distressIf the plotline of “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” involves four best girlfriends hatching “a plan to stay connected with each other” as their lives take them traveling in different directions, the “Sisterhood of the Traveling Lice” involves group of lice hatching as they travel—leaving mothers and their families scratching their heads as to what to do to prevent and treat them.

It was only day two of the school year when my daughter came home with her first note stating a child in her 3rd grade class had lice. With young children literally getting into each other’s hair, it seems inevitable that you’ll be forced to deal with lice at some point. And with family travel ever easier, the risk of bringing home these unwanted visitors, is easier as well.

Find the Treatment

As noted on the Licexchange website, they know “Lice love to travel!”

A number of lice-ridding experts explain the problem can be prevalent at the beginning of the school year or anytime after kids get back from vacations where they’ve traveled to other places, whether from the U.S. to Europe to the Middle East and further. Ena, a clinician and operations associate at Licenders in Manhattan, says often times outside of the U.S. it’s, “not considered such a faux pas to have head lice, and it’s not necessarily treated in the same way it might be here. “

Perhaps the problem is seemingly worse these days because people are too embarrassed to get treatment. “We tell people that it’s common-everyone gets it. It’s not such a big deal. But that doesn’t stop some people from being disgusted,” Ena explains. While the concept to take away the stigma is a good one, most parents simply want to deal with getting rid of the problem as quietly as possible. Locations that offer clinical service, products and advice have popped up around the country; many offering the ability to dispense advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Lice Treatment Center, Licenders, the Licexchange, the Nitpickers, the Lice Lady…are just a few in a list of options around the country where you can turn for help. A number of well-known “nitpickers” are mothers who discovered they had a knack for effectively taking care of the problem.

Have Combs Will Travel

For parents who don’t want to leave their own home to take care of the problem, for additional fees, many companies will travel to YOU. Prices to have this done professionally aren’t cheap—a quick check revealed a range of treatment prices from $175 to $300 per head for the first hour-with extra money tacked on for each hour following—and those were the “in clinic” prices. The experts I spoke with said to save yourself money and frustration, the key is early detection, and preventative care. But if you do find yourself faced with having to deal with head lice on your kids, here are some of their top tips:

-Confirm that you are dealing with an actual case (check websites to speak free with an expert if your child’s school nurse hasn’t already confirmed it for you!)

-Check and treat everyone in the household as a precaution

-Vacuum furniture, wash sheets and clothes. Put unwashable items into the dryer on high heat.

-Look for all natural treatment products if possible. Many in the business claim pesticides don’t really work anymore as there’s been a resistance built up through the years.

-Treat according to product directions—or get a professional to treat

-Following treatment: Don’t share any hats, headbands or hairbrushes and be cautious by keeping hair up. (For girls, buns that are tight without inducing a headache work well.)

-Don’t wash hair too often—surprisingly, lice actually like nice, clean fluffy hair. (I’m thinking most kids will be happy to hear this.)

Lastly, remember what the experts say—“If a bug doesn’t like its environment it will try to move to another host by any means possible.” So no means and no method—may help you to ensure that the only travelers in your family are you and the kids.