Let’s Talk About Lice…

This is a re-post of a topic that is always great to know more about, so that you don’t really have to deal with it more than once, but also since the weather is getting cold, and we are all inside, in close-quarters, sharing our spaces. So I updated this old post, and am sharing it with you today.

lice-removal

So…Let’s talk about lice. Gross, you say? Why do we have to talk about it?

Let’s talk about the fact that I sort of live in fear of those little buggers. Let’s talk about how you can’t really – not even possibly talk about lice really…unless you’ve lived through it. No….it isn’t the worst thing. Yes, we can get rid of it. It isn’t permanent. But it stinks. Like, sucks the life right out of a sane person, stinks. And now, no matter how clean my kid is, I don’t want my kid to ever do any of the following:

• Share any hair accessories
• Try on hats
• Get her hair brushed by another person’s brush or comb
• Perform gymnastics on a carpet
• Use a friend’s or a school issued helmet

I get a bit crazy about it. There are so many chances that my kids can get lice, that I am almost crazy trying to avoid it! Back to school? Back to more opportunities for lice exchange. Free ropes course? I see this as a way my kid will probably share a helmet, and therefore possibly get lice. Renting ice-skates? Awesome. More helmets that I don’t own, and now I am going legitimate (to my kids’ opinions) crazy with the lice prevention and worry.

I wasn’t always like this. And I truly paid for it. Literally. It cost a ton of money.

Unbeknownst to myself or my husband ALL four of my kids had lice for over a month.

Yes, I said a month. Yes, I comb their hair. Yes, I wash their clothes and sheets. Yes we bathe every night! Before you judge me, and I sincerely wish you wouldn’t, let me explain some facts, not the least of which is that lice is extremely hard to see.

Know This: Lice, take two weeks to form from a microscopic egg, into a bug. They change color, these little eggs from black specks, to grey eggs, to white shells of a hatched egg, leaving behind the shell. After that they just multiply like crazy.

These 4 weeks of infestation, brought lots of tears to the kids… and myself. How could I have missed this? Am I not paying attention enough? Clean enough? So much guilt and shame ensued. But we got rid of it. We survived. And now I have some tips for anyone who has never dealt with the head-bugs, as we call them, and also for people who are dealing with it now.

  1. First, do a regular check on your kids every week. Yes, every week people. Like I said, the life cycle is 2 weeks, so if you comb their hair out once a week, you are cutting the cycle in half: grabbing the eggs before they hatch, and scanning for bugs at the same time.
  2. Second, shampoo on a regular basis with a shampoo that has a scent of tea-tree (Trader Joe’s) or is marketed for anti-lice (Fairytales). I personally am on the fence for this one, but I know people swear for its prevention ability.
  3. Third, and finally, follow these guidelines to avoid situation as mentioned above:

• No sharing combs, brushes
• No sharing towels,
• No sleeping on another’s pillow case
• No somersaults on carpet
• No using a joint helmet- but if they have to, tell me so I can comb through more often.

IF you do happen to get the bugs, I recommend looking up a Lice Removal Franchise. We did, and it was crazy expensive but it is also free of the chemicals that I didn’t want to put near my kids because they were so little (drugstore brands). If you are just doing a comb through, use coconut oil or just washed hair for the kids and comb it out on a regular basis. If you are in the midst of removing live bugs or lice, comb every day for the two weeks without fail, and no matter what you put in the hair for chemicals, you will remove the eggs, and the bugs.

This is key: The bedding, towels, clothes that the kids have worn have to be washed, but more importantly, dried at a high-heat setting for at least 50 minutes to kill the bugs. I put most anything that could go in the dryer, in for this amount of time. The bedding has to be dried only (not washed) nightly for the two weeks. Anything that cannot go in the dryer, bag up in a giant trash bag for the two week period. This means anything with fibers, such as stuffed animals, or dolls with hair (not hotwheels or hard-plastic items).

Now I know this is a pain in the neck for sure! I am not denying at all. You may think one week is fine, and you “think you got them all” but in this case I wouldn’t test it. You don’t want to chance your family getting it again. This 2 week process worked for us, so I am letting you know about the process. But you have to do it for the who time- especially combing, faithfully. That part you know, but you also don’t want to do, is to let the parents of the kids your lice-ridden kids have played with, or taken lessons with, or gone to school with know. The school may or may not have a policy of letting other kids in the classroom aware (anonymously of course) but best to let them know, so the lice can get treated and won’t revisit anytime soon!

I cannot tell you enough, how I still fear these critters, even two years ahead of them. I know how easy it is to miss them, and how awful we all felt for the two weeks until they were gone. If you have any questions, please let me know, and I can try to find an answer for you. Or if you have a suggestion that worked, let me know for sure! For now, I try to keep up my “once a week, take a peek” to at the very least take a good look at their heads and hair.

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