Head lice

Updated 08 June 2016

This woman gets paid to pick out head lice

Sherine Wenzel has a job that would make most people’s skin crawl. She gets paid to rid people of head lice. Health24 wanted to know more.

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When choosing a career path, most of us would rather run in the other direction than work with head lice, but not Sherine Wenzel. Sherine owns a hair clinic in Arlington, Washington in the United States that specialises in removing head lice!

Part of the solution

Sherine decided to trade in her career in the property industry after witnessing the stress parents go through in trying to deal with lice, she explains on her website. In particular, she wanted to provide a safe and effective means for removing treatment-resistant lice:

"The CDC estimates that on an annual basis 6–12 million people nationwide are infested with head lice. Because of these statistics and what I have witnessed other parents going through, I wanted to become part of the solution."

Health24 asked Sherine a few questions to learn more about what a career as a professional nitpicker entails:

What are some of the services you offer?

We offer thorough wet head checks which is the most effective way of determining if a person has lice. We also offer natural, non-toxic full removal of head lice in a once-off treatment. This includes two re-checks after treatment. We also offer the natural, non-toxic head lice kit families can take home if they would like to treat lice themselves.

What are some of the strangest lice cases you have dealt with?

I rarely see strange lice cases but I have come across people who swear they have lice and that they have found nits (lice eggs) but when I check their head, there are no lice or nits. What these people saw was actually product build-up from shampoo and conditioner which can look like lice.

What's one thing you want people to know about lice?

I see a lot of people comparing head lice to bed bugs. Head lice are easier to treat than bed bugs and they can only live for 24 hours off of a host. They need to feed every 2-3 hours on a head.

Is there a misconception that having lice means you're dirty?

Lice do not discriminate, in fact they prefer clean hair.  

How does the Shepard method of removing lice work? 

The Shepard method is the most effective and safe way of getting rid of head lice. They use the strand-by-strand technique to ensure that no nits have been missed, and knowing the proper comb-out method is the best way to get rid of head lice.

I find out that my child has lice. I'm panicked and embarrassed. What do I do?

The first thing you need to do as a parent is breathe; a lot of families deal with head lice daily and you're not the only one going through this, and it's not your fault your child got head lice. As a parent you are taking the necessary steps to make sure that your child receives the proper method of getting rid of head lice without burning or damaging them with over-the-counter pesticides and chemicals that don't even work. Families deal with head lice all the time and there is no need to be embarrassed.

My children have lice, and suddenly I'm noticing every itch on my head. Is this psychosomatic or should I have my head checked for lice as well?

It's always best to get the entire family checked because in most cases the parents will get it from the child. Talking about lice and seeing lice can automatically make you start itching in a psychosomatic way, but, yes, its best to get the entire family checked to ensure no one else has head lice.

What are your top tips to avoid the spread of lice?

Always wear your hair up and use a peppermint repellent as lice do not like peppermint. Mainly O+ and A+ blood types are prone head lice.

Read more:

Causes of head lice 

Symptoms of head lice

Treating head lice