Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Your Neighbor Gets the Nits

One of the things I love about writing this blog is that I get to meet people I would not otherwise meet and I find out interesting things I would never otherwise know. There are some things in life you just never learn about if you never have a need for them...

Kim Jozwiak is a long time Heights resident. She grew up on the west side of Houston but moved to the West End when she got married. Her ex-husband was a 3rd generation West Ender and a member of his family still lives in one of the only remaining original homes on Center Street. After renovating a home and spending four years there, Kim headed in to the Heights. An interior designer by education, she was drawn to the aesthetic of the older homes in the area and, as an artist, she felt this was a community where she could settle in for the long haul. Twelve years later, the blue Norhill bungalow she and her twin daughters call home is quintessential Heights on the outside and definitely funky and all Kim on the inside. Purple walls, a mirrored dining room table and bold patterned furniture are the sure signs of someone with their own style.

Kim's blue bungalow is just the type of cute and tidy homes that make up our Norhill neighborhood.

But inside her home is anything but the usual...

A few years back, Kim never would have guessed that she would be an expert in a subject matter that would lead her to being a small business owner. Having 2 twin daughters with busy social lives can have some expected consequences, however. In the last year, Kim has fought not one but FOUR lice infestations. Her experience has taught her some very interesting things about lice and definitely changed her perception of how and why people end up with it. Like many people, I used to think lice was a product of poor hygiene. Then I had kids. I've been lucky enough to dodge the bullet where head lice is concerned, but I know many families who haven't been so lucky. Look around Kim's cute, clean, funky little house and you'll know it was just bad odds for her. With twins, she has double the odds. Having girls, who things like fix each other's hair, odds are even greater.

Kim's home is decorated with her own lively art work

How common is lice though? Is Kim's family an anomaly or is this something any mom can expect to have to deal with? According to Kim, head lice is the 2nd most common contagion that keeps children from ages 3-12 out of school. This statistic proves that the old school idea of lice being dirty or shameful just has to be wrong. Kim's experience certainly changed her perception and now she is working to educate other families on the reality of what head lice is and how to treat it. As soon as her girls had it the 1st time, Kim educated herself on lice and started helping other families she knew were being affected. However, by the 4th infestation, Kim was fed up with the treatments that weren't working and also of spending countless hours combing and combing to clear it out herself. She decided to see if she could get some help.

Kim's daughters are right: Girls definitely rock! But they are much more likely to bring home head lice from sharing brushes and even hugging more than boys.

Kim was surprised to find that in all of metro-Houston there was only one business treating lice infestations and that customers have go to them. Low on patience and time and presented with only one option, Kim took her girls to have someone else treat them. At this point, Kim knew a lot already about lice and how it works. She watched as they patiently combed her girls hair, talked about the products they use and, by the end, asked if they were interested in franchising. When they said they weren't, Kim decided she could do better for Houston families and took to researching solutions on her own. Now Kim is the only lice removal service in Houston who offers treatment in your own home.

In treating her own daughters' lice, Kim realized there was a lot of misinformation out there and that she initially wasted a lot of time doing things wrong. She learned from her mistakes and now knows that treatment is only one aspect of the lice issues that families deal with. There is the fact that lice breeds in phases and many chemical treatments only kill one phase. There is also prevention.

At this point, I haven't had to deal with lice personally so I haven't had to know much about it. After an hour with Kim, I know all kinds of things about lice that I never would have. Some facts are reassuring, like they do not carry disease. Some of are kind of gross, like lice needs a human "host." The upside of that is lice will not live on pets. I never would have known that the best way to check for lice is to spray a sort of mint extract that "stirs them up." Then there is the fact that most people are probably taking the wrong approach to ridding their kids (or themselves) of a lice infestation. The common, over-the-counter remedies are chemicals; they are poisons. Natural, non-toxic alternatives exist. In the end, however, it doesn't matter which treatment you use unless you are willing to put in the elbow grease to comb the lice out.

Kim, at home. But she'll also come to yours!

This is where Kim really wants to help you. It's a daunting task, combing hair almost strand by strand. So, if you don't have the patience or the time, she is the only person in town who will come and do it for you. You can feel good knowing that she will be treating your kids or you with a non-toxic, non-pesticide foam that loosens the nits up and then she will have the kind of patience I think you can only be paid for. Using a large magnifying glass that makes her "look like a scientist," Kim will go layer by layer using the Shepherd Method of removal. Don't want to have her come to your house? She is currently building out a "salon" for removal, as well. This will allow families to do whatever is most convenient for them and keep lice from being an overwhelming experience. Still, I know if/when it happens to my boys, I'll be glad to have someone who will come to me, solve the problem and help prevent it in the future. This is something I never would have taken the time to find out about unless I needed it. Luckily, we were connected via The Heights Life and now I feel like a more educated parent after speaking with Kim. I hope you do too!


713-455-LICE (5423)


  1. I recently read about how this is popping up in different cities but can't remember where. I think it's great that she is doing this! I totally lucked out when I was a kid and never got lice. Probably because I was (and still am) kind of a germ-a-phobe. ;)

  2. I work in an elementary school and Lice are rampant these days. I am beginning to wonder if there is a chemical resistant strain of the little buggers. We've already had one infestation at school.

  3. One of the things I learned from Kim is that no, you CANNOT kill them with chemicals. The chemicals only kill one part of the lifecycle. The only way to get rid of them is to remove them, which is why she uses the strand-by-strand method I mentioned. This is valuable information for parents. I know a lot of your kids' parents probably can't afford a service like this but she does offer a school referral fee. Maybe that can be passed on to parents?

  4. You can feel good knowing that she will be treating your kids or you with a non-toxic, non-pesticide foam that loosens the nits up and then she will have the kind of patience I think you can only be paid for disappearing the nits