Kelly Nagata of Lice Moms talks about how to spot signs of head lice. Joshua Bessex jbessex@gateline.com
Kelly Nagata of Lice Moms talks about how to spot signs of head lice. Joshua Bessex jbessex@gateline.com

Gateway: News

‘They’re a parasite and we’re their host.’ Lice Moms comes to the rescue

By Andrea Haffly

ahaffly@gateline.com

September 14, 2017 09:32 AM

UPDATED September 20, 2017 10:02 AM

Feeling itchy? You will soon.

Itchiness is frequently one of the first — and most common — signs of lice, according to Kelly Nagata, owner and operator of Lice Moms.

Lice Moms is a Gig Harbor-based business that helps clients eliminate lice and nits from head and home while also working to end the associated negative stigma of having lice.

“They like everybody. They don’t discriminate,” Nagata said. “We get all walks of like here. We get the socioeconomic spectrum of the area.”

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(Lice) like everybody. They don’t discriminate. We get all walks of life here. We get the socio-economic spectrum of the area.

Kelly Nagata, owner and operator of Lice Moms

From school children to school teachers (who can receive free head checks for lice), parents to pilots, Nagata has seen all ages, professions and income levels enter her office for treatment.

“We’ve done as young as three months and as old as 90,” she said. “They’re a parasite and we’re their host.”

With 22 years experience as a surgical registered nurse, Nagata is matter-of-fact and unphased about eradicating nits and lice from her clients. Using all-natural products (also available for sale), she said the key to getting rid of the bugs is combing with the right comb. And a healthy dose of patience.

She also cautions that home remedies typically don’t work and even store-bought products have little success because of the presence of super-lice, who are resistant to many of the common treatments.

An adult lice bug is seen on a card at Lice Moms in Gig Harbor.
Joshua Bessex jbessex@gateline.com

“The comb that comes in the kit doesn’t work. It doesn’t remove all the eggs,” she said. “The mayo (treatment) does not work — period. Home remedies don’t work.”

Nagata sees between one and eight clients a day, treating individuals and whole families as needed. Her website also provides extensive information on lice for parents (and individuals) seeking clear answers.

Clearing lice from the home is much easier than previously thought, she said.

“It’s not as extensive as it used to be,” Nagata said. “They don’t live in carpet. They don’t lay eggs on carpet. They only lay eggs in hair.”

Washing sheets in hot water and vacuuming are the keys to removing any lingering bugs from beds and home.

I check my kids weekly. It’s just a quick check. Checking with your eyes doesn’t always work. You’ve got to comb.

Nagata

Lice are transmitted from head-to-head contact, she said, or from contact with pillow cases, hats, hoods and hair. The bugs don’t jump, but crawl very quickly.

“It’s a head issue,” she said. “It’s really a head-to-head contact thing.”

She recommends some preventative measures to clients, such as using mint spray or shampoo since lice (like most bugs) don’t like the smell. She also recommends students put their hats or coats inside their backpacks, rather than on communal piles or classroom hooks to prevent the spread of lice, something she’s taught her own children.

“I check my kids weekly. It’s just a quick check,” she said. “Checking with your eyes doesn’t always work. You’ve got to comb.”

Lice Moms is located at 2801 Hollycroft Street in Gig Harbor, in the lower level of the Coldwell Banker Building. It can be reached at 253-509-4229 or online at licemoms.com.

Andrea Haffly: 253-358-4155, @gateway_andrea