An FDA-cleared device can quash lice in a single sitting — and it’s available in CT
April 12, 2022
Apr. 12—ORANGE — Head lice are among the oldest human parasites, but a modern technique to get rid of the fast-breeding bugs is available right here in town at Lice Clinics of America, with Connecticut locations also in West Hartford and Bethel.
Treatments with a special shampoo containing chemicals — sometimes requiring several applications — used to be the only option for getting rid of lice. Depending on hair length, it could take hours to comb nits or lice eggs out of the hair, said Stephanie Knecht, director of operations for Lice Clinics of America’s Connecticut clinics and one in New York.
Knecht said they can now get rid of lice in a single sitting with “FDA- cleared medical device” called AirAlle that uses heated air to dehydrate eggs and lice, then they comb out the hair to remove debris.
Knecht said head lice are “becoming more and more resistant to most conventional lice-treatment products” and as a result, these “super lice” are becoming more difficult to kill, “increasing frustration and anxiety among parents.”
“Our technicians are kind and our clinics are clean,” Knecht said. “We offer snacks and entertainment to the children in our chairs.”
She said the device was invented by scientists at University of Utah. Lice Clinics of America is a franchise with more than 200 centers around the nation.
Knecht said there are more than 12 million cases of head lice reported in the United States every year and getting rid of them can be tricky.
“People say, ‘My daughter gets lice twice a month, but really they never got rid of it,” Knecht said. “It’s an affliction of mainly school-aged children. They spread it around by getting close, doing selfies, on the cheer squad…”
Lice spread easier among children through contact because they have fewer boundaries than adults, Knecht said.
There is a social stigma connected with lice and “people are embarrassed” because they’re afraid others will think they are dirty, Knecht said. In fact, it’s the opposite, she said — lice prefer clean heads.
Knecht said those with lice typically give it to 70 percent of the household and itching only occurs in 33 percent of the cases, the result not of lice movement, but rather an allergic reaction to the saliva the lice leave behind.
“Sometimes you don’t realize you have it,” because it takes a while to see a bug, Knecht said.
All you need to develop lice is one pregnant female on the head, she said. They lay up to 10 eggs a day and one louse can lay up to 200 eggs. When laying eggs, the lice secrete a glue to attach onto hair, Knecht said.
“Untreated you can have thousands and thousands of bugs and eggs,” she said. “It gets out of control.”
The lice feed only on the blood of the scalp and don’t spread to other areas of the body, she said.
The AirAlle method costs $185 and is guaranteed for 30 days as long as other household members are checked, Knecth said. But for those who can’t afford that method, there are a range of other methods available through Lice Clinics of America, including Do-it-yourself kits starting at $40. Sometimes the dehydrating method is covered by insurance reimbursement, she said.
Brooke Logan, deputy director of New Haven Health Department, said the department has not “received feedback” about the lice treatment center’s methods.
Logan said when lice is found, school nurses provide the parent/caregiver with information about lice and treatment. Lice may be treated with over-the-counter shampoos or with prescription shampoo from a medical provider, she said.
“The use of nit combs is critical for removing nits. The person with lice as well as all household members should be treated concurrently,” Logan said. “Linens, clothing and personal items should be washed in hot water.”
Logan said school nurses also work with school staff to reinforce proper storage hats, coats, etc., as well as not allowing students to share personal belongings.
“It is not recommended that students with lice quarantine or be removed from school,” Logan said. “However, students should be treated as soon as possible to avoid lice spreading.”
As to the social stigma around lice, Logan confirmed: “Anyone can get lice.” There is no “season” for lice, so “people can get lice throughout the year.”
Lice Clinics of America® Launches ‘Schools Without Lice’ National Educator Partnership in Connecticut
New program collaborates with educators and school nurses to eradicate lice in schools
Hartford, CT – August 28, 2019 – Lice Clinics of America, the world’s largest network of professional urgent care head lice treatment centers, announced that the company is launching its nationwide program titled ‘Schools Without Lice – National Educator Partnership’ in Danbury, Orange, and West Hartford. The program’s mission is to assist teachers and school nurses in being better prepared to help students in schools across America stay lice free.
Supplying the most up-to-date information and resources to nurses and educators about prevention and treatment options is key to helping them provide students with quick relief from the stress, fear, embarrassment, and discomfort of a head lice infestation. In addition to offering free access to educational materials, the program includes free lice screenings and treatments for school nurses and teachers.
“We’re very excited to launch this new program to help schools and educators in our communities better address the problem of lice,” said Stephanie Knecht, owner of Lice Clinics of America – Connecticut. “Lice are a real factor in the day-to-day life of schools and students, with kids missing up to 24 million school days each year due to lice. That’s tragic and needs to end. By providing free educational resources to schools and free lice care for teachers and school nurses, we hope they’re better able to help students and their families.”
Since launching Lice Clinics of America (LCA) in 2014, the company has seen explosive growth and now has 330 clinics in 36 countries, with new clinics opening every month. The secret to LCA’s success is its revolutionary technology, the AirAllé, an FDA-cleared medical device. The AirAllé uses heated air to dehydrate lice and nits and is proven to kill hatched lice and more than 99 percent of eggs in a single hour-long treatment.
One in four children under 13 years of age get head lice, and that number is growing as traditional over-the-counter lice treatments are increasingly ineffective. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology found that 98 percent of lice in the United States are now resistant to the pesticides these products use. The immune lice are often referred to as “super lice.” Families often battle lice for weeks, failing multiple times as they try to eliminate head lice on their own.
For more information on the Schools Without Lice program, please visit https://lcaconnecticut.com/swl.
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