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“Hair Maidens” Open Utah’s First Lice Clinic

What do you do if someone in your family has head lice? Not so long ago, you had to make do with home treatment. Now, Salt Lake City has its first ever lice clinic.

They call themselves Hair Maidens, and they consider lice their calling. Co-owners Rita Skolnick and Ashley Hafer saw a need in Utah and decided to fill it. Hafer is a nurse and a mom.

“A few years ago, it came to my family’s attention that there was no one here in Utah to help us with the problem of lice. We found it in our family, and looked for a service that could give us advice on how to take care of lice, and there was nothing there,” Hafer says.  

About three years ago, Hafer and Skolnick started a mobile clinic to treat lice. Skolnick – who has a doctorate in physiology from the University of Utah - says they had no trouble finding business.

“It’s definitely a service that’s needed here,” Skolnick says. “We get moms and dads all the time that are thanking us for being here. There’s really not anyone else that does want we do.”

Now Hair Maidens has a permanent location in downtown Salt Lake City close to the TRAX library stop, treatments are scheduled by appointment, and they say it’s guaranteed to work.

For treatments they use the AirAllé™, formerly known as the LouseBuster. It’s a device that was invented at the University of Utah, now approved by the FDA.  It’s basically a high-tech blow-dryer that blows at just the right temperature and level of airflow to kill lice and their eggs - or as the Hair Maidens call them – nits.

“Nits are the most frustrating part of a head lice infestation, and the pattern that we use with this machine effectively desiccates or dries out all of those nits or eggs,” Hafer says. “We follow that treatment with a thorough comb out that we do here in our salon, so that we can send our client out free from debris, knowing they can go back to school or work and head on with their life.”

The AirAllé™ treatment starts at $99.00. The Hair Maidens say that for those that can’t afford it, they can provide a lice comb with instructions on how to use it.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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