Lice…yep, we earned our badge

Thursday, July 26, 2012

While we were on the 12+ hour road trip to Lawrenceburg, TN, I noticed Mari was scratching her head more than what would be considered normal. (Wait, what? You drove 12+ hours in a car with your kids? Yeah and in a Honda Civic, no less. More on that another time.)

When we arrived at my in-laws, I took a deep breath and did a check. Yep, I found 1 little bastard and my heart sank. My sister-in-law spotted some nits and really showed me what to look for. (Thank you Amy!!!) She wasn’t grossed out by it and didn’t get the heebie geebies either. She may not have realized how much that helped my sanity. Seriously, thank you!

To note:
  1. The first question people will ask you is “Where did she get it?” To which, I wanted to say, I don’t really think that’s the issue at hand. She has ‘em, the better question is how do we get rid of them?
  2. Yes, how do you get rid of them? Well, you have to ask yourself do you want to go a more natural route or do you want the chemicals?
  3. You will feel instantly itchy all over your body, especially your head. It’s normal and you might not have lice yourself, especially if you have a shaved head.
  4. Be prepared to drop some money and spend several hours attacking them.
Don and I loaded up into our car, headed in to town and stocked up on supplies. For us, we wanted a multi-prong attack. We wanted the heavy stuff, the natural stuff, prevention for everyone else. The pharmacy tech was so very nice and helpful. She gave us a look that was the equivalent of a hug and told us good luck. We appreciated the sentiment.

left to right:
  • Licefreee with tea tree oil which is a shampoo+conditioner to wash everyone’s hair after the treatment.
  • Lice Treatment which is the actual chemical stuff, but said it was safe to use on babies 2 months plus (we didn’t treat the Sugarbaby. She was and has been lice free.)
  • Stop Lice shampoo for the other family members who might have been infected.
  • Stop Lice In-home spray to spray down the couches, carpets, car seats, etc
  • Combs
Not pictured: Jar of mayonnaise, bottle of olive oil, lice shield leave in spray
This is a accurate representation of our daughters’ hair:

The Sugarbaby has very little light and thin hair. What she has is curly. The Sugarbean has long and curly hair. It can get unruly and wild like our child. She LOOOVES her hair and prefers it long. Cutting her hair was not an option. Oh and she’s 4.

This is what we did (took us about 5-6 hours):

First thing, we took a deep breath. Then, we sat her down and explained what we were going to have to do and how long it would take. That she would have to sit still like a statue for long periods of time, but we would give her breaks. That one louse I’d found, after I killed it, I showed it to her. She’s a very visual person, like me, and I knew it would help her to put it all together. After we talked with her, we asked her if she understood. In her words, “Yes, Mommy. You have to kill the bugs in head because they are biting me and making me itchy and I don’t want to be itchy because I don’t like the bugs and I need you to kill them. No bug party in my head! I am ready, but don’t cut my hair. I’ll be brave, I promise.” Admittedly, I got a bit choked up.

We took the Knot Genie and ran it through her hair to get all of the tangles out. After brushing, we tossed it into a bowl of water that had just been boiled and set on the counter for cooling. The water was hot enough to sterilize the brush, but not enough to melt the plastic.

Then, we went to wash her hair in the tub. We lathered and scrubbed and lathered and scrubbed. She wore her bathing suit during this process, only because she wanted to. we figured it was easiest considering the multiple rinses we would have to do. After the allotted time, we rinsed and noticed some of the carcasses rinsing out.

We went to a well lit area and proceeded to comb through her hair to pick out the nits. I was on one side and Don* on the other. Both of us working as best as we could. During this time, we gave her the iTouch and put on her favorite movie. She would naturally have to look down to watch the movie (Tinkerbell!). That part took us nearly an entire movie. We took a break and let her shake out her neck. *Yes, we are a good team. He was there with me helping me pick through all of that hair. Thanks babe!

Then I drizzled a cup of warm olive oil on her scalp, giving her a scalp massage. She didn’t like this one. We rinsed her off and combed through. The olive oil made her hair really lubricated and somewhat difficult to see anything. At this point, I decided to go ahead and do the mayo.

So I took about 2 cups worth and filled my hands. I worked it into her scalp. It was cold and squishy, but she didn’t mind this at all. Then, I took a plastic sack and wrapped it around her head and kept it tied up like a bonnet. She looked like a small Amish girl, like we'd seen earlier in our visit! We let it process for 2 hours. Essentially, the olive oil is supposed to help release the nits from the hair fibers. The mayo would work the same way too. The plastic sack would help suffocate them. The heat from her head would also work in her favor.

When I took the bag off her head, I noticed a small group of dead bugs at the nape of her neck. Like they were trying to escape or something. ewwwww...I’m not gonna lie. It grossed me out. But I took comfort in knowing that it was working! We rinsed it all out again. I used the 2nd bottle of treatment on her head, waited the time, then rinsed again.

Then, I began to comb through her hair again to pick out any nits that we might have missed. Then, I braided her hair tightly and put a reminder in my calendar to do the treatment again in 10 days.
We then put all of the tools in that hot water and sealed them in plastic bags. When we got home, all of the stuff animals and pillows were put into plastic bags in the garage. This is where having lice in the summer works in our favor. We’ve been having 100+ weather and in a car and a garage, that heat will kill any lingering eggs. VERY GRATEFUL for that.

10 days, I got the alarm and checked her head and yes, found 1 single louse and 3 nits. Off to the mayonnaise and tea tree oil. Again with washing the linens. We didn’t take any stuffed animals out of their bags. They’d still been in the garage. This time, I wrapped her hair in saran wrap and opted to put some mayo in my hair because, well, it needed a conditioning treatment and I didn’t want her to be alone. There we sat having a beauty day. Painting nails and hanging out. I rinsed off our hair, dried it, then combed it out.

I also took a flat-iron to her hair. The first time, ever for her. I figured the heat from the flat iron would also help kill any lingering eggs. I mean it couldn’t hurt, right? She felt fancy with her straight hair! It took me about an hour. Whoa, this whole thing is a lesson in patience!

Since that last treatment, I’ve sprayed her hair morning and night with tea tree oil. Brushed every night, treated the brush and comb, and braided the hair tightly. So far, so good.

Keep the toys bagged for at least 10 days.

Eggs can’t survive for longer than 10 days.

Kill the source.

It only takes one female to lay an ungodly amount of eggs. Familiarize yourself with the lifecycle of them and know where in the cycle the louse is and the eggs, too (like when they will hatch).

Treat all things you can’t wash.

This includes car seats, favorite dolls, combs, brushes, etc..

Have patience.

It’s bound to happen. It’s ok to be grossed out. Be sure to notify anyone that your child may have come into contact, so they are aware.

Talk to your friends and use the Internet, too. I couldn’t believe all of the support we received. It was really great! And if you found this because you are going through it, then good luck!! Hugs!

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