – the metal ones tend to be the best. At the Hairforce we use the LiceMeister combs, which are available to buy from The Hairforce and Little BigHeads, and you can buy the Nitty Gritty comb from most chemists.
  • Stock up on leave in conditioner to use whilst combing.
  • Check your child’s hair every week whether they are itching or not, and the moment you find an adult louse start wet-combing before a new infestation takes hold.
  • Ensure long hair is tied back at school and other social events.
  • Make sure your children know not to share brushes combs and hats with their friends.
  • If your child has sleepovers encourage top and tailing as opposed to sleeping at the same end of the bed – we regularly trace back infestations to sleepovers so you need to be vigilant without spoiling their fun!

Itching to know more?

Sharon will be offering free demonstrations on how to comb effectively at a “Nit Combing Masterclass”, based at the Hairforce Lounge in Wilmslow, on dates throughout February and March. If you are interested in attending one of these classes, or would like more information on The Hairforce – Lice Assassins professional head lice clearing services, please contact her at littlebigheads@thehairforce.co.uk or see the website www.thehairforce.co.uk/contact/wilmslow/

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