Death to head lice
Dee’s come up with the most unusual way to tackle nits. But does it work?
Our first big piece of PR!!
‘Everybody has one thing they’re good at. My talent is head lice. It’s not as glamorous as ballroom dancing but not everyone has the patience, meticulousness, or determination to do what I do.
I have other skills too. Before my children Mia, 11 and Ines, nine, were born, my advertising job involved advising companies on how to make ideas work. But I swapped business lunches for nappies, and as the kids started school – regular bouts of head lice. I always avoided chemical products, preferring the more natural method of, well, nit-picking. The girls grumbled how boring it was. But it simply needed to be done.
Other mums were embarrassed when I discussed it, admitted they just didn’t have the time, or the knack, to do it right. Then, 18 months ago, I had my brainwave – I’d start my own company blitzing head lice. I’d do the hard work, saving other parents the long hours of getting rid of the bugs. And I’d make it funky. A hair-brained scheme – quite literally, but I knew it could work. My husband Ziyad, 49, encouraged me to go for it. I read up, scoured the internet, rang experts, I chose fabulous massage chairs, spotlights, and a special lice-sucking vacuum attachment. I ordered lush organic conditioners, imported special combs. I even bought hand-held computers and games. I wanted kids to feel it was pampering, not torture.
I found trendy work belts to hold all the ‘tools’ and magnifying visors. I trained assistants. Then we visited schools to test our methods – and my business, The Hairforce, was born.
Parents bring their children to my house for three 90-minute sessions, four days apart, so we eliminate crawlers as they hatch and before they’re mature enough to lay eggs.
It’s a meticulous process of ‘vacuuming,’ fine combing and using specialist tweezers to remove every last louse and egg.
At £30 each session, we’re not cheap. But I think we’re good. Remember all of those miserable, unsuccessful hours trying to clear your kids’ hair… that fortune spent on ‘miracle’ shampoos that haven’t worked?
My mission is to treat whole classes in schools. We’re not going to beat head lice by suffering alone in silence. And many parents simply don’t have the time to tackle them.
No more whispers or shame. I’m on a crusade and if I was a head louse, I’d be afraid, very afraid – this time, it’s war.
Dee Wright, 47, Primrose Hill, NW London
LICE BLITZING CHECK LIST
You need plenty of time to get rid of nits. Don’t try to fit it in just before dinner, bed or homework.
Your child should be relaxed and if you don’t want them wriggling about or moaning, give them a book or hand-held game.
Be methodical. Partition wet, conditioned hair and work through it section by section with a special fine-toothed comb. Doing it will-nilly will mean you miss bits.
Make sure you have a good light source.
Checking for lice or removing lice and eggs can be a long, boring process. Do it with friends. You could even do each other’s kids – youngsters often hate their mums nit-picking but let other adults do it.
HEAD LICE: THE FACTS
Head lice are parasitic, wingless insects. They hold onto the hair with claws and live close to the scalp, feeding on blood from the head.
They can’t fly or jump and are passed from one head to another only when they come into contact with each other. School children are prone as they spend a lot of time in close proximity.
Your head may feel itchy if you have head lice but this is not always the case, so it’s sensible to check regularly using a special comb.
Nearly half of all four-11 year olds get lice each year. Up to 15 per cent of children have them at any one time. The nit and lice problem in this country is classed as an epidemic, with £30 million a year spent on treatments.
Lotions and shampoos are available without prescription, but many don’t consider these to be a reliable method of removing unattached lice. There have been reports of lice becoming resistant to traditional chemical products.
Wet combing is highly recommended – either with products or on its own. Alone, it can be effective. It must, however be done thoroughly, which is very time-consuming. And combing must be repeated regularly, at four-day intervals, to break the life cycle of the louse so that it’s removed before it grows enough to reproduce.