A New Year’s Adventure in DeLousing
The girl cutting my daughter’s hair called me over. She parted her hair to show me the bugs crawling on her scalp. Repulsed, I instinctively picked two of the buggers, squishing them between my fingers.
‘Uhm, you can’t start treatment now..’ The girl cast her eyes towards the lobby full of others waiting for their own hair cut. I instantly regretted my decision to ‘start a profile’ with Great Clips.
‘Oh, right. Yes. Of course. I am so sorry..’
I bit my lip. My mind began to race. LICE?!?! How did this happen? I felt ashamed and completely shocked.
This was NOT how I intended to spend the New Year.
I had no clue my child had head lice; furthermore, I didn’t know she had given them to me!
Calculating from the stages of her infestation, she’d been exposed at least 2 weeks prior. She complained of an ‘itchy head’ which I attributed to switching shampoos. Or perhaps she was having an allergic reaction or a winter dry scalp. I never went through her hair closely enough. and I didn’t know what the ‘Nits’ looked like.
The only visible sign was a spotty rash she developed on the back of her neck, presumably from bites?
My poor baby eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
I turned back to the girl who was keeping her composure far better than I.
‘Sorry again.. just freaking out a little bit. It’s my first time, ya know… with this. What do I do?’ I asked, forgetting for a moment about the internet.
The girl mumbled a few things but my head was already racing forward.
How was she exposed to Lice?
We didn’t know anyone who had lice and I hadn’t heard any reports from school. But as in my situation, we hadn’t a clue what was brewing. We could have exposed friends over the holidays, so I sent out a text message so everyone could be on the lookout.
I recall getting Lice as a child and the fear my hair would be cut off! I could swear I was exposed while trying on hats at the local Wal-Mart….
At the elementary school, kids throw their coats together on the playground at recess. They hang them close together and before this incident, my girl would trade hats with friends.
NO MORE SHARING HATS!!
This is an opportunity to educate myself, my daughter and others.
This is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. It can happen to anyone. We talked about the situation as I dutifully gathered research. I informed my daughter of everything we were doing and why. I wanted her to be prepared to talk confidently about it when she returned to school.
How we Treated for Lice
Never a fan of chemicals if they can be avoided, I chose to go with advice from another mom. She was a trusted source who’d dealt with Lice before and she was able to provide me with a first hand review of how she’d gotten rid of Lice on multiple occasions.
Over-the-counter chemical shampoo’s will NOT kill the eggs. The only sure way to eradicate is by destroying their eggs. After reviewing the most popular solutions, it was clear to me the only way to get rid of the problem was to remove every single egg, strand by strand.
You Must RE-TREAT a week later! Any Nits you miss will hatch in 6-9 days. The Nymph will be ready to reproduce within 7 days of hatching; therefore, you must treat again 13-16 days after the first treatment.
- Treatment (check for allergies before using- I started with a more natural approach and used Listerine before going for the stronger stuff. Those allergic to Ragweed will have adverse reactions when using the major brand of Lice Shampoo.)
- Shower Cap
- Spray Bottle
- Nit Comb
- Regular Comb or Pick
- Alligator clamps
I used the alligator clamps to separate out sections of hair. Then I spritzed each section with Listerine, covering her head with a shower cap. We sat around in shower caps for 2 hours before rinsing out with warm water. The Listerine is has a cooling, antiseptic property. I found it helped with itchy bites.
It appeared to paralyze and eventually kill the adult louse.
But of course, it’s not FDA approved and they know everything. So take this information at your own risk.
The only tried and tested way to get rid of the problem to REMOVE the problem. Every louse, every egg needs to be removed. All towels, bedding and clothing needs to be laundered HOT and dried for at least 30 minutes. Which means a LOT of mother daughter bonding time as I tirelessly comb through section by section of hair.
- Commonly spread in winter hitching a ride when kids hang hoodies and coats together at school.
- Head to head contact is a sure win for transmission.
- At home, if you are sharing pillows or a bed with someone who has lice- all sheets, blankets, pillows need to be washed on HOT and dried for at least 30 minutes. Stuffed animals should be bagged and put away for 48 hours.
- I was a victim too. But I caught them in the early stages. I frequently apply coconut oil and tea tree oil to my hair. These two natural hair treatments deter the little buggers from taking up residence.
Encourage children to keep their hats, scarves and coats in their backpacks. While treating for this problem, I’ve made certain my daughter keeps everything in her backpack at school.
Use a Tea Tree Oil Shampoo and Conditioner
Use coconut oil to condition hair once or twice a month. Let the coconut oil soak into warm, wet hair and leave it overnight. Rinse in the morning with hot water before shampooing.
Fast Facts about Lice
- Lice can not survive more than 48 hours off their human host.
- They crawl; it’s a myth that they have wings and jump.
- One bug can lay 4-6 eggs (nits) per day. These will hatch in about a week.
- Newly hatched nymphs take about 7 days to mature.
- Head Lice are specific to humans- no worries about your furry friends.