The Lice Whisperer

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No. Really.  From the Washington Post:

“The Hair Whisperer is a nice name for an unappetizing – but booming – business. Ms. Goldreyer, who lives in Brentwood, Calif., is a lice-removal expert. Parents hire her (and now her staff of a dozen) to make house calls, meticulously check through children’s hair and, if lice are found, treat them with nontoxic products.”

There are additional companies called the Texas Lice Squad and the Hair Fairies.  The Lice Squad charges $230 per treatment, BTW.

You also can find ads for additional lice whisperers at Craig’s list. Apparently lice are a recession-proof, growth industry.  And, for those who have the cash, it’s much simpler to have someone else do the work for you!

Interestingly, a new paper came out this week that evaluates the effectiveness of screening for lice:

“Visual inspection underestimated the true prevalence of active infestation by a factor of 3.5,” the authors write. Wet combing had a significantly higher sensitivity for detecting active infestations, correctly identifying them in 90.5 percent of the children (vs. 28.6 percent for visual inspections).”

Here’s the actual peer-reviewed paper: Accuracy of Diagnosis of Pediculosis Capitis: Visual Inspection vs Wet Combing.  Claudia Jahnke, et al.   Arch Dermatol. 2009;145(3):309-313.

It was a nicely done partly blind study with 5 elementary schools.  It also suggests that the “salon” approach to lice combing may be on the right track!

One thing does trouble me, though–not a single one of the 3 websites I’ve listed here has a kid of color on the site.  Do they know how to deal with “special” hair? Or is that just a reflection of a model that means that only rich (white) kids get the best treatment?

7 thoughts on “The Lice Whisperer

  1. I think it’s the rich white kids thing. People assume that children of color don’t get lice, but I live in the Caribbean where most of us ARE people of color, and the children here do get lice. It’s not limited at all. I think we are just not in the demographic.

  2. This harkens back (as does the use of the word “harken”) to the days of the professional nit picker – a lady, usually elderly, who plied her trade of picking nits from the hair of those thought to be carrying lice. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

  3. I removed 2 comments that were promoting a commercial site and a commercial louse removal product. (And, also, were very poorly spelled.)

    If you want to comment on alternative lice treatments, please do so with substantive information and evidence, and review the comment policy posted here.

    Otherwise, I will continue to be “petty” and “a hater”.

  4. julie

    ok but there is a way to eliminate head lice in about 1 hour with no nit picking. Unfortunately it’s the only one product that accomplishes this and exceeds the CDC center for disease Control standards in killing head lice.. can you find it>?<

  5. Julie–once again you have left a link to your website and provided no evidence, here or on your website (headlicehero or licesafe)of what is involved in the treatment.

    You have the words “clinical study” on the website, but there is no clinical study citation. There is a product conspicuously mentioned, but no info on its ingredients.

    The Licesafe website tried to run a hostile javascript, which fortunately my firewall blocked.

    In fact, the only substantive information I can find about your product was a press release here–which suggests you are putting a >400degree heating element near kids heads?

    Again, no actual data, just conspicuous placement of the CDC name all over to imply an endorsement. Which they didn’t give.

  6. julie

    Dear Bug Girl,

    Thank you for insightful comments. I will make arrangements to disclose more information on the website in regards to ingredient(S) listing and clinical study data.

    just bear in mind that due to the patent pending status of our design(S) not all information can be made available at this time.

    Not sure why script went wacko can you advise on what page or link so I can modify it. I am sure you understand how challenging it can be, being : a mom, wife, small business owner, inventor, and web person all in one….. that is why i sincerely mean thank you for the insight. i will be back to you soon. /Juile/

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