So my kid had head lice...

11:33:00 AM

I can think of two very valid reasons to home school my children.

1) The ability to sleep past 6AM on the weekdays.  I'd be happy with 7AM.
2) Head lice.

The the second reason is by far the biggest and most important.

Unfortunately, I've had enough experience with the dastardly little creatures, that I am seriously considering a life of complete and total seclusion from society.  I am a firm believer that the only way to easily and quickly rid your household of these unwanted visitors that always overstay their welcome is to burn all your belongings, destroy the house, move to another city, and start new.  Sadly, that's not something most normal earthlings can afford to do.  It may not be practical, but as you are stripping every bed in your house and combing out the fourth head of waist-length hair...a flame thrower seems quite appropriate, and a viable solution.

I know most of you know that I'm one of those people that tries natural solutions first - partly because I like the idea of nature and homeostasis and all that jazz - but mostly because it saves a lot of money to do things naturally - and with five kids,,,I need to find ways to save all the pennies I can.

Not an actual portrayal.  Accurate, but not actual.
In the case of our first lice episode a few years ago - kids were in a school play, everyone shared costumes, recipe for complete and total chaos - I threw the natural thinking right out the window.  I noticed them in my youngest's hair as we were sitting in church.  We'd just arrived, and I looked over and I swear I saw it run from her ear to below her hair line. Without even thinking, and in one swoop I grabbed her and the remaining four kids and swiftly walked out of the building before the opening prayer was even said.  With a look of crazy in my eye that I'm sure my husband would never like to see again, I headed straight to the local Walgreens (yes, this was definitely and Ox in the Mire moment) and spent as much money as humanly possible on every single brightly colored box that promised immediate and complete annihilation of the buggers.  I'm serious, we spent hundreds of dollars.  Sprays, creams, shampoos, special buzzing combs, name it, I threw the entire lot into my cart and bought it all.  I don't remember much from that day, I'm pretty sure I've lost most of my memory from chemical inhalation - but what I do remember is the look of fear and terror on my kids' faces as I raced through the house tearing every blanket, sheet, pillow, stuffed animal away from their surfaces, shoving them into plastic bags, dunking them into chemicals, and hoping for the best.  I'm sure there's things I could have done differently.  Flame throwers, for instance...still an option.

After days of repeating the same processes over and over again, and continually still finding the unwelcome house guests - and after spending probably close to 300 dollars on just product alone... (Yes, THREE HUNDRED and that doesn't include the cost of water or electricity or laundry soap for the multiple loads of laundry each day...or the flowers my husband had to buy me and the dinners we ate out because...well, head lice.)  After about two weeks, I decided that the guests were fully and completely eradicated.

And they were.

Until the next school year, and another school play - and ... There they were again.  Bearing their ugly little wiggly heads and itchy feet.

At this point I could have sat in a corner and balled up and cried.

Not saying I didn't.

This time, though, I had more experience, and perhaps a little more knowledge - or maybe it was just the fact that I had simply ran out of ideas and had been defeated completely and totally by something smaller than the head of my pen...either way - we went a different route.

I've determined that the only way to completely get rid of these vile little monsters is not creams, solutions, special shampoos, or sprays - but rather good old fashioned patience and persistence.  The only way to keep them gone - is a little bit of ingenuity and prevention. And good old vigilantism.

Upon discovering unwelcome head guests - here's what I did...and so far - knock on the closest non-particle board piece of furniture available - it's worked.

Step One:

Image result for magnifying glass eyeUpon discovery, immediately pull your own hair up into the sexiest messy top knot you can muster.  Put on an apron (those awesome plastic disposable ones are best), gloves, and lay down one of those cheap dollar store table cloths.  These may seem like drastic measures - but - these suckers are fast little climbers, beyond fast - they can scale your entire freaking arm in a matter of seconds - I can't help but think of the movie "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" and the scene where they are riding the ant through the back yard for some odd reason.... anyway - these measures will help you in cleanup later. Put the infected child on a stool and brush through their hair - preferably with a plastic brush or comb that can later be washed in super hot skin removing water...I run mine through the dishwasher or boil them on the stove.  Section the hair into 1/2 inch sections - and use one of those nifty lice combs starting at the scalp - and clean EVERY section, every STRAND of hair until you see no more nits or live creatures.  To aid in this, I spray a solution of rubbing alcohol and melaleuca oil  (40 drops melaleuca to 4 oz of alcohol) on the scalp and first few inches of hair.  It does sting a little - especially if they've been working there for a while.  This mixture seems to be the best way to unstick the gorilla glue that the bugs use to attach the nits to the hair strands. It dissolves it seemingly, and those little suckers don't have a chance.  If you need to use a magnifying glass - do that too. You need to make sure you get them all.  I like to also keep a bowl nearby with hot water in it to rinse out the comb between each section - eventually the bowl does fill up with a ton of dead floaters - which is both equally cool and disgusting at the same time.

Step Two:
Once you get the entire head combed through (and depending on how long your child's hair is - this could take several girls all have hair down to their wash your child's hair with shampoo and melaleuca oil.  You will want to take your regular shampoo and mix it in your hand - so a quarter sized dollop of shampoo and 4 drops melaeleuca.  Scrub their hair.  You can condition as well if you like, just make sure you again add the melaleuca to it.

Once their hair is clean, brush through with a NEW CLEAN BRUSH - don't use the one you used at the beginning of step one - "experts" will tell you that they may or may not transfer through brushes...they don't like to leave the head...blah blah blah ... I can tell you from horrible horrible experience, yes, they will crawl on brushes, and towels...and...well since I've supplied enough fodder for your nightmares, I'll move on...

BLOW DRY the hair.  Pay special attention to the scalp  because that is where they live.  Don't burn your precious child's head (this is the closest thing we are going to get to a flame thrower - sorry) but do make sure that the head and scalp are heated.  Move it around, please I beg of you - if your child says "OW! That's HOT!" move it - common sense, people - common sense.  These bugs do not like heat though, and this step is vital.  There are some "experts" that even say that the heat dehydrates them, I haven't quite seen that - but I like the thought.

Step Three:
Take all the plastic items - apron, floor covering gloves - and THROW THEM OUT - burn them - whatever makes you happy - and then change your clothing and immediately wash everything that you've used in the hottest water possible.  (In my first go round of the head lice game, I put the towel in a basket along with my clothes and then went to bed...exhausted from the emotional combing game.  When I woke up and went to wash - well - let's just say fumigating the laundry room was not fun - and I was one more basket short of a full set because I threw it away along with the creepy crawly living towels inside it.)  Mop the floors. Vacuum the carpet.  Clean the floorboards.  Spray and vacuum all the couches and chairs in your house.  Pretend your mother in law just called and said she's on her way...whatever it takes...but scrub every surface.

This is also the time for you to wash every sheet, pillow, stuffed animal - whatever.  Spray with alcohol and Melaleuca - put non-washables into the dryer with a wash rag sprayed with Melaleuca and run on high heat.  I will usually run through two cycles, just to be safe.

Add meleleuca to all of your shampoo bottles and conditioner bottles for extra measure.  Additionally, I spray my daughter's (and son)'s hair every morning with a peppermint/melaleuca spray as a preventative measure.

Step Four:
Repeat steps one and two EVERY DAY for 10 days to two weeks.  You are going to be an expert in bug and nit identification and removal.  You'll be able to spot those things from 10 feet away.  You'll know how to grab and remove in one swift motion without anyone noticing.  You'll become a lice-removing-ninja with some super sweet skills.  Also, you'll have some sweet upper body/arm strength and muscles show up.  Really.

Other advised steps:
1. Take a bubble bath - you deserve it.  Favorite book and beverage optional.

2. Find yourself some really cute shower caps and head wraps.  You'll never want your hair exposed to the public air ever again.

3. Stop scratching.  It's psycho-sematic, I swear.  If somehow you do notice that you've been invaded - find a best friend to help you through your pain.  Husbands are not helpful.  Some might be - most aren't.  If he can't find the laundry hamper sitting four feet from his pile of dirty socks - he won't see a 1/16" bug that took up residence in your hair.

4. Tell your child's school.  I know, it's embarrassing and it sucks - but, honestly, someone else came to school under invasion and that's why you are where you are today - don't wish that on any other PTA Mom - no matter how many bake sales they've required you to buy stale cookies from.

5. Most importantly - don't feel guilty, or embarrassed, or like you've been a bad mom.  Kids get colds.  They get the flu.  They get lice.  It happens.

Good luck.  God speed.  May the Force be With You.  Thank you, and Good night.

(obviously if you'd like more information on how to get some Meleleuca or peppermint, or any other essential oils, let me know  - contact me or click here.)

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