Tuesday, May 13, 2008

lice are lousy all the time

My friend C called me from her cell phone on her way to daycare, breathless, to say she was going to be in my driveway any minute. I was in pjs and making pancakes, and suddenly worried why she wasn't calling 911 instead.

Something was clearly wrong.

Turned out, she needed me to take a look at her girls' noggins. She needed me, the resident Lice Queen, to check.

They were spared. Lucky them.

But today I want to give you some of my hardearned nitpicking tactics, just in case those suckers come a knockin'.

(I see you giving me the stink eye. I didn't say I want you to suffer, I just know how prevalent headlice is. Think of it as a public service announcement.)

  • *If you have kids in daycare or school, familiarize yourself with their policy. This seems obvious, but hear me out. Our district's policy is for every family to check their kids heads at least 2x a week. Before we had our fall from grace, I read this to mean: Start checking heads when we tell you there's been an outbreak. Sadly, I was wrong. Our school doesn't check heads and doesn't tell you squat. In our district, the responsibility rests completely on the parents.

  • *Know what to look for. Pay attention to the area behind the ears and the neck. This was my big error; I didn't know where to look.
  • *If you do have an infestation, take heart. Many sauve women have gone before you. It won't last forever. Pinky swear.
  • *Start chugging the caffeine, because that first day is exhausting. (I wouldn't get drunk just yet. Too many details.) You will need to vacuum and wash just about everything in hot water (bedding, coats, clothes) while simultaneously checking every family members' head and in your spare time (heh), you will need to treat the lice and nits ASAP. Stock up on stimulants: You will be on head check patrol for a couple weeks, no joke. (We also bagged up a herd of baby dolls and stuffed animals. They took a little trip to the garage. There was no way I could hot water wash them all.)

  • free at last

  • *Then again, bear in mind, lice are a pain, but they aren't imbued with magical abilities. They can't jump around. They don't strategize. Focus on the infested head, and you'll get through it.
  • *Now for my treatment experience: I treated with naturopathic Lice Freee twice. (Smells good, with anise oil.) Checked twice daily. A couple came back a few weeks later, right after we got back from Disneyland. (I nearly cried.) Second round: I tried RID, which didn't work and caused Lexi's eyes to nearly swell shut. Fun times. I used LiceMD next. I LOVED it. It is goopy and it sprays off the comb and ruined my t-shirt, but I don't care. It removed nits I couldn't see with a light and magnifying glass. We've been good now for a several weeks. (Zack had it too, early on. His short hair was treated easily with Lice Freee.)
  • *Keep it light. We borrowed the Buffy boxset from our dear Jen the morning we started the treatment; Lexi picked out her favorite episodes while I applied gunk and gave her a little pedicure. It helped keep the "I am icky" feelings at bay.

Hopefully posting this will somehow keep us safe from the buggers. I'm superstitious like that.

If that fails, well, I am here to hold your hand. Sometimes I'm good like that.

(I am struggling with Blogger today. It dropped half my post earlier; then the picture. I don't know how it will show up if you're using a reader. So sorry!)


MamaBird said...

Total public service. My DD came home with a suspected case at 3 (I was like 8 months pregnant mind you) and her school freaked out so badly they mandated the RID shampoos, nitpicking etc etc even though I swear it was just sandbox sand. Anyways, I only went through that first day of washing everything in sight (the real grueling laundry experience I had was with thrush, shiver me timbers) but my heart so goes out to you and anyone else we love dealing with those horrid little critters.

Jennifer H said...

At our school, they won't even send home a letter until THREE CASES in the same classroom have been reported.

Three, at the same time. Can you imagine how much overlapping there is? And there could be a running infestation, with maybe 2 kids at a time, but the school can't do anything until there are 3. It's ridiculous.

That said, we've dodged the bullet so far, but I'm glad for the advice since I'm sure our turn will come eventually.

Thanks for all the tips! (And maybe just commenting will keep them at bay...fingers crossed)

flutter said...

lice skeeves me out SO BAD. It's like the closest thing to real, live cooties as you can get. Other than crabs, but for some reason I don't see friends calling you on the ol cellular to check for those....

Daisy said...

Thank you SO MUCH for this great post! I just checked Gorby and we're in the clear. So far, we've dodged the lice bullet (5 1/2 and 4 yr now) but it never hurts to keep vigilant. Thanks for the tips. I hope we never need them!

Beck said...

LICE SUCK. And they are CONSTANTLY getting spread around my kids' small rural school, which is nasty. But I check my kids every night before bed and SO far, we've only ever had a few nits, which a lice comb took care of.
I have a nightmarish story about a case of lice completely out of control in some poor toddler I used to know, but it's just too awful. ICK.

Mrs. G. said...

Thank you for this very timely post. You are now known, in my mind, as the Nit Queen. I'm trying to keep a sense of humor about it, but...

Minnesota Matron said...

You know -- I'm going to check everyone's heads twice a week. What a terrific idea. Now my head itches (behind the ears!). We went through this two years ago and I live in FEAR total FEAR of lice.

stephanie said...

I'm so relieved that lice are not imbued with magical abilities...That is an awesome phrase, my dear.

But seriously, I do picture them leaping and "strategizing" so it's good to have a level-headed voice of experience telling me the contrary.

I will bookmark your words of wisdom. But will still probably call you in a panic anyway if we get them. FYI

Tootsie Farklepants said...

If lice enters my house I will burn it to the ground.

K. said...

The Buffy box set distraction was a stroke of genius, you clever thing, you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to this title I'll be singing this all damn day.

Luckily, I love the song.

Jenny, the bloggess

PS. Your blog hates me and won't let me post as me.