SPOKANE, Wash. - A local hair specialist says head lice has become a big problem in the Lilac City, but don't reach for the mayonnaise or fumigation service to treat it because there is an alternative.
Owner of Lutey's Hair angels says lice are one of the most communicable diseases, second only to the common cold.
A tickle on the neck or a scratch are usually the first symptoms.
"I used to have long beautiful hair. It is an embarrassing thing. You know what? I had head
lice. My entire family had head lice!" says Spokane mother, Lanna.
Lanna says she first noticed her 10-year-old daughter Kailee had lice when she saw two tiny bugs in her hair
"She thinks they're just nats 'cause I had just been playing outside," Kailee said.
"And then my head started to itch and I'm like 'oh no," said Lanna.
Then the worst happened; Lanna, her husband and her mother all got lice.
"I'm like, you have got to be kidding me," Lanna said.
They tried over the counter medications three times and nothing worked, so she went to the extreme.
"My mom cut about a foot off my hair because we couldn't get rid of it!" Lanna said.
After cutting off nearly all her hair and doing a quick web search, she finally found a cure at Lutey's Hair Angels in Spokane.
"She uses an FDA approved shampoo called 'Licergone,'" Lanna said.
"It's becoming more and more of an issue. The most common way to get head lice is
head to head contact," said salon owner, Trisha Lutey.
Lutey says recently she has treated 20 Gonzaga University students for head lice-all of them either didn't respond or refused to do an interview because of the stigma lice brings.
"There's a stigma when it comes to lice, not everybody, but especially students are embarrassed to admit they had of have lice," says Lutey.
Lutey says for people that are embarrassed, she can come to your home to treat it-- which is what Lanna did. Lanna and her family are ecstatic to be finally free from the pesky little critters, especially Kailee.
The FDA says lice can stay alive in your home after you catch it. They say to wash all bedding and clothing that came into contact with lice within 48 hours and to wash it on high heat for at least 20 minutes. The FDA has also approved topicals applied to the scalp to treat lice.