Head lice removal business hatching for two women

      By Dean

      CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- It's a problem in everyschool and in nearly every family. It keeps kids out of class and separatesbest friends for a period of time. It's a four-letter word every parent hopesis never spoken in their house: lice.

      We are not talking about bed bugs, but head bugs.

      Nicole Ferraro and Chip Caldwell both have children who are battling thescalp scavengers, and their reactions were pretty much the same as every parentwho's ever had a child diagnosed with lice.

      "I was pretty freaked out about it," said Ferraro.

      "It just rocked my world," said Caldwell.

      Loads and loads of laundry will be done. Expect to dry hours upon hours ofpillows, blankets and anything else that can be thrown into the dryer. Stuffedanimals normally tossed around kids' rooms will be stuffed into bags, and if itcan be vacuumed it will be.

      But there is the right way to handle lice and the wrong way to handle lice. "I used an all-natural mix of olive oil, tea tree oil and vinegar. Itdidn't work so well, and to this day my children don't like vinegar," saidEmily Linville.

      But it's how Linville and Shelly Klimas went from lice aware to lice beware.

      "I needed help, had a baby, had a 5-year-old and needed someone to helpme deal with it, but I couldn't find anyone," said Klimas.

      Linville and Klimas are nit picky about picking nits. A year ago, the womenturned their personal lice experience into a professional lice removal businessand business is bustling with infected heads.

      Linville and Klimas went through extensive training at the ShepherdInstitute in Floridabefore opening their business. That's where they learned several things,including that a female can lay 140 eggs in her short 28-day life cycle.

      That can lead to a big problem.

      "A 13-year-old child suffered from lice for three or four months and wefound 2,000 nits and over 200 live adult lice," said Linville when askedabout one of the worst cases she has treated.

      The key to controlling the creepy crawlers is vigilance and communication.

      Ferraro has two young sons; one was treated at Lice Beware.

      "If my child has lice, then my friend should know that my child haslice. People don't want to make that phone call," said Ferraro. "It'swhy it spreads so much because people don't tell other moms and kids spend timewith them and the cycle never stops."

      "I think people need to talk about it, it's daunting," said Caldwell, whose daughterwas treated.

      Parents initially find it embarrassing because the greatest misconception isthat their kid is dirty.

      "It's not a cleanliness issue because lice actually like clean hair asopposed to dirty hair. As humans we prefer to walk on a clean floor compared toa sticky floor - lice are the same way," said Linville.

      The life stage of lice makes it necessary to kill the adults and then slowlypick out the eggs or the nits.

      "It's a race against time to get rid of them{}before they hatch andthe life cycle starts again," said Linville.

      Lice are primarily spread atsleepovers and each school district has its own policy regarding lice. Someparents are scratching their heads over less restrictive head lice policiesthat allow children with live bugs in their hair to return to the classroom.

      Some school nurses are nolonger sending home "lice notes" to parents of other children in theclassroom. The policy shift is designed to help keep children from missingclass, shield children with lice from embarrassment and protect their privacy.

      Lice can only live for abouttwo days when they are not in contact with a human scalp.