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With Halloween around the corner, Tulsans are gearing up with spooky costumes, decorations and snacks. However, vampires aren’t the only blood-thirsty prowlers around. Halloween is peak season for lice infestations, according to Wade Huntsman, owner of Lice Clinics of America Tulsa, 3336 E. 32nd St., Suite 210.

While everyone can contract lice, kids are the most susceptible.

Huntsman advises taking preventative measures to avoid contracting lice in the first place. Wigs, hats, masks and costumes can all be temporary homes to lice. It is best to avoid sharing or trying on these garments altogether. If contact with lice is unavoidable, the Lice Clinics of America encourages the use of peppermint or tea tree oil spray on any person or surface to repel insects and decreases the chance of lice transferal.

Peppermint spray can be purchased at Lice Clinics of America locations or health-food stores. The peppermint or tea tree oil sprays are only preventatives, not treatments, so it cannot do anything once lice is contracted. Lice can survive in water, so washing hair has no impact.

“All it takes is one bug, and you’ve got the whole process started on your head,” Huntsman says. “It happens very, very rapidly, and in a month’s time, you can have quite an infestation from a single bug.”

These parasites live and lay eggs in human hair, usually close to the scalp. Although lice do not carry diseases or bacteria, they repopulate and transfer easily, so immediate and effective removal is necessary. The Lice Clinics of America performs FDA-cleared treatments with a 99.6% success rate, without the use of toxic chemicals.

In a clean, salon-like space, clinicians treat patients’ heads with the patented AirAllé® device, which uses heated air to dehydrate and kill lice and eggs. After this 90-minute process, which also includes a professional comb-out of the dead debris and an application of non-toxic dimethicone oil, the patient walks away lice-free with a 30-day guarantee.

“With almost every single patient, you’ll hear a mom say, ‘I had no idea places like this existed!’” Huntsman says.

Although some other over-the-counter lice treatments kill lice, they do not kill their eggs, which can later hatch and start an infestation all over again. Nix, one such treatment, is no longer effective, according to Huntsman. “It started in 1984 and was effective, but by 2008, it was only 25% effective,” Huntsman says.

Super Lice, which are prevalent in Oklahoma, are pesticide-resistant. “I cannot emphasize this enough,” Huntsman says. “It’s why centers like this exist today.”

Lice Clinics of America Tulsa works with school nurses from surrounding districts to ensure families know its services are available.

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