Under the cloak of midwinter darkness, a Santa Barbara family arrived at a nondescript strip mall in Ventura. In the lobby of a second-floor office, their collective mood was somber yet hopeful. Ninety minutes later, they burst from the building with broad smiles. They laughed, high-fived, and made dinner plans to celebrate. This family was finally lice-free.
Any family with young schoolchildren likely knows the embarrassment, frustration, and time-consuming futility that comes with even a small infestation of head lice. (Just thinking about it right now makes your head itch, right?)
“Most of the time, we’re talking parents off the ledge,” said Tate Singletary, who, with his wife, Amy Singletary, owns the Ventura office of Lice Clinics of America. “Moms call us crying. They’re struggling. They’ve used over-the-counter treatments; they’ve combed out their kid’s hair and reapplied, and combed, and reapplied — and nothing works. And we say, ‘Don’t worry. Come in. We’ll get rid of your lice in an hour.’”
The Singletarys opened the Ventura location in February 2017 and have treated nearly 800 cases so far, including a summer-camp group of 52 kids last summer (of which 12 were infested). Customers make the run to Ventura from as far away as Ojai, San Luis Obispo, and Bakersfield, according to Singletary, who plans to open a clinic in Santa Barbara as soon as he finds the right location.
The clinic’s secret weapon is an FDA-cleared medical device that blows properly heated air through a special applicator tip, dehydrating not only the lice but also their eggs. Typical over-to-counter treatments aren’t effective, explained Singletary, because they don’t work on the eggs, which will hatch in 7-10 days, “and the problem starts all over again.”
The clinic charges $195 for a treatment, but Singletary encourages potential customers to ask about midday specials during the week and deals for teachers, military personnel and veterans, low-income families served by medical-assistance programs, and Santa Barbara Axxess members. “This is a special clinic,” he added. “Everybody walks out with a smile.”
For more information, visit LiceClinics805.com.