Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I know, that's  not a nice word.  After five years of school and multiple notices sent home about kids in her class having them, Zoe finally got lice.

The stigma that only dirty children get lice isn't really hanging on anymore.  Although it must be a little because the information sheet sent home from school states lice has nothing to do with cleanliness or economic status. As a matter of fact, lice like clean hair to dirty hair.  A mom I know successfully prevented lice by washing their daughter's hair once a week.

When I was in grade school in the information sent home covered no less than five pages and advised washing ALL bedding in the house, ironing mattresses and throwing away hats.

Now, parents are given one sheet of information stating the only actions needed are treatment with an over-the-counter shampoo + removal of nits via lice comb, washing bedding in hot water, vacuuming of rugs and furniture and sealing stuffed animals in zip top bags for ten days.

There are also several homeopathic treatments to be found online including tea tree oil, castor oil, mayonnaise, olive oil and using only the fine tooth comb.  All of these require more than one application and can take a number of days to get rid of all the nits.  

Until the mid-1990s the only books available with information about lice were medical texts or studies by entomologists.  Since then, several books have been written directed at parents and teachers.  All of them tell moms and dads that lice are just something kids get, like colds or skinned knees.  I'm honestly surprised we haven't had to deal with them before today.

And dealing with them is a pain in the ass.  I can see why there are shops opening up that do lice treatments.  It's looks just like a place where you would take your child for a haircut, but they apply the treatments and do the combing. 

It involves a shampoo applied to dry hair, left for ten minutes, washed out, a second treatment applied to one inch sections prior to combing out the dead lice and nits, then a final rinse.  Surprisingly, her hair is wonderfully soft after all that!  

I do have to say that Zoe was very good while I put the goo in her hair and combed out nits section by section. Another challenge for me is that Zoe's scalp is flaky,  making it hard for me to tell if I've gotten all the little critters out or if it's just flakes. 

The really fun part was calling my neighbors, whose children were at my house yesterday, to tell them the big news.  Hey, how you doin'?  My kid has bugs.  (Bugs is a fun word to say. Bugs bugs bugs.)

The Hip Housewife and the Hip Husband are going to be checking each others hair tonight, a form of intimacy they haven't experienced before.  They'll also be learning the real meaning of the word "nit pick".

I'm off to soak hairbrushes!

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  If you are a brunette, you can give your hair a coffee rinse to increase shine and deepen the color temporarily.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We went through it a number of times, and if you think it is fun with 2 kids you should imagine it with 5 *grin* (well, I can *grin* now, anyway...)

The treatments of the kids were never the problem, it was the washing of all the bedding and treating all the sofa pillows and cushions and places where the kids would lie around.

And the fact that, no matter what you find or don't find, your own scalp itches for days and days and days.