January 06. 2013 10:40PM

Former teacher takes on lice in Plaistow clinic

Union Leader Correspondent

The LouseBuster is a device that provides a chemical-free method of killing head lice through dehydration. COURTESY 

PLAISTOW - If constant head-scratching has you feeling lousy, it may be time to make a stop at New Hampshire's first head lice treatment salon.

Nits End recently opened a clinic at 73 Newton Road (Route 108) to offer an alternative to chemical lice treatments and hours of nitpicking and combing.

"It's definitely something that about 50 percent of families have dealt with, but most people don't like to talk about it," said owner Christine Cherry of Thornton, a former elementary school teacher who understands the challenges and the social stigma that come with head lice.

At Nits End, Cherry attacks the lice by using the LouseBuster, an FDA-cleared medical device that kills all stages of head lice, including the eggs, in a one-time, 30-minute chemical-free treatment.

The LouseBuster uses controlled heated air to quickly kill lice and their eggs through rapid dehydration.

Cherry, 41, said her salon is the first head lice salon in northern New England to use the device.

"It's a very, very effective treatment," she said of the $185 service.

Cherry began Nits Ends in 2011 by making house calls to treat patients. To meet the growing demand, she decided to open a salon in Plaistow.

Cherry said she will offer free head checks at the salon from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the month of January. She urged people to call to make an appointment.

Cherry found her inspiration for the head lice removal business after her daughter was infested with them two years ago when she was 7. Cherry ended up with head lice as well. Living in the White Mountains, she said it was hard finding a service to treat the lice.

"I was losing time at work, which was costing me money," she said, "and then there was the stress of going through it with your daughter."

Head lice are a common problem in most school settings from time to time. Stratham Memorial School recently sent letters home with students in a few classrooms that reported head lice cases.

"We're able to catch them pretty quickly, so we're not seeing huge clusters of students," said Elizabeth Lacasse, school nurse at Stratham Memorial School.

Last September, 10 students in five classrooms were found with head lice at North Elementary School in Londonderry; the school is now lice-free.

"I am very happy to say that all students have been accounted for and we do not have any," Principal Mary Coltin said.