How to Really Understand Lice

Combing for lice

Head lice. It’s a subject nearly no one wants to admit exists, let alone think or talk about. However, head lice have reached epidemic proportions all around the world. It’s difficult to get statistics, but an estimated 7% of children between ages 3-11 experience lice infestation each year in the United States. No statistics are available for adults with lice. In Israel, it’s 15% among children! Experts believe the higher number in Israel is because of larger families with siblings passing around lice.

EMA Care spoke with Penina Neustadter, a very busy “lice lady” in Israel. Penina became a lice lady while living in the States. She moved to Israel 11 years ago and now has a successful business here.

What is a lice lady? She is the go-to person to help people rid their heads of lice. Her methods prevent head lice infestation.

What is the life cycle of lice? A louse lives for 30 days. One louse lays 5-10 eggs(nits)/day. New bugs will emerge from these in 1 week and begin laying their own eggs! Lice can live only on the head. They cannot jump, but they crawl very, very quickly. Nits are not contagious.

How are lice spread? By crawling very quickly from head to head

What is the best treatment to rid the head of lice? First of all, DO NOT PANIC! Catching the lice early before an infestation occurs lessens the severity of lice. The most important purchase to make is an Assy 2000 lice comb. The comb is available in every pharmacy in Israel. After putting any hair conditioner on wet or dry hair, use the comb-over until no lice or nits appear. Wipe the comb clean with a tissue after each swipe of the comb. Examine the tissue, throw it out, and begin over again until the tissue is clean. Do not use shampoos to get rid of the lice. These are filled with chemicals and can be dangerous to use for any length of time.

Do all sheets, hats, clothing need to be laundered? Lice cannot survive off the head. Penina suggests laundering hats and pillowcases, but it’s a precaution and “helps people feel good about getting rid of lice.”

Do you hear about seminary girls and girls on gap year programs getting lice? All the time. Girls do chesed work with children, and they also spend Shabbats with families with children. Any close contact, hair swinging into a child can result in head lice. Penina encourages all sem girls to buy a comb and check their hair frequently. She has been invited to check an entire seminary, and she found head lice on six students!! As a precaution, which doesn’t always work, she suggests pulling hair back with children.

What’s the best product to use to prevent lice? ALL the products in pharmacies, all the shampoos, oils, and conditioners do not prevent lice. Save your money and buy the Assy 2000 comb.

EMA Care wishes you a lice-free time in Israel. If you want Penina to check you out, call 054 234 1016.  She is available anywhere in Israel. EMA Care encourages seminaries to invite Penina to check their student’s heads. Let’s prevent lice from spreading throughout schools!

EMA Care provides medical concierge, case management, and patient advocacy services to tourists, students, and Israel residents. You can reach ema Care at . 052 6398444 Schedule your free consultation today.

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