Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam
Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam

Monday, May 28, 2007

A Lousy Tale

A belated Happy Mother's Day to all...

We invited Doug's and my parents and various and assorted other family to our house for a barbeque.

What we didn't know on that day was that we had scores of other unwanted and uninvited guests on hand.

Two days after Mother's Day, Sean's head was itching to the point of being painful so he went to the nurse's office. She found a burgeoning population of head lice living in his thick locks.

Steven was called to the office and more lice were found. Sean's class and Steven's class were also examined and the boy sitting next to Sean also had them.

So, home they came. I picked the up at school and drove straight to the drugstore. We bought Nix, an insecticidal creme rinse and all three of us washed and applied the creme rinse to our hair carefully according to the package instructions.

The nurse never found any lice on my head but the moment I saw what was living on the heads of my boys and remembered that the night before the boys had been lying in our bed watching a movie my head started itching like crazy.

Then we started washing everything that anyone in our house had ever touched in hot water. Bedspreads, blankets, towels, hats, everything.

Pillows and things that couldn't be washed were put in sealed plastic bags out in the garage.

Then we moved all the furniture and vaccuumed everything. Our house has never been cleaner.

Unfortunately, the insecticidal creme rinse we used (Nix) didn't work. That night and the next morning, despite many thorough combings, the lice on Steven's and Sean's heads showed no inclination to pull up stakes.

I was advised by the school to repeat the insecticide treatment but applying chemicals to my kids' heads that require me to wear gloves didn't seem right, especially after those chemicals didn't seem to have any effect.

I looked for information on the internet on how to rid them of the pesky little critters and found more information than I could process, mayonnaise, olive oil, tea tree and other essential oils, butter, vaseline, if we'd tried all of them it would have taken us weeks.

A neighbor who had been through this told us that Listerine had worked for them.

The pediatrician said no more pesticides and suggested this treatment using Cetaphil to smother them.

So I shampooed their heads again and rinsed with Listerine, put on shower caps and let it sit for 2 hours, then rinse.

That evening we washed them yet again and did the Cetaphil treatment, basically in involves thoroughly saturating your dry hair with 8 oz. of Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser, combing it out and without rinsing you blow it dry. It suffocates the lice but it takes patience.

The Cetaphil did the trick for Steven and he passed the nurse inspection, but Sean still didn't pass.

Steven's hair was easy to deal with because radiation has left his hair sparse, the good side of having little hair is that it's easy to see the whole scalp. Sean was another story, and he was desperate to get back to school so he could participate in a math competition he'd been working toward.

So I bought a hair trimmer and cut Sean's hair short, then went back to the Listerine treatments and the next day his head was pronounced clean and he was able to attend the math competition.

We're not sure where the lice came from, but there have been numerous outbreaks at their school this year. Then there's Little League and helmet-sharing...

Steven and Sean have their own baseball helmet that the two of them share. Unfortunately, before we found out they had head lice, another boy used to share it sometimes too and he and his sister both have head lice also.

I'm treating myself as well, despite nobody being able to find lice in my hair, I'm not convinced.

And Listerine isn't as bad as I would have thought. It aids combing and once it's dry it doesn't smell as strongly as I would have imagined.

We're pooped. We already had a full schedule and really didn't have the extra time needed to wash our hair twice a day and a dozen loads of clothes and linens every day. But who needs sleep?

Two weeks later we're still being diligent, taking nothing for granted. I'm down to washing the bedding twice a week, but every day after their shower we're spraying their heads with Listerine and combing with a lice comb.

Our heads may smell minty-fresh, but at least they're no longer full of blood-sucking parasites.

- Kathleen


Blogger Joeffrey said...

Where did that head lice came from? Is there any way to stop them? coz it’s kind of annoying when they are living on you, your scalp will be itchy and sometimes you can’t concentrate on your works. The most things are when I was in a meeting and in front of my co investors I scratch my head and I can’t stop it coz it’s so itchy.

January 13, 2011 11:07 AM  
Anonymous Susan Roper said...

The thought of my kids getting lice again makes my skin crawl. Now
I use 2 products from ClearLice - One is for treatment and one is for prevention. They work very quickly and I am pleased with the results.

May 18, 2016 7:03 AM  

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