It seems that there has been an outbreak of these little buggers in the general Chicago area, including my daughter's school! Last year alone we had several letters sent home... you know the one I'm talking about.... Want to inform you that there has been a reported case of lice in your child's classroom....
Well.... this year we were not able to escape it! She got lice... yuck!!
Let me start off by explaining some of the misconceptions about lice....
People who get lice are dirty: Um, no. It does NOT mean that you are dirty or unwashed... In fact, you could wash your hair a million times and these suckers would still thrive, because they can hold their breath for hours on end!
Pets carry lice: FALSE! I blamed it on the dog too until I found this out.
I'm not itchy, I must not have it: Just because you don't itch doesn't mean you don't have them.
It can be cured with over the counter shampoo: hahahaha that's an ugly lie. If you think you just need to rinse with this shampoo and your done, you need to think again. SOMETIMES this method works but if you are solely hoping for a miracle in this method you will be grossly disappointed.
Suffocate them with oil: We tried this with olive oil and a shower cap. Slept in it overnight and kept it in for a good 12 hours. I stained my pillows and my face broke out but the lice were still there.
Now let me give you the reality...
These creatures on non discriminators, they just want to populate
It's so gross
It's such a pain in the butt
You wouldn't wish this upon your evil nemesis.
Really, it's just bugs in your hair. They don't present any real threat or spread any diseases, just the concept is enough to make your skin crawl, literally.
You need to report it!! People get so ashamed and they want to hid it and the reality is, what if you did spread it? Some poor soul might now be walking around (not necessarily itching) and carry it. Now YOU are more likely to catch it, again! Serves you right if you aren't reporting it! LOL kidding! You're also doing parents a favor of not having that kid spread it to the entire family, because that is a nightmare! With lice, sharing is caring only when it comes to information, NOT HATS!
It takes time and patience to get rid of these pests. It takes a very good eye and a nit comb to successfully get them out.
That means picking each and every last one out by hand.
DAY after DAY for about a week. And then doing the process all over again just to be safe because I'm OCD about it. We did use the over the counter shampoo to at least demobilize the live bugs while we picked them out but it certainly didn't kill them all and it's reported that they have now become more resistant to the shampoo.
The first initial comb out took 5 hours per child. Get the coloring books and iPad ready. You can use hair gel or conditioner to help run the comb through so the nits come out. I mixed together coconut conditioner, peppermint oil, and tea tree oil. Tea Tree Oil acts as a repellent. Apply it to the scalp and then section off the head with bobby pins or clips. Sectioning off the head is very helpful!
Use gloves while working with conditioner or gel. Wipe your comb after EVERY run through. Remember, I said this was a pain in the butt! It's also very tedious.
Once you have gone through the entire head of hair, manually go through each section again and REALLY inspect. You will find more...promise ;).
Then give it a good shampoo and blow dry hair. It's said that heat can kill the nits. Once you have dried the hair, get into a good area where light is bright ( outside in the sun is best) and look through that head AGAIN. Pull those nits out.
The days following, make sure to check for more nits. I went through their hair twice a day and found a few stragglers. If you notices just a couple here and there you probably just missed a few in the first comb out. If you start to notice more nits then you might have missed a live bugger, which is why you will repeat the process in 8-10 days.
Don't forget to wash all jackets and bedding in hot hot water. They say a good vacuuming and housecleaning will do the trick with the rest of the house. I would recommend replacing your brush and bagging up any hair accessories for 2 weeks. Store away any stuffed animals as well and spray the back of car seats (bet you didn't think of that one).
Overall, lice won't invest a house. They need human blood to survive so they won't be hangin out anywhere else unless they happen to fall out and will shortly die after.
Nitpicker will have a new meaning to you!
Ways to prevent them from infesting or coming back...
1) Use a Tea Tree Tonic solution (also deters ticks!)
- 1 oz of Witch Hazel (can replace with another 1 oz of water)
- 1 oz of water
- 12 drops of Tea Tree Oil
- 4 drops of Peppermint oil
- 4 drops of Rosemary oil
- 4 drops of lavender oil
2) Use preventative shampoo
3) Braid long hair
4) Educate your kids on not sharing hats, scarves, hair accessories, jackets, and Girl Scouts vests!
I wish you good luck and I hope that you never ever have to experience in your household. Tree Tree is an effective repellent to discourage those nesters from taking up a home in your child's head. It also helps with ticks, too. So if you are going for a hike or CAMPING, spray some of the tea tree tonic on before you go out!