Itching for a Bite of the Lice Business

Treating infestations has become a thriving industry
Illustration by Kelsey Dake

Last October, Melanie Greifer’s two daughters came home with head lice. The Manhattan pediatrician spent two weeks buying over-the-counter treatments and diligently combing out the girls’ hair, but she could never completely rid them of the infestation. Greifer finally turned to a business called Lice Treatment Center that sent someone to pick the lice and eggs, or nits, from the girls’ scalps and treat them with special shampoos. Greifer didn’t blink at the $100-an-hour fee. “At that moment, I’d have given my left arm to have someone come and take care of this,” she says.

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