July 16, 2014

I HATE Head Lice

and yes I am aware that hate is a strong word but let me state it again in case you missed it...I HATE  head lice. You may remember me saying in my last post that 9 days ago (no I have not forgotten how many days I have been living this nightmare) I found lice in Natalie's hair. Today is the first day these little buggers have not consumed me and made me an emotional mess. Let me start at the beginning. There are no pictures of the first 7 days because the words blog and pictures were the last thing I was thinking about so just create your own pictures if you want.

A little before the July 4th holiday I noticed Natalie scratching at her head a little more than usual but I didn't think much of it at the time. Then she started commenting that her head was itchy and since she wears her hair up most of the time I told her to just take her pony out and maybe that would help. I also thought since it had been warmer out maybe she was just a little more sweaty than usual. Then on July 7th Natalie woke up from her nap and came out scratching her hair. It was not hot out. Her hair had been down the whole day. Could she possibly have head lice? I had her come over to the window so I could take a look and my tummy become a ball of knots when I saw all sorts of little white looking things attached to her hair. As I walked to the computer to log onto Dr. Google I prayed we were not dealing with head lice. Our kids shower daily. Their hair has never looked cleaner since we stopped using shampoo. My kids don't go anywhere to even be able to use someone else's comb, pillow or hat. Please God this can not be what I think it is.

Oh how wrong I was. Did you know that lice actually like clean hair? I didn't but I have earned a PhD in lice over the last 9 days so ask me anything and I bet I have the answer. Lice can hold their breathe for 2 hours under water. A dryer on high heat will kill lice in 10 minutes. Colored nits are eggs waiting to hatch. White nits have already hatched. Those dang nits attach themselves to hair like glue. Lice can not lay eggs immediately once hatched, they must become adults first. Lice are fast little buggers and can move along hair faster than I ever imagined. They can only live with a blood source. Once they can not feed off the scalp they die withing 24-48 hours. Pets can not carry lice. There are over the counter products to treat lice but 80% of cases are now resistant to it because of how much it is used, telling us this is a widespread problem. I am sure you are all jealous of all this new found info I have obtained but don't be because I have laid awake more nights than I care to remember in tears because I have had no idea how to eradicated these dang bugs from my house.

As soon as Dr. Google filled me in that we were dealing with a case of head lice the first thing I did was start stripping all of our bedding, pillows, towels, stuffed animals and everything went into the hottest setting on my washer and dryer. Of course I was still recovering from my surgery and not lifting anything yet and Paul was gone overnight for a work conference. Thank goodness my mother in law was here to help save us. I spoke with the pediatricians office in regards to how to treat the lice and also how to not share this with every member of our family. After I got the tuna casserole made I headed off to Target and picked up 3 boxes of Rid, a box of brownie mix and a half gallon of mint chip ice cream. The wine was already cooling in the wine fridge. I treated both Natalie and Aubrey with Rid since they shared swim caps and then checked everyone else for evidence of lice taking up residency in their hair. Thank goodness I did not find anything. Over the next day everything got washed, vacuumed and sterilized.

The beginning of the bed washing. I kept adding to this pile so for many hours it didn't look like we were making any progress.
The next day I was paranoid about these bugs I had found in my daughter's hair so I treated her hair with Rid again. I felt so creepy crawly and totally violated. I also felt like an awful mother and couldn't believe I had not caught this sooner. The only place we can figure that Natalie picked this up because of our lack of going anywhere this summer with other people is VBS. It was cowboy themed this year and there was one evening in which the kids shared bandanas back and forth. I could be wrong but that is the only thing we can come up with.

The following day I felt like I had been transformed into a monkey because all I did was constantly check kid after kid for new cases of lice, I decided I would just treat our entire family with Rid. It is amazing to me how once lice is in your house your head starts itching like crazy! Fast forward a couple days and I felt we had a control of the situation. In theory we had killed all the live lice in Natalie's hair. Combed out and picked all the unhatched nits from her hair. And treated everyone else in our family. I was just waiting until tomorrow (Thursday) when we were suppose to treat our entire family once more with the overly expensive Rid. But than last Sunday evening I noticed Natalie starting to scratch more than she had been. She was miserable and could not keep from itching during an entire family movie night so I had her tip her head into my lap and I became a momma chimp again. What I found was more white nits in her hair which meant there were more live lice that had been hatched. I was frustrated and felt like a complete failure. I found myself on the computer again and searching for anything new that I had not read already. I told Paul I needed to start nit combing her hair again and I needed him to go get a magnify glass so we could really see what was going on in her hair. We started this comb out at 8pm (she usually goes to bed at 7) and it took us two hours to comb her hair out. By going half inch sections at a time I found more colored nits than I thought could possibly be in her hair but did not see any live lice but then Paul showed up with the magnifier and a flood light and in the first area we looked a live bug stared back at me and taunted me. I was one unhappy mom at this moment. How could these f**k**s still be alive? Paul and I started going strand by strand searching for colored nits or lice the size of a sesame seed or smaller. About 1/4 of the way into her hair I started crying. I had no idea how we were going to do this. How would we know where we had searched? How would we know we got them all? Why did I have to put my daughter through this? Thankfully between the iPad and a Popsicle Natalie endured 4 hours of us combing and picking at her hair with only about 15 minutes of her wanting to throw in the towel. Finally at midnight we told her we were done. She showered for the second time, got new jammies and clean sheets and was so excited to crawl into bed. I was emotionally exhausted and so while Paul sat and had doritos with salsa I went to bed. I wish I had slept but instead I wanted to cry because I had no idea how we would ever get rid of this lice problem.

In the morning I woke to a message via facebook from my old neighbor who had a friend that had used a lice specialist when faced with this exact thing and she had given me the phone number for them. Eight o'clock could not get here fast enough so I could give her a call. In the meantime I tried to figure out how one becomes a lice specialist. Do they grow up wanting to be that? Not to sure there are many preschoolers who say when they grow up they want to be pick lice out of hair. I thought it was bad when Aubrey came home and wanted to be a garbage sanitation worker but I think lice specialist may have topped that one. Deanna, aka Super Lice Lady, from Sacramento Lice Removal Services called me back and after telling her what was going on she booked us for the next morning to come to our house to check all of us for lice and then to treat Natalie. Tuesday morning could not get here fast enough.


At the beginning of the school year I bought Fairy Tales shampoo and conditioner which is to help prevent against lice. Towards the end of the year we ran out and I never ordered more off of Amazon. I can guarantee we will never run out again.
Drew being checked for lice by Deanna.
That afternoon Aubrey came to me and told me that behind her ears and the back of her neck were itchy. I literally wanted to cry once again with those words because those two areas are the most loved places for lice to be. Sure enough she now had nits and I got to spend another two hours of my day combing nits and lice out of her and Natalie. At one point while I was being momma chimp again Aubrey started to cry and told me she had wanted lice because Natalie had gotten special privileges but she no longer wanted them. Our life at this point was miserable and by the end of the evening my own head itched like crazy and I could not wait for Deanna to arrive the next morning because I was sure I was also filled with lice.   

A head full of nits ready to be evacuated.

This girl has endured more hair combings this last week and has amazed me with her positive attitude during everything we had to do. She never once complained that it wasn't fair.
Adios lice!!
Thank goodness that when Deanna came she only found nits and lice in Aubrey and Natalie. The rest of us were clean and that was the best news I had heard in 8 days. In 3.5 hours the Super Lice Lady was able to check 9 of us and remove all nits and lice from the girls. She also left us with products to use and a good nit comb instead of the cheap plastic one we got from the Rid box. Let me just tell you that it was the best $310 I have spent in a long time. Yes it sounds like a lot of money but knowing all these nasty bugs were gone was the best feeling in the world.

The babies were more than happy to watch Deanna from a distance because no one except Kenzie thought too highly of her service.
We are not done treating the girls yet. We will still put natural products in the girls hair and use the nit comb every night this week and then every other night next week to make sure that nothing was missed. And after this experience we have decided to run the nit comb through all the kids hair every night just like a regular brush after baths. This will allow us to get out any louse that may end up  attaching themselves to any of the kids hair during the day when playing with other kids. If we get them out before they lay eggs we should never have this kind of problem again. We will also use a tea tree oil spray on the kids hair every day before they go to school. Some may say I am taking this all a little too serious but going through this once has been one of the most trying times as a mom for me and I will not be allowing those critters back into my house again.                 

Getting this did humble me though because when the girls started school we got a note home saying the kids had been exposed to someone with lice. I was floored because here we are sending our kids to a private school that is not cheap and we have to deal with these kind of problems that I would expect to see in a  public school. Oh how naive and wrong I was. I now realize this is a problem we all can find ourselves in no matter what our income or hygiene levels are. If we do find ourselves with lice again I can guarantee you I will not be wasting money on over the counter products but will be calling in the lice specialist. I never knew they existed but I am so glad someone has been called to do it. Today when I treated the girls hair I think I grinned ear to ear because it was the first time in a week and a half that I did not find a nit or lice in my daughters' hair because in case you forgot I hate those things.                      

5 comments:

  1. This sounds like my experience when we thought we had bed bugs. It turned out that we did not, but in the two weeks when we were trying to figure everything out, I became a bed bug expert, and I still enforce a strict bed bug protocol when we come home from trips. My husband thinks I am crazy, but I remember reading how hard those dang things are to get rid of, and I never want to have to worry about it again or actually go through it.

    Now it sounds like I should be worrying about lice too. Can you write a post about how to avoid it from your new-found knowledge?

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  2. I started itching as soon as I started reading. Glad you were able to get things under control. Must have been stressful to stop the spread. Hang in there! I really enjoy your blog and all you share with your readers. However, intentional or not the comments about the "public school" was a bit insensitive. Public and private school kids will all be together in the "real world" one day. Adjustment is a lot easier if they don't feel entitled.

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  3. So sorry, Krista! Last thing you needed to deal with! Lisa just told me and I had to look up your blog. We've had Fairy Tales products in the house since our niece had a recurrent infestation years ago. I'm thinking that was about the same time another local family with multiples had a recurrent outbreak as well. We've been lucky with our 2. Ever since preschool, I've infused the kids' normal shampoos/conditioners/detanglers with Rosemary essential oil(which is the main ingredient in Fairy Tales) at the start of the school year. I'm dreading the year I forget...because I know that's when it will strike the Baumeisters! Good excuse to skip daily hair washing those first few weeks of school, I guess?

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  4. I was itching at the word lice. I hate that you dealt with it, but it was eye opening. In the school system we always have a few families with chronic lice and the schools provide Rid yet lice is chronic. Most school staff judges these families and assumes they don't use the rid, but it sounds nearly implied let to really get rid of the buggers without a specialist which our families cannot afford, and likely they don't know about preventative measures. I want to start the tea tree oil now!

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  5. Sad, but true. Head lice is one problem that 6 to 12 million children have to deal with every year. Fortunately, there are a lot of lice removal solutions nowadays that are made to terminate head lice for good. I just hope one of those solutions worked out for you, so you don’t have to deal with it over and over again. Take care!

    Camille Ramsey @ LicePro

    ReplyDelete

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