Let's Talk about... Lice?

Everyone start itching their heads right now!

Daughter #1 got an email from her softball coach saying that one of the girls on the team had lice. Since all the girls share helmets every now and then we should check our girls, great.

Daughter #2 came home from school on Friday and said, "guess how many kids in my class went home today because they had lice in my class?"
I said, "how many??!!"
She replied, "8!! The nurse came in and checked us all and said I didn't have any..."

Daughter #4 got a note home from preschool that said, "she could have been exposed to lice at school this week."

This happened all this week. By Friday, I had gone through each girls hair at least every day that week. I didn't find anything but I didn't want to wait and decided Saturday night I would just do all the kids with Rid as to not take any chances! It took me 3 1/2 hours alone to do all the girls!! I didn't find any, but I can sleep better at night now!

Now, I have a few things to say about lice....

As a former hairstylist having worked in salons for a few years, lice is not that uncommon. It is also NOT a reflection of your parenting skills or personal hygiene. I have seen EVERY type of person from all walks of life get lice. If you have a child that interacts with other children they have a good chance of getting lice.

BUT, if your child has had it a few times or you can't get rid of it, then you have a problem. I personally like to use homeopathic methods to treat things first. But, the exception that I make is with lice. I have NEVER seen them work well. Or completely get rid of the lice. The scary thing is that if it gets to the point where you have to use a prescription to get rid of them you put your kids in some real danger. The prescription medication is very toxic and can cause seizures and other problems with children. I would be terrified to put this on my child. That is why it is important not to mess around and get rid of them as quickly as possible.

Part of getting rid of them is washing everything in the house with very hot water in the washing machine, bagging up all your stuffed animals and bedding, and keeping them bagged for a few weeks.

Also, once you do the first treatment, you have to do another at 7-10 days to kill anything that you missed that hatched in the past week (itching my head now!) or you start all over again and find lice in another month.

Thankfully we didn't have any, I don't think I could have dealt with that this week! About 2 years ago my girls had lice, when I found the first one I started shaking and crying! Remember, I have totally seen this 100 times! I FREAKED OUT! My husband actually had to grab me by the shoulders and tell me to calm down I was scaring the kids! So I pulled it together and must have spent 30 hours that week taking care of all the things I had to do to get rid of them. It was a nightmare! So anytime I know the kids have had any contact I go ahead and treat them to save myself the trouble.

What is your experience with lice? What have you found that works?


Julie said...

When my daughter got lice at preschool, the nurse at the doctor's office said instead of bagging up the stuffed animals you could throw them in the dryer on high heat for 30 minutes to kill the lice. That was awesome. I think I did it for an hour just to be sure...

Tracy said...

Thanks for posting this. It is good to know.

A Musing Mother said...

I have nothing to say about lice. Absolutely nothing.

Except that someone told me that it is TOTALLY worth the hassle and cost to take all the laundry to the laundromat and shove it in as many hot water, huge tub washing machines and run the dryers (commercial grade) as long as it takes to get those babies nice and hot.

Take a good book or you could be stuck watching country music videos for three and half hours straight. Particularly painful if you don't care for country music.

Not that I would know any of this stuff.

Tiffany said...

THis is why I love you Nancy!

Tiffany said...

THis is why I love you Nancy!

Pam (meanestmother) said...

Boy do I feel for you! It's a nightmare! With six kids and babysitting I've had my share of the phone calls. As you've said it is not a gender, race, or economically based bug. Our last episode was 6 years ago. I babysat three new kids. I'd had them for a few weeks. I was braiding my 4 year olds hair that we were letting grow for my oldest daughter's wedding. That's when I found the bugs. We'd had them years before on another daughter. I knew immediately what they were. I called the kids one by one to see if anyone had them recently. After talking with the youngest asking if her mom had been washing her hair with any special shampoo she said yes, she just washed it again. They had found lice, again, a week earlier and never said anything. I called their mother at work immediately to come and get her kids. She didn't call, come back or pay me. We found out it was a reoccuring problem with their family. We had 12 people to treat with the children I babysit for. My family spent almost $400 in shampoos, laundry soap, extra softner salt, etc and had three entire homes to clean not including the other families I babysit for. I still have nightmares about the event. My older kids were mortified because I had to make the phone calls to our church family and to coaches to alert the team families. One thing we did found out in our research is a product called SafeSolutions. It was at the Natural Foods store. It is nontoxic and pesticide free. It has peppermint extract in it. It did work. We could use it every couple of days. (okay, maybe overkill!) We added drops of Rosemary oil and Tee Tree Oil. They are all supposed to be offensive to lice and ward them away. ( We would have used everything at that point!) We have also found that it calms the itching of the head during the seasons when the excema is bad. When they are checking heads at school my daughter asks me to get the shampoo out. She doesn't want the experience again!

Avk said...

My daughter came down with Lice a couple of months ago. I panicked treated and treated and treated. I notified her teacher. Her teacher sent me an email and thanked me for letting her know and she told me my daughter proabably got it from others in her class. She then notified the nurse and the nurse told her they do not check kids anymore. How frustrating!

Jill said...

My daughter got it from school. Lice MD is the best treatment, it is more natural than RID, and there is a coupon. And my Ped. said they are becoming ammuned to the chemicals in RID. To prevent, go to an herbal store and get pure tea tree oil and/or peppermint oil. Put about 1 drop each per oz into shampoo and/or conditioner.

Margie said...

I am a teacher and it's frustrating for us as well as you parents out there. A lot of schools now do not think of lice as a problem. They no longer do routine checks and if your child or your child's classmate has lice, a lot of schools now are NOT required to send kids home so that they don't give it to others. We teachers find it frustrating to know this, we don't want to take it home to our families...I have gotten checked many times and knock on wood, have never gotten it.

Megan said...

My daughter had lice a couple of years ago. I thought it was sand and kept getting after her to wash her hair better. A couple of days later she was complaining that her head itched. It happened to be one of the times that I spent time to make her hair cute and saw a couple of little critters running around. I. Wanted. To. DIE.
Of course by this time my other daughter had gotten it as well. My friend lent me their ROBI comb. That was awesome it shocks the little buggers and kills them. Then I would use the nit comb every night. A pain in the but but it worked. Oh I also soaked my daughter's hair in Selsun Blue and left a shower cap on. That seemed to help.

Joy said...

I've gone thru a round a lice wit both my girls in the past.

As a preventative I would suggest. Tea Tree Shampoo.
I have used Rid but won't use it in the future if I need it.
I found this stuff at Walgreens called Lice Ice. It is the best ever. Completely natural so your not rubbing chemicals all over their heads.
It works and I can't say enough good about it.
It really consumes your life when your in the middle of it. I spent hours combing thru hair and washing and bagging stuff, but take a breath it will pass.
Also spray hairspray on your kids hair before they leave for school. Lice do not like it.
The more hair products the better.
♥ Joy

.:Anna:. said...

Remember when Whit got them years ago? THat was such a mess, so gross... they freak me out.

Anonymous said...

ok...now my head is itchy!!

Julia said...

I am really trying not to itch my head right now!!! I got lice when I was in 8th grade from some girls I babysat (their mother knew they had it but didn't tell me probably so I'd still come babysit) well needless to say I got it...BAD! I have very long and thick hair and I washed my hair with the RID stuff for weeks and picked bugs and eggs, etc. out of my hair. I hate lice! I would have freaked out just like you did if I found lice on my kids! I think I have a complex now anytime my scalp is itchy I think it's lice! Needless to say my scalp has never been the same and was probably damaged in the process! UGH!

Joe said...

My daughter goes to daycare and there have been many lice outbreaks in her time there. Fortunately she has never gotten lice. I wash her hair once a week with Giovanni's Triple Treat organic shampoo. It has rosemary in it and I have heard that it repels lice. I don't know if it works, but so far she has not had any. When I hear of an outbreak, I wash her hair with it every morning before daycare for a week.

PragmaticMom said...

I blog on How To: Detect and Get Rid of Lice at http://pragmaticmom.com based on my 2x experience. I like the Olive Oil treatment (non-toxic and inexpensive), the Terminator Comb and the Robi comb.

Pragmatic Mom
Type A Parenting for the Modern World

I blog on parenting, children's lit and education

cora said...

also being a stylist I know that lice cannot hang on to dirty hair that well and like clean better! When my 24 yr was about 8 I also dealt w/ lice and I remember running out of the bathroom and leaving her in the tub crying and freaking out she had the thickest longest hair and tender headed I didnt know what to do and I was a nurse at that time! I freaked her out also so I know how you felt when you say you freaked out I'm glad I'm not the only one!LOL!

LizOwenLilyMom said...

We had a bad case of lice this year! Both my son and daughter had it. It is so much work. All the cleaning, laundry and nit picking daily. And you wouldn't think that it would get emotional but it did. I thought they would never go away! But they did. I would not wish it on worst enemy. It is awful but we did get though it. It is also hard because of the stigma involved. Everyone should know that ANYONE can get them and I am super glad that you pointed it out.

Lelee said...

My daughter had lice in Kindergarten and I still remember it as the pivotal event of the year. Take all the bedding to the laundomat and wash it yourself with hot water then bake it in the giant dryers. Get a good light and start at the nape of the neck. Use your fingernails to pick out every little bug and egg and stick it on piece of masking tape. Use the pesticide lice shampoo and just check everyday with a good lamp right under their sweet little heads. Get a BIG medicinal bag of M&Ms for the kids and you!! After the "nightmare" of lice, get a cheap can of White Rain hairspray and spray the underside of your daughter's hair. lice don't like the spray. This to shall pass and you'll never for get what a pain it was. My daughter is graduating from HS this month and I remember the lice infestation so well (and apparently we only had a few lice). Scratching my head even as I type,


LB said...

I was a jr in high school when I got lice! No clue how... but it was embarssing!!!