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True story: this weekend I found out that I had been exposed to lice.  That’s right, itchy, creepy, crawly, I-don’t-want-to-cut-off-all-my-hair LICE.  Thankfully, I ended up being lice free (thanks in part to the tea tree oil spray that I use as part of my regular hair car routine!) but I did learn a few things from the experience that I thought I’d share.

 

 

Things I learned:

1. There is a lice epidemic going on right now of epic proportions

2. If you have kids, know kids or work with kids, chances are you have been exposed to lice

3. It takes 3-4 weeks for nits (lice eggs) to hatch and mature into adults so you can be walking around with and spreading nits and not even know it.

4. There are companies out there, such as The Lice People, who specialize in helping you dealing with these pesky critters.

5. As with most things in life, the best defense is a good offense.  Preventative sprays containing mint and/or tea tree oil can make your scalp less attractive to pesky critters such as lice.

Pets and lice:

As the good pet parent that I am, my first thought after learning of my exposure immediately turned to my pets.  Can they catch lice from me?  Could I have caught lice from them?  And most importantly, how do I go about ridding my household of these creepy crawlers?

The good news is that lice are highly species specific.  That means that the species of lice that feed on human blood WILL NOT feed on the blood of dogs or cats.  Conversely, dog lice (which are rare) will only feed on dogs and cat lice (also rare) will only feed on cats.  So if you or your family ends up dealing with a lice infestation you can rest assured that your pets are safe.

You’ve got lice – now what?

Years ago finding out that you had lice was socially and emotionally devastating.  Not only did it mean a trip to the barber to get your lovely locks hacked off but it also meant the social stigma associated with these parasitic creatures.

Thankfully, nowadays, dealing with lice is much simpler thanks to companies such as The Lice People, which is where I headed as soon as I learned of my exposure.  For just $20 the Lice People will go through your head with a special comb and check for nits and adult lice.  If anything is found they will systematically go over your hair, strand-by-strand, and remove every nit and adult so that when you leave you are completely lice-free.

They also provide you with a handy checklist of do’s and don’ts so you can get your house lice-free with as little hassle and panic as possible.

All in all I have to say that my lice experience, though stressful, was not as bad as it could have been thanks to the friendly and knowledgeable staff at The Lice People.  Not only did Lee (that’s the women who checked me out) provide me with loads of helpful tips and information, she made me feel at ease and took what could have been a disastrous situation and made it much less painful.

Common Sense Cleaning Tips from The Lice People:

1. Change sheets on any bed the infested person may have slept in during the last 24 hours.  Wash and dry in HOT temperatures.

2. Throw comforters and bedspreads into the dryer for 30 minutes on high heat.  If that is not possible, place the bedding into garbage bags and isolate them for 24-48 hours.  Lice cannot live long without access to human blood and will quickly die when cut off from their food supply.

3. Combs, brushes and hair ties used in the last 24 hours by the infested person can be cleaned by any of the following methods:

– Place in alcohol, ammonia or dish detergent and allow to soak for at least 2 hours

– Put into boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes

– Put in a Ziploc bag and place in the freezer overnight

– Place in your dishwasher on hot cycle

– Don’t use them for 24 hours

4. Run a light vacuum over the areas where the infested person visits frequently.  Alternatively you can throw a sheet over the areas for 24 hours or just don’t go to those places of your house.  Again, lice cannot live long without access to your blood and will quickly die when no human host is available.

5. If the infested person sleeps with any stuffed animals or toys be sure to throw them into a hot dryer for at least 30 minutes

6. Be a friend and TELL A FRIEND!  (*** I was shocked to learn that many parents will hide their children’s lice infestation in order to avoid any backlash from other parents or their kid’s school.  This not only perpetuates the stigma of lice being something that should be hidden but also puts your children at risk of re-infestation)

7. Make head checks part of your weekly routine

8. Use a mint or tea tree oil based shampoo or spray to keep your head lice free.  Comb with a lice comb once or twice a week and watch for signs of lice

If you or someone you know has been exposed to lice please feel free to contact:

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Ten years ago you’d have been hard pressed to find any pet parents giving their dog a health supplement. These days, however, canine and feline supplements are so popular you’d be hard pressed to find someone NOT giving their pet some type of supplement.

In fact, take a walk down the aisle of your favourite pet store and you’re bound to see a plethora of health supplements aimed at improving and extending the health and longevity of your four-legged friend.

With so many options available, it can be hard to know which supplements will be beneficial and which companies you can trust.

LACK OF QUALITY CONTROL MEANS LACK OF KNOWLEDGE ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE GIVING YOUR PET

We’ve all read the news stories about the lack of quality control in the human health supplement industry and I’m sad to say that the situation is no different when it comes to supplements for our pets.

Unfortunately, many manufacturers of pet supplements do not have the resources or infrastructure required to guarantee efficacy and absolute purity of raw material supply.  Consequently, it is not uncommon to find heavy metals, pesticide residue and toxic micro-contaminates in some of these products*.

So how do you know you’re really getting what you paid for? And how do you know the product is safe?

NASC – A QUALITY SEAL OF APPROVAL

Enter the NASC (National Animal Supplement Council), a U.S. non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and enhancing the health of companion animals and horses.

Founded in 2001, NASC is an all-industry association of stakeholders concerned with the issues surrounding the supply of health supplements for animals, such as dogs, cats and horses.

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO GET THE NASC SEAL ON A PRODUCT?

Before being granted permission to display the Seal on their products, websites, product literature and advertisements, NASC member companies are required to demonstrate compliance with the following criteria:

  1. The company must have a Quality Control Manual in place that provides written Standard Operating Procedures for production process control. This helps ensure the company is providing a consistent and quality product.
  2. The company must have an Adverse Event Reporting/Complaint System in place to continually monitor and evaluate products and ingredients.
  3. The company must follow proper Label Guidelines for all products and all forms of labeling.
  4. The company’s product labels must include any specific Warning and Caution Statements recommended by the Food & Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine and the NASC Scientific Advisory Committee for particular ingredients.

The purpose of the NASC and its audit program is to help minimize and control risk, statistically track product information, keep consumers educated with correct labeling information, and make consumerS aware of any possible ingredient complexities with caution and warning statements.

Ultimately, the entire program is designed to help elevate the quality of the animal health supplement industry for the benefit of all stakeholders including consumers and, more importantly, the animals themselves.

AVIVAGEN PRODUCTS TO SOON FEATURE THE NASC SEAL OF APPROVAL

In February 2012, Avivagen Animal Health obtained NASC accreditation and will soon proudly display the NASC seal of approval on our pet health supplements.

*(Kendall-Reed, P., Reed, S., (2002) Healing Arthritis)

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