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Family Hair Clinic Offers Lice Treatment

The Valdosta Family Times
August 9th, 2015

HAHIRA — Head lice are something every school system has to watch out for every year, but Melody Carter, Lowndes County School System nursing director, has noticed a worrisome trend. “The issues we’ve had in the past few years is the head lice are becoming resistant to permethrins,” said Carter. Permethrins are insecticides use to kill lice.“Even though I’d have a parent who did everything they were supposed to do, their child would still come in with lice,” said Carter. In March, Carter had to refer a student with a severe case of head lice to a Jacksonville, Fla., clinic. The student’s father took the student to Jacksonville’s clinic. Carter was shocked when the student was lice free the next day. “That was the cleanest head of hair,” said Carter. “I thought, they were there six, seven, eight hours. The father said they were there for an hour and a half. I was on the phone that afternoon.” That’s how Carter discovered Airallé, an Food and Drug Administration-approved machine used to treat lice.

AirAllé machines, invented by a biologist from the University of Utah, deliver bursts of dry controlled, heated, dehumidified air to the scalp. The air is delivered through a hose that has a combing attachment. For each new client, a new combing attachment is used. The 45-minute process is done in 30-second intervals while following a specific pattern. The process kills lice and 99.2 percent of nits — the eggs that lice lay, Carter said. Following the AirAllé treatment, Carter uses the more traditional comb-out method to comb out dead nits and lice. The combing out takes 15 minutes to an hour depending on the length of hair. While she still works with Lowndes County Schools, Carter’s business is a separate thing. “This is totally separate from the school system. It will benefit all of the school systems in our community and hopefully increase attendance,” she said. A case of lice can keep a student out of school for days at a time.

“All of the schools — not just ours but the ones in the surrounding counties — deal with head lice practically on a daily basis,” said Carter. The Centers for Disease Control estimates 6 million to 12 million lice infestations occur each year in the United States among children aged 3 to 11. Carter also wants to dispel the myths surrounding head lice. “Head-lice cases that come from the student’s environment is only 2 percent,” said Carter. “The predominant way to catch head lice is head to head.” Carter advises parents to not let their children borrow brushes, combs, hats, jackets or hoods from other students. “You can ask them not to be head to head, but that’s hard with a school-age child,” said Carter. While mostly in primary- and elementary-aged kids, Carter has seen an increase in cases with middle and high school students as well as adults. Cases she attributes to the standard, head-to-head selfie pose.

While Family Hair Clinic doesn’t have set hours, it makes appointments seven days a week. “We don’t do any in the middle of the night, but we do appointments from early to late, seven days a week,” said Carter. “Head lice is an emergency. If you find out your child has head lice on Saturday, you want to see about that immediately.” Carter also wants to work with families on Family Hair Clinic’s pricing. “I tried to keep it reasonable. I’ve got different price points for every budget, from $25 to $145. We’ve got different price points,” she said.

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