“Your child has head lice.” Not the happiest news from the school nurse. But just because school’s out doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods — especially with camp season kicking in. And, anyone who’s gone through it can attest, the task of getting rid of lice (on your children’s heads and in your home) can be nothing short of monumental.
Head lice is actually more common than you think. The owners of Naughty Nits, a new local business whose sole focus is combating head lice, said that one in four kdis in the U.S. get it. But it’s not just children who end up scratching their heads. “Lice crawl, they don’t fly or jump. While the 2-to 12-year-old crowd is most affected, older teens who babysit, along with parents and other adults, often are too. We also treat tons of grandparents” said Marnie Murray, mother of four and co-owner of Naughty Nits with business partner Lisa Saul.
And contrary to popular belief, lice isn’t linked to poor hygiene.
“The stigma of head lice isn’t the same in Europe,” noted Saul, who was a registered nurse is Sheffield, England before she relocated here 10 years ago. “But in the U.S., there is a lot of inaccurate information about the cause. Lice are often mistakenly associated with being dirty, but that is totally untrue.”
Murray and Saul began their nit-picking business in 2010 out of their homes, and recently opened a treatment center featuring four private rooms on Wehrle Drive in Williamsville.
“Because parents are concerned about the emotional toll the experience takes, we’ve worked hard to make the center a happy, kid-friendly place with DVDs, lemonades and treats,” said Murray. The combing process is relaxing and painless, she added.
“We also continue to make house calls, traveling all over the area from Lewiston to Batavia and everywhere in between,” said Murray, who has a master’s degree in biology from Yale.
When one child in the family brings home lice, it can be disruptive to the entire family. Because children can miss up to three weeks of school with head lice, there can be significant economic impact on their parents.