That Dirty Back-to-School Word: Lice

Tackling the dreaded task of ridding lice

It should come with its own dramatic soundtrack, like the intense melody of a shark making its way toward a crowded shore. 


If you get that letter this school year—the one that notifies you someone in your child’s class has lice—and you run to the internet for advice, be sure to search for a few funny memes, too. Adding a healthy dose of humor to a harried lice situation can diffuse stress. 

“If you get that call, or just notice lice when you are combing your child’s hair, keep your sense of humor and perspective,” advised Nancy Siegel, professional lice treatment provider.

Nancy, along with Susan Snetsinger, owns and operates Lice Going!, Missoula’s only professional lice treatment service. Their expertise can address an embarrassing infestation, which parents tend to keep hidden under hat.

“I wish there wasn’t as much stigma around it,” Nancy sighed. “Head lice can happen to anyone.”

Lice, and their eggs—called nits—don’t remove easily. Adult lice can defy repeated shampooing, and nits attach via a glue which sticks even better to clean hair. Therefore, one of the only proven remedies is called The Shepherd MethodTM. Susan and Nancy apply this precise method for lice removal.

“It involves a thorough examination of all hair using a methodical, strand-by-strand approach,” Nancy explained. This safe, effective, manual technique ensures removal of all lice. “And no hair has to be cut in the process,” she added.

When nights of fussing, combing, and medicated shampooing go on too long, and time becomes money, that’s when parents often call Lice Going!.

“By the time they call us, they’ve often already tried several over-the-counter products, and they’re not cheap,” Nancy noted. “So, we have a range of options, depending on your resources. We want to make it as easy as possible for people to take care of it immediately.”

Susan shared one story. “I got called by a family that had been dealing with an on-going head lice infestation for six months. The family did not have in-home laundry facilities so they had an extra challenge of time and expense in having to make lots of trips to the local laundromat. I provided them a full treatment, which involves a free follow-up, to make sure they were 100% clear of all lice and nits. They were finally rid of it, and grateful to be out of crisis mode.”

Fun fact: Lice leave behind a scent on the head of an infected individual, a “green light” signal to other lice that will make that head a more attractive target. That’s one way an infection can extend into weeks of aggravation.

“Twice I have had clients call within a week or so of being 'cleared' after treatment to say they just found a bug in their child's hair," [Nancy or Susan said]. Even though the parents started off anxious, I was able to help them understand that they were actually really successful in halting a re-infestation in its tracks by staying vigilant and catching the problem early!”

Vigilance, however, is not the problem when it comes to panicked parents who launch an all-out defense against their home invasion. Nancy likes to counteract that bag and bleach mode with some informed, common sense.

“They’re not like bed bugs," she said. "Remember that it is people that get lice, not houses, and not your pets. And remember that lice need the heat of the head to stay alive. There’s easy things you can do to break that life cycle. Even just setting bedding and toys outside, or away from use, for two days can work.” 

Lice Going! offers education, lice removal, community support, and, most importantly, peace of mind. Parents can make a confidential appointment for an initial check and consult for twenty-five dollars. Just go to

“Remember,” Nancy said, “You’re not the first to confront this, and you won’t be the last.”

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