SUNNYVALE, Calif. (KGO) --An increasing number of families here in the Bay Area are turning to a powerful new technology to kill lice without chemicals.
If you strolled by a particular salon in Sunnyvale, you may think a young man is getting his hair cut, but he's actually getting it cleaned of head lice. "That's an adult louse, right there, these are the ones that will mate," Tien Du said.
Du is a professional lice liquidator at Nitzy's Beauty Salon in Sunnyvale, she treats kids and their families with an increasingly popular technology designed to destroy head lice in a single treatment. "A lot of parents in the Bay Area are too busy and just want to be done with it and we take care of it in about an hour to 90 minutes," Du said.
Instead of traditional lice killing shampoo, this method relies on heat. It's delivered with an FDA approved device called Air Alle.
Once the lice and their eggs, or nits are spotted, the technician applies the heat methodically over the entire scalp. "That's how long it takes to dehydrate and to kill the bugs," Du said.
While lice outbreaks of often reported at schools, she said the pests are also commonly spread on playgrounds and during sleep overs.
And some families go through two or three rounds of shampoo treatments trying to get rid of them. "I got exposure letters from school, but never did I expect my son would get it," Audry said.
Audry is a mother of two and when her son was diagnosed, she said the time involved in treating her entire family and her herself seemed overwhelming. "I was going to sit there and comb through his hair for an hour to two hours this morning," Audry said.
Instead, she found Nitzy on Google. It's one of several centers in the Bay Area now offering the heat treatment.
After the heating and comb-out, Du applies a silicone oil designed to suffocate any survivors.
She said the 90 minute treatment is guaranteed for three weeks. That's enough, time in most cases, to make sure the lice are gone for good. "They go home and that's it they can forget about the problem," Du said.
Written and produced by Tim Didion.