We Got Lice Again

This is super magnified picture from the internet.  I could not zoom in close enough with my phone to take a picture.  The actual dozen I found were smaller than the smallest one in this picture.

This took courage to share.  But my hope in sharing is to help another mama or parent not feel alone when their little one starts to itch. 🙂  I know I have often felt alone in this struggle because lice is not openly talked about.  There is a stigma and shame about this super common childhood parasite.

I had asked my daughter if I could share this and she first asked, “Will __________(her friend)’s mom read it?”  It was her fear that school friends would find out.  I told her that I doubt they would tell their child about it.  She is fine with me sharing.  I am proud of her, she even shared in class that she found lice over the break.

My goal in blogging/sharing is always to encourage and empower.  But there is the fear with transparency- will they judge or criticize me?  But to be honest,  we all have people who stand in judgement of us and criticize us whether we live our life transparent or not.  Jesus who was totally perfect and sinless had lots of critics and enemies so for us as flawed humans to expect anything less would be silly.

So last night we got home from the church at 10pm (renovating etc) and my oldest asked me to check her itchy head.  We got a winner!  So I pulled off eggs and live guys til after midnight.  Jeremy was going to check my hair after but I told him to just sleep.  I said, “If I do have lice, they aren’t going anywhere” 🙂 and I don’t plan on sharing my brush with the other kids.  I would prefer other ways to spend my evening with my hubby instead of like monkeys picking bugs off each other.  Younger 2 kids have no eggs or live guys.  Yes!  So just me and Jeremy are left to check.

Our last lice adventure was a few years ago. Here are some info about lice:

  • “It’s difficult to prevent the spread of head lice among children in child care and school settings. There’s so much close contact among children and their belongings that lice can spread easily. It’s no reflection on your hygiene habits or those of your children, and it’s not a failure on your part as a parent if your child gets head lice.” (Mayo clinic)
  • Head lice are most common among girls aged 5 to 11 but can affect almost anyone; infestations are rare in blacks. Head lice are easily transmitted from person to person with close contact (as occurs within households and classrooms) and may be ejected from hair by static electricity or wind; transmission by these routes (or by sharing of combs, brushes, and hats) is likely but unproved. There is no association between head lice and poor hygiene or low socioeconomic status.” (from MerckMauals)
  • They are blood sucking parasites that do not fly or jump.  They need a host to live and die within 24 hours off of the head.
  • They can be uber tiny (smaller than the ticks I have found on my family).  They are kinda clear with some black on their body.

So now to the practical– how we are dealing with this recent incident of lice.

  1. We don’t buy the pesticide stuff anymore.  Last time I still found live ones even after shampooing with the poison (pregnant women are not to use it- I’m not prego but  don’t want that stuff on my kids since the skin absorbs 60% of whatever you put on it)
  2. The best thing is to wash hair and comb through while wet.  Or you can spray stuff on it, let it dry and search/pick through.  You can buy some hippy stuff that is natural-I got that, Licefree Spray  The fine tooth metal comb is best.  So I brush through it all and rinsing comb often but if I see a live one- I pinch it and pull it off the strand or use the comb.  It usually sticks to my fingernail even after dipping finger in the bowl of water and dawn.  So I use a saftey pin to get it into the water.  I know if I find an egg, I just plucked the hair instead of pulling the whole strand out.
  3. This time we found it is best to sit on the floor in a well lit room.  I had my daughter lay and put her head in my lap and I just meticulously combed and looked through it all.  It took about an hour and a half.  But it can take several hours with thick hair.  There is a special lamp called a Woods lamp that doctors use.  I seriously may buy one for next time because with 3 school age kids there is likely a next time.  **another helpful position so my neck isnt killing after hours of looking down- I had her lay on her bed with head near edge and I was on my knees so I did not have to look down as much.
  4. I wash the pillowcases and towels.  I only wash the sheets of the infected child.  Here is a super interesting article on why you don’t have to go crazy with cleaning.  Best advice
  5. I will likely vacuum couches but I don’t feel it is a must. 
Some things I said to my kids:

My daughter said, “Mama, I am sorry. ”  I then told her, “This is not your fault nor the kid who you may have got it from (there was a recent case in her class).  Lice is normal and happens to many kids.
“This will likely not be our last time. “
“Girls 5-11 yrs. are most likely to get it so this is totally normal.”
“We will get them all, don’t worry.”
“Please remember to not borrow brushes or hair things.” 🙂
I made sure not to whine and complain that my neck hurt from staring down at her scalp forever or about the extra laundry etc.  That is my normal tendency but I don’t want to make them feel bad.  I don’t want them to feel guilt or shame.  If I were to gripe- just makes it all worse.  So I am trying to suck it up, smile and be grace filled.  
So don’t worry – we can still receive hugs, have people over to our home,  kids can still play dress up etc.  It is mostly passed by head to head contact (so don’t rub your forehead to an infested person’s forehead :), or sharing personal hair care stuff or sharing of objects that come it direct prolonged hair contact like hats etc.
I am open to any questions.  I am totally not an expert just experienced.
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