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Clinics offer guaranteed treatment for head lice

Device uses warm air to dehydrate eggs

TOP: Enlargement of head louse, fertilized female. LEFT: Enlargement of head louse nit (egg) firmly cemented onto hair shaft. Illustration sources: ``Differential Diagnosis in Dermatology
TOP: Enlargement of head louse, fertilized female. LEFT: Enlargement of head louse nit (egg) firmly cemented onto hair shaft. Illustration sources: ``Differential Diagnosis in Dermatology" and ``Clinical Dermatology Illustrated - A Regional Approach")

All it takes for a child to get rejected for summer camp is head lice showing up during the admission process.

Parents, faced with the loss of prepaid camp fees and the disappointment of their child, are anxious to find a quick solution to the problem.

Lice Clinics of America, based in Murray, Utah, offers a “one and done” three-step treatment process instead of the pesticides found in over-the-counter products. The company has locally owned franchise clinics in Bettendorf and Dubuque.

“We start by doing a screening to look through their hair to find any signs of eggs, which are often known as nits,” said Kellie Hancock, co-owner of the LCA clinic in Dubuque.

“If we find any presence of eggs, we offer a heated treatment that dehydrates the eggs so none of them can hatch.”

After the heat treatment, technicians comb through the hair to remove excess debris, eggs and any live bugs that were trapped in the heat.

“We follow that with an oil application that suffocates any live bugs that scurried away from the heat,” Hancock said.

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Ann Blake of Shueyville said her daughter was treated successfully at one of the company’s clinics in Bettendorf, owned and operated by Ted and Janet Brown.

“Her first experience with lice occurred during spring break of her first-grade year,” Blake said. “When I called the pediatrician’s office, they said to get an over-the-counter kit, a good lice comb and a glass of wine.”

Blake remembered hearing from a sister in the Quad Cities about a place Bettendorf that offered treatment for lice.

While children and adults are warned that head lice is often spread through multiple people using the same comb, brush, hats or head gear for sports such as batting helmets, Brown said hair-to-hair contact is most often the cause.

“We have two or more people trying to view the small screen of a cellphone or a tablet computer,” he said. “It also happens when two or more people get close together to pose for a selfie.”

Brown works with the Girl Scouts of America in the Quad Cities and helps screen for head lice during the intake for Camp Liberty in New Liberty. The camp is an annual summer destination for Girl Scouts from the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City Corridor.

“I would say that at least 80 percent of the time, we find at least one person with head lice,” he said.

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