A friend just let me know that his kids have lice, so I checked and sure enough, they’re crawling all over me. Since we found this out right at bedtime I didn’t thoroughly check the kids but I found what looked like nits on Rio’s head and have to assume both girls have them too.
Meh. I hate dealing with head lice. At this point I kind of have the routine down; we’ve had them a couple of times. But it’s tedious and demoralizing and I feel icky the whole time we have them. Periodic lice infestations is totally one of my least favorite aspects of living with kids.
I’m at least as stressed about possibly giving them to someone else as I am about us having them in the first place. I’m pretty sure my kids picked them up at a slumber party last weekend, but it’s possible they had them before that. I can’t be certain. But if we’ve seen you in the past week or so, especially if we’ve snuggled you, you may want to check your own heads for lice.
- Head lice can only live on your head; you don’t have to worry about them getting into any other hair on your body.
- They’re super hard to spot, especially in thick hair.
- They’re pretty itchy.
- Women are twice as likely to get them as men.
- They die within 1-2 days if they’re not on a person.
- They’re not hardy at all; many common household chemicals will kill them. Hair bleach, for example.
To check for & treat lice, you need a good nit comb, which you have to order online or get from a hair salon – the ones at the drug store are pretty useless. Here are two I’ve used: Licemeister, Licefreee. Comb through your hair with one of these and look for a) live lice or b) tiny nits (eggs) which will be silvery and stuck to the shaft of hair. Both the lice and the nits are very small; you may want a magnifying glass to see them. You can tell the difference between nits and bits of dandruff because nits stick to your hair.
If you have lice, the two main treatments are chemical and oil-based treatments. The chemical approach is the one rec’d by the CDC; you can pick up a good pesticidal lice shampoo at any drugstore and they’re easy to use. You want to do two applications of shampoo, about 8-10 days apart.
The other approach is to suffocate lice by drenching your head in something oil-based. People use olive oil or mayonnaise or any number of things. I’ve had the best luck with Cetaphil skin cleanser, which is cheap and available at any drug store. Here are instructions for that method.
I’ve done the chemical treatment and Cetaphil treatment in conjunction with each other and that got rid of them on the kids. Lice are increasingly becoming resistant to the chemicals, and I’ve found that they don’t work great on their own.
There are a lot of other products on the market to get rid of lice; we tried a few of these and found them to be expensive and ineffective.
With my own hair I’ve taken more of a scorched earth approach and either cut it all off or bleached it or both. Bleaching gets rid of all the lice instantly, in my experience. So I’m off to turn my hair blonde & bug-free. Love you, dear readers. May this scourge never grace your houses.