Before we begin, some disclaimers:
#1: If The Internet brought you to this specific post after you typed a desperate plea for help into a search engine, you should probably click away. There’s no medical advice here or even any expert advice on the subject of horrifying bugs who hop from head to head, terrorizing mothers across the country. If you want to talk about decluttering, I’m your girl. But this post is just the story of a hyper-paranoid mother’s personal experience.
#2: While I often, over the course of these events, felt moments of intense exhaustion, despair and self-pity, those moments were always followed by a realization that what happened in our home is NOT the worst thing that could happen. Many parents have experienced real tragedies and fought real health battles.
#3: #2 is true, but it was still awful.
#4: This post contains affiliate links. I lived my nurst wightmare. Monetizing it makes it sting a little less.
The Story of my Nurst Wightmare:
It all began on a Friday afternoon.
I had allowed 45 minutes to clean up the house. You’d better believe I had future blog posts running through my head. And they were good ones. I was going to talk about how far I’d come over the past almost-five years of this deslobification process. How it was a big deal that I could make a real dent in only 45 minutes in the middle of an ultra-crazy week.
I was also proud of how I’ve changed my way of thinking enough that I was willing to let my kid have a random slumber party.
See, about a month before, I’d actually brought it up to my 12yo. His group of friends is always spending the night at someone’s house. I said that we should host soon. I even mentioned a date.
And then forgot.
So when he reminded me TWO DAYS BEFORE (after he’d already invited his friends), I stifled my initial reaction and said “Sure!”
I called a friend with whom I’d recently made an if-your-boys-have-a-sleepover-send-your-girl-to-our-house deal and explained the last-minute-but-not-really-last-minute situation.
She said, “Sure!” and I made my daughter’s
day week year when I told her she was going on her VERY FIRST sleepover of her entire life. I’d made her wait until she turned 8, so this was a VERY big deal.
After 45 minutes of cleaning, I drove to school to pick up a Suburban-load of kids and brought them home. I hugged my daughter good-bye and then put out snacks in the dining room while I finished cleaning up in the kitchen.
And then I sat down.
And noticed I had a message.
It was from my daughter’s school nurse.
Something about a girl in her class having lice, and she found “nits” in my daughter’s hair.
And that right there, folks, is my
nurst wightmare worst nightmare.
I couldn’t breathe. The thing I’d feared for all my years of parenting, the thing I’d assumed would send me straight to the looney-bin, the thing I couldn’t imagine I’d ever be competent to deal with . . . had happened.
And my daughter was at her very first sleepover of her entire life.
And my house was full of other people’s children.
I called Hosting-my-Daughter Friend. I texted Nurse Friend.
Hosting Friend was much calmer than I was. She’d dealt with this plague before and lived.
Nurse Friend was nice. She offered to check all of our hair. I didn’t think I’d know what to look for and was petrified to try. I also wanted to have all my guest boys checked before I sent them home.
Because that was what I had to do. Send them home.
Right. I had to go pick up my devastated daughter and put an end to the night she’d dreamed of for 8 long years.
I had to text all the parents of the boys who’d been at my house for less-than-two-hours to let them know the sleepover was off.
I had to console my poor-put-upon 12 year old.
“Sweetie, I’m soooo sorry. There’s just no other option. If someone in our house has it, we can’t have guests here. Really, I totally understand that this is devastating. Honestly, it’s my nurst wightmare. Haha. I mean my nurst wightmare. Blech. MY (pause) NURST WIGHTMARE.
Whatever. You know what I mean. It’s awful.”
Nurse Friend checked everyone’s head.
All the Guest Boys were lice-free, but my boys weren’t. Both of them “needed treatment.”
This wightmare was getting even nurse.
I sent Hubby to take the Guest Boys to their new location. (Another parent had volunteered to host.)
I . . . went looking for Poison Shampoo.
Here’s where I remind you of that first disclaimer. I am NOT an example of what to do. I’m just venting the horror we experienced. Yes, Nurse Friend explained that there are now more “natural, non-toxic” options available.
I wanted toxic. I wanted the hard stuff. I wanted these things dead.
I blew our monthly grocery budget on lice-fighting supplies. 15-dollar-a-bottle shampoo, a special comb (since everyone knows the combs included with the shampoo are worthless), spray for the beds. And then I sent Hubby back to buy two more bottles of shampoo that night.
We went home, started washing our hair with poison (it’s actually lice shampoo, but still . . . ), and I began the painstaking process of running the lice comb through three kids’ hair.
I got to my own hair AFTER EATING SUPPER AT 10:30 P.M. My naturally-excessively-curly hair was a big frizzy, tangly, impossible-to-run-a-nit-comb-through mess.
Oh, and then I made Hubby do the shampoo too.
Wait. I didn’t mention that the nurse said I also “needed treatment”? Well, I did.
Nurst. Wightmare. Ever.
But poison shampoos and a special comb weren’t enough for me. I also used an electric lice comb that Nurse Friend let me borrow. Basically, it’s a bug zapper for your hair.
It’s cool. And chemical-free. If you’re anti-chemicals, I definitely recommend it. It works well. I just wanted to use EVERYthing I could possibly use. No louse left alive.
Funny (but not funny at all) story: At first I thought the lice zapper didn’t work. I ran it through one child’s hair and heard it go “neeerrrrrr . . . eh. eh. eh. eehhh”
Turns out it stops buzzing when it hits something.
It was stopping because it was hitting many somethings.
And . . . as the head zapper hits little bitty living things, they fall dead onto the shoulders.
Wightmares end when you wake up. I was living in a horror movie, people.
Finally, at 11:45, I went to bed. I . . . was . . . exhausted.
At 4 a.m. I got up and started searching the internet. I hadn’t had time to breathe the night before, much less create a plan of attack. I found sites that explained lice can’t live more than two days without sucking human blood. I learned you have to re-treat in 7 to 10 days to keep from getting them again since the nits (eggs) are the hardest to find and they’ll hatch again and start it all over.
I also read time and again that cleanliness isn’t the issue. That anyone, slob or not, has an equal chance of getting lice.
That there is no real benefit to scrubbing the house from top to bottom.
But here’s the thing. THAT is the stigma. That having lice is a sign of grossness. Of being a . . . slob.
So even though everyone who has had them and all the scientists who study them (poor things) insist you shouldn’t be ashamed . . . I know the only reason they feel the need to insist is that people automatically think bad thoughts about people who have them.
This was one of the times when I missed my days of anonymity. I missed the time in my life when no one knew I was a slob. When most people actually assumed the opposite because of my raging germaphobia.
But now, when the fact that we were dealing with lice came up, my heart squeezed and my stomach sank. I wondered if the person I was talking to was totally not surprised because of the whole “well, she does have a blog about being a slob” thing.
Oh, you’re thinking you’d just not tell anyone? I didn’t have much choice, what with the sleepover situation and all.
And . . . I had to send the dreaded text. The same one I’ve received in baseball-seasons-past that caused me to think bad thoughts about the sender.
I had to send a text to all the other baseball parents explaining that my boys might have already had lice at the last baseball game . . . and they had borrowed helmets. And we didn’t know exactly which helmets.
And . . . I went to church on Sunday with straight hair. If you know me personally, you know this is a RARE thing. A thing so rare that random people stop in their tracks and exclaim.
And ask why.
I suffer from excessive honesty and chronic over-sharing, so even though I’d told myself and my children to not volunteer information about our plight, I found myself blurting out “We had lice!!” to waaayyyy too many people.
I just couldn’t think of a non-lie story to tell about why in the world I’d straightened my almost-impossible-to-straighten hair. See, I was paranoid. I’d only found about three nits in my own hair, but since I didn’t trust Hubby to be as thorough as I needed him to be, I obsessively used that lice-zapping comb on my own hair. And you can’t run an electro-comb through crazy-curly hair.
Really. It’s not possible.
My entire goal was to NOT experience what most people had told us they experienced.
I was determined not to have a re-infestation.
My plan of attack:
- No kids went into or slept in their rooms for three nights. If lice can’t live for more than two days without sucking human blood, my paranoid-logic decided three days would ensure they had starved to death.
- All stuffed animals went into a black trash bag to sit for two weeks in the garage. (This was recommended by multiple people and websites. They’re still in the black trash bag in the garage right now. For good measure.)
- ALL bedding was washed in hot water and then piled on the dining room table after it was dry. (I wanted it in a quarantined space, not to be contaminated again.)
- All beds were vacuumed.
- All beds were sprayed with lice-killing stuff. (I wasn’t going to spray this on the kids’ beds, but after I sprayed it on my own and couldn’t smell it, I did spray their beds. They didn’t go back in their rooms for two days after I sprayed it anyway.)
- No one sat on the couch or soft-surfaced living room chair for a week. (The kids slept in our new leatherish recliners for the three days they were banned from their rooms.)
- All couch pillows were put in the dryer on high heat for a very long time.
- Every bed pillow in the house went into the trash. (The experts said this wasn’t necessary. I had to do it to maintain/regain sanity. FYI, bedsheets wadded up inside a pillowcase make a decent pillow substitute.)
- The boys got VERY short haircuts.
- After the three nights of being banned from their bedrooms, the kids were then banned for three days from the places where they slept during those first three days.
- We did another round of Poison Shampoo on Day Two for good measure.
- I ran the electric comb through everyone’s hair three times a day for a week-and-a-half.
- On Day Five, we used LiceBGone, which is a chemical-free lice spray. (I’d read that over-using Rid can cause the lice to become resistant to it.) But it stinks so bad. And requires that you sit with a shower cap on your head for an hour.
- On Day Eight, we did the Poison Shampoo again. And washed sheets again every day for the four possible re-hatching days.
- On Days 9-13, I used the Electric Comb once a day on each and every head.
- On Day Fourteen, we re-treated with the non-poison Lice-B-Gone.
It has been almost a month, and I’m still watching heads closely. I feel confident that if we get it again, it won’t be because we didn’t get rid of them.
Oh, and my daughter will now and forever more wear ponytails to school.
Things I’ve learned:
- Lice-fighting . . . is exhausting. For real. I was bone-weary for weeks from the constant nit-picking.
- Nit-picking is a totally valid metaphor.
- Unlike the oxygen mask in an airplane, mamas shouldn’t use the “special” shampoo until after they have painstakingly gone through the rest of the family’s hair. Hair is supposed to be wet, and it will be dry by the time mom gets to work on her own hair.
- Most people go through this. I was so hoping to be one of the VERY few who never do, but through this experience I only encountered about three families who haven’t dealt with lice at some point.
- Lice are easily identifiable. Once you know what to look for, it’s easy to distinguish a nit (egg that gets glued/layed on a piece of hair) from a nymph (itty-bitty wiggly-legged non-mature louse) from a full grown louse from a piece of lint or dandruff or dirt or a leaf.
- My kids walk around regularly with lint and dirt and leaves in their hair.
- If, after the first or seventh use of the metal lice comb, one tine happens to get wonky, buy another one. Switching to the other non-dominant hand so you can use it in the opposite direction will result in severe thumb arthritis after a few dozen more uses. (Seriously, I haven’t been able to tear open a bag or do anything that requires use of the thumb joint for weeks.)
- I’m capable. I can handle things that seem too scary and overwhelming to handle.
And here’s something I already knew. I’m awesome at adjusting.
Here’s what people saw in a recent video interview I did:
Here’s what the room really looked like:
Feel free to express horror or solidarity in the comments.
(Horror, as long as it’s sympathetic horror. I’ve suffered enough.)
I so know the feeling! I did this 5 years ago.. and it was awful and my daughter was 13 and we had to cut off her hair… it was so bad.. she had very thick hair and I couldnt get the pik through. So i know and I went overboard on cleaning too.. it lasted 2 weeks and I lived so big hugs!!!
BAHAHAHAHAHA this cheered me up no end, I remember the first time the boys got lice I freaked binned all the bedding and shaved their heads – they looked like mini thugs for a month! after that I kept lice shampoo and just brought tea tree shampoo and conditioner and went through their hair every bath time. Thankfully by the time they hit secondary school it stopped although I did recently receive a text message from the secondary school saying lice had been found and screamed the pub down, well it was the first day back at school after a weeks break so I deserved a quick drink!
You really neednt have bothered with all the cleaning stuff, bagging up toys, etc in England they recommend treating the head, and the family. we dont do the nutty bagging up the toys and freezing them for a week (insert other weird myths) because healthy lice won’t leave the head in general.
however after having them in the home you may well have felt creeped out enough to do all that anyway!
but its normal. all kids get them.
We’re going through the same thing! My boyfriends kids went to get a haircut and they both had it! He’s daughter’s head had been itching for a while, and her mother claims she had checked for lice and found nothing. So all three kids have it, well had it. Luckily my boyfriend and I did not get it, but his kids mother did. Whoops! Well, we washed everything, sprayed everything and have checked, re-checked and washed heads. I even used the shampoo on myself for good measure. Our boys went to baseball practice as well before we found out, so they had to spray the helmets, whoops! I went out and bought hair clippers and buzzed my sons head as close as I could get it. that thankfully got rid of about 99% of them and made the shampoo and combing so much easier.
The whole thing is just making me itch like crazy! I really hope we’ve gotten rid of it because it’s a pain.
Glad to see we’re not the only ones.
Oh, the horror. We got the dreaded call when my daughter was in 2nd grade. When I got there, they had her in a room with the dozens of children they had found nits in their hair (school wide epidemic). They took her into the office to show me the nits and they were…dandruff! Specifically, she had eczema on her head, combined with hairspray build up from church the night before…but no nits. However, she had been in a room with dozens of kids with lice, so I still pretty much burnt the house down and treated her poor little head and half of her hair broke off and she looked like a pitiful little urchin. Two years later, when a friend’s daughter gave her lice, I reacted less aggressively. What an experience! Bless your heart!!
Solidarity, sister slob! This is my nurst wightmare, too, for ALL THE SAME REASONS. Ugh…when I think of all the laundry sitting in baskets in all the bedrooms…just waiting for someone (why does it have to be me?) to put in the proper places, I cringe to think of what I would endure if we got hit with the plague…I mean lice. My cluttering ways would come back to bite me in the butt, or scalp to be more precise.
And I have 5 kids. This would be the only situation that I would wonder why we had so many. Well, lice infestation and the college tuition thing. 😉
PS– I may or may not have teared up a little in sympathy while reading about your/my wightmare come to life.
Lice is one of the main reasons for my goal of recovering slob. Well that and keeping my marriage intact. As a kid I had lice SO many times that there was one school year I knew I had them and didn tell my mom because as you know, curly hair and lice combs dont feel so good.
Now that I am mom I dread the day my kids get lice and I get to do the whole song and dance you had to! Makes my head itch just thinking about it.
We have had the nightmare a few times (Not bad for a mom of 9) Nothing to be ashamed of. It happens (((hugs))) LOVE your blog by the way <3
Been there. Same feelings as you. My kids go to a small private school, and my kids were the ONLY ones that had it. Ugh! Embarrassing! Concluded we got them from the seats of a movie theater. I treated once a week for 4 weeks. Yeah never thought this nightmare would be mine either. However, we are still alive..and lice free
Oh we have been there too, more than once. We had really good luck with using oil and shower cap to kill them, as opposed to the RID stuff. It also worked really well to get licefreeee spray, which is homeopathic and smells sort of like licorice, and was actually cheaper than the RID shampoo. Our pediatrician told us that the regular spray stuff is a neurotoxin, which is why you are supposed to use it only every 7 days. Oh, go out right now and spray all your car seats if you didn’t! It’s an awful, horrible plague, and so hard to get rid of. Sounds like you did everything right. It’s not supposed to be a shame to get them, but it’s still so embarrassing. My kids were so upset, we have to check everyone’s head whenever anyone has any kind of itch ever. I feel your pain, and it took forever to get my house back to normal after.
Rid or nix doesn’t work anyways. Licefree actually kills them on contact, used both rid and nix and the suckers where still alive and plus Licefree don’t fry your hair like rid and nix
*knock on wood twice at least* I haven’t had them yet. But I did have a tick on my head last year… It was huge before I found it since my hair is sooo thick. I felt itchy and paranoid-edly (is that a word) checked my hair and the rest of my body for ticks for a couple weeks!
OMG. yes. I dreaded all of this too! We are fortunate to have a number of lice removal businesses and for only a few hundred dollars they did all the hair combing and not-picking on my 2 daughters and me.
They also explained how most people go overboard on the cleaning. So lazy slob that I am opted to trust their professional opinion and cross my fingers.
It’s been several months now and I still check all the time and twice at the sign of any itchy head complaint.
Having those bugs was pure hell.
My daughter had live when she was 5 I was craaaazy see I’m from NYC where it’s cold so few bugs except roaches of course, can survive but moving to Floruda where the humidity seems to grow bugs exponentially freaked me out. I went through almost exactly the cycle you do but my daughter had to oh to visit her dad and took the lice with her and gave them to her sister. I was so embarrassed. New Yorkers don’t understand lice. When the school called at work I burst out crying so my boss thought something horrible had happened when she finally heard it was lice she just laughed. I don’t think nice ever recovered. I scratched my head while reading the blog.
Christy S. Lube says
That’s really interesting… my kids never had them the entire time we lived in FL, it wasn’t til we moved up to SC that they got ’em. And got ’em. And GOT. THEM. We comb out every week now, just in case, so we catch them before there’s a full-blown infestation 🙁
Ti Anderson says
Oh my goodness I am so sorry! That must have been awful 🙁 With your germ issues I’m sure that itty bitty bugs are terrible for you. At least, like you said, worse things could happen. And when your daughter finally gets her sleepover I’m sure she’ll be too thrilled to even remember this disappointment
Thank you for this!!!! We are dealing with lice on my 6 year old for the SECOND time in a month! Makes me feel good to know I’m not the only person in the world who thinks these nasty head bugs will go extinct after I’m done!
Oh boy can I relate to this! We really like Quit Nits! We’ve had lice once a year since school started. Girls get it worse than boys because they’re always borrowing combs, headbands, etc. And putting their heads together (literally).
Dana White says
YES! The nurse told me hair to hair was how they spread, but I couldn’t imagine that. Then I saw it happen twenty times in ten minutes at field day. They are always sitting close!
We dealt with this nightmare I. The same way…I kept thinking because both my kids have extremely thick that we couldn’t get rid of them because maybe I missed some? Not the case, turns out they were getting reinfected every other weekend at dad’s house who also has his wife and kid there. Too many of these toxic treatments can actually cause brain damage, so I took the kids to the doctor. The doctor put them on a sulpha based antibiotic. The sulpha not only kills them because it’s in the blood/skin, it protects them for up to 3 months after! We had been dealing with this for maybe 4 months of and on! It was horrid, caused huge fights between the 2 households, accusations of someone isn’t doing enough to get rid of them. They skipped a weekend at dads. Put them on the meds and problem solved!
Oh, you are so right about using all the poison. But the other thing to do is to put huge dollops of hair conditioner in the kids’ hair and then comb the greeblies out, wiping the comb on a tissue each time. The conditioner stuns anything that’s still alive, and this gets any remaining eggs out before they hatch. My recommendation: poison, comb for 6-7 days, re poison. Repeat if necessary (ie if your kid is being re infested at school/sport). It works so well that the Nit Nurse proclaimed my kid nit-free after Day 2.
Once you’ve done this every day for a week to a child with curly hair so long that she can sit on it when it’s wet, you will know the true meaning of Parenting Hell.
melissa c says
Love you Nony!
This sounds JUST like the flea infestation we had two years ago. So horrible it makes you want to shave everyone and burn the house down and start over. Terrible. I had lice once (in high school!! Ugh.), but thankfully it was because of summer camp so I didn’t give it to other people at school. I do not look forward to the day when I have kids with lice…
Thank you so much for keeping it real!
There is nothing worse than coming across a surprise critter in someone’s hair!! My daughter went to school with a girl who wore head lice as a hair accessory, for all 7 years of Primary school (yes I’m in Australia)! I battled these little babies for years on end, continual poisoning, combing, washing & cursing at these visitors that were ruining my peaceful nights at home. My sympathies to your battle!!! Love reading your blog, I sometime sit down & start reading & think you must have a nanny cam in my house & you are writing about my days…..Until the next drama, misadventure or mess from hell….Thank You!!
Kim Stellman says
I am a Mobile Lice Technician in Ca, South Bay area.The chemical shampoos just do not work anymore. All the Lice companies use natural products and a professional comb and remove it all!!
Dana White says
Like, you go to people’s homes and deal with the lice? SO wish we had something like that!
We have this service in the Metro DC area and I have friend who have used it. One has very very curly hair and felt she’d never be able to treat herself properly. She said it was worth the money.
Kim Stellman says
Yes I go to homes, and I am quite busy!! I’m sometimes elbow deep!! But I have never gotten Lice from my clients.
AC2 Girl says
Just experienced my own worst nightmare a few months ago and I’m laughing over how similar our experiences were. I took almost the exact same tactics as you! Poor kids had their rooms quarantined, daily sheet washing and some items still haven’t made it out of the bags in the garage! Thanks for posting the honest truth about what it’s like! Lets me know I’m not all that crazy…or if I am, at least I’m not alone!
We luckily have never had to deal with the lice issue yet, but last summer when my daughter spent the night at our neighbors house she came home with fleas! We had to treat her similar to lice. What a pain.
Don’t feel like the Lone Ranger! When my daughter was two or three years old, someone at the school had lice and brought it to the daycare. We went through all the same stuff……but there were a few parents who refused to treat their children or take any action at all so we experience re-infestation a total of three times. It got to the point where the daycare provider checked heads at the door and if she saw anything she told the parents to take the kids home. It is awful – the stigma anyway, and it is very exhausting.
Glad you made it through and praying you don’t have a re-infestation! Hang in there!
Jennifer Britton says
LOL! I am so sorry this happened to you! We haven’t faced that yet and I too think it would send me over the edge!! Glad you are on the other side of it! Your post did make me shudder though remembering a couple months back when all three of my young children had stomach viruses simultaneously!! I thought I might have a breakdown! Wish you the best 😉
Yes. We’ve been there. I was a lot like you. Poison those puppies! I was pretty sure we all glowed in the dark from all the washings. I, too, have curly hair. Most people say its the curliest ever seen on a white girl. My daughters waist-length hair was full of the monsters. Did you de-louse the cars? I sprayed them and vacuumed and bombed and sprayed again. I banned hugging. And now, we all take a jacket or towel to the movie theater and drape them across the backs of our chairs. Because I’m pretty sure that’s where they came from, since school was out at the time.
I’m itching. Thanks.
Dana White says
You banned hugging!! Hahahaha!!
Laura wood says
I know your pain my kids bought lice home 3 times their first year of preschool it was so anoying.
We have been lice free for 8 years. We had a bad time when my son was in daycare. But that was due to living with teenagers who refused any sort of treatment for months. (Not my house, not my teens and problem solved when they buzzed their hair for $20).
My son was 3, undiagnosed autism and had beautiful light brown ringlets down his back. We went through plenty of batteries for the bug zapper comb, watched Pokemon marathons and bribed, I mean rewarded, with Skittles.
Mix 3-5 drops of real tea tree oil in 6-8 ounces of good conditioner. Saturate hair and leave in overnight, use the nit comb in the morning, then rinse. Use normally every week or two for prevention. Any time I see a lice note at school, I’ll have him do the leave in conditioner overnight.
I also put a few drops of TTO in my son’s detangler spray bottle, 1/2 ounce conditioner and 8 ounces of water.
Spray hats, headbands, helmets, lockers, even stinky shoes with vinegar or rubbing alcohol, and a couple drops of TTO.
Ugh, my head itches….
Solidarity all the way, which reminds me I need to go finish putting away all the clothes I dumped on my bed from the laundry baskets earlier today. I got distracted by the massive amount of clothes clean out that needed to get done in my 9 yr olds room.
PS. my head is now itching. Every time one of my boys brings a lice notice home I start scratching my head. We have been lucky so far but I have vivid memories of one or more of us getting it as kids and it happened multiple times over the years. If even one of us had it then we all got the treatments. Fun times. I recall 2 summers ending with my poor parents having to deal with this as they were ramping up to send 5 kids back to school. Lice treatment, washing bedding, bagging stuffed animals etc for 7 people is not pretty.
Amy W says
I’m so sorry this happened to you! It happened to me once, years ago, when my daughter was in grade school. She was at that age when she’s beginning to do her own hair each day so of course, by the time I discovered them her head was CRAWLING with lice. It was a nightmare for sure. The cleaning and the spraying and the vacuuming and the laundry and the combing. GAH! It was years and years before I felt okay about sending her to school again every fall. LOL But we all survived and so did you! Huzzah! Now no more letting kids share combs, helmets, hats, headbands, etc.
We got it three times in succession a few years ago, before determining we were getting it from the gymnastics place we went to, probably in the foam pit. 🙁
kelli chapman says
We had lice no less than 6, yes 6, times in kindergarten! I was just as spastic, learned the best thing to do is comb the hair with regular conditioner in it while the kid is in the shower. Just let the bugs go down the drain! We did this every night until we saw none, then every other night for a week, every 3 nights the following week, etc. Never had an issue again! We still check weekly
I brought lice home after babysitting one time! My poor mom! The lice shampoo didn’t work so we just covered my head in mayo and let it for a few hours- . I will never forget that awful smell but it worked! apparently it suffocates the lice. My hair was really shining a nice for a while after thanks to the mayo though lol
I went through this when my son was 5…he had spent the night with a cousin who was playing ball and switching helmets. His hair was almost white….talk about difficult! We started spraying the batting helmets…..or bringing our own with strict instructions not to share! I did a truancy program for several years through our county and in grade school children, this was one of the main reasons for them being out of school……and I spent many hours nit picking!
UGH!!! I too thought I might actually be a mom who escaped this horror but no…kid number three had it this year. And after waging war in our house and being free of it for months….someone brought it to school again and we had to start all over again. Oh but this time instead of finding it on my own and warning the school, the school nurse discovered it. MORTIFYING !!! For once I wish I had all boys so I could just buzz cut everyone,,,but alas I have two girls and a boy and the girls are not interested in having the same haircut as their brother.
This too shall pass (I hope)
Oh yeah, This is the perfect time to declutter the stuffies! Stash most of them in black plastic bags in the hot car for a while. Bring back only the most loved.
Oh my Gravy!! I totally feel your pain. I had one of my daughters come home from school with lice 3 years ago. I have 4 daughters w/ very long hair. All were infected, plus myself :/ we tried EVERYTHING!!! (and were reinfected) The only thing that worked was the electric comb. One thing i learned is that having your kids get lice is a compliment to your cleanliness. Lice like clean hair. We don’t wash our hair nearly as often now, and ALWAYS use a coconut scented conditioner (cause lice aren’t supposed to like that) Haven’t had anything since that one time.
PS I was glad to read that you waited till age 8 for sleepovers too. My daughter will be having her very first in a few weeks and is looking forward to it. I hope yours gets her turn soon too.
five daughters and a lice outbreak, hon i feel your pain! you did great…and seem to have handled it much better than I did for sure!!
Perfect timing! We had this happen to us just today!
Dana White says
Oh no! You poor thing!!
Amy @ Finer Things says
Oh my geeeeeez. Nurst Wightmare, for sure! Not YET here, but come on now, soon to have six kids, I know my times a comin’. Oy!
Carolyn M says
BTDT – when about 7 mos pregnant with #5 (of 8) Four little girls, all had it – it took FOREVER to get rid of it. I still shudder to think about it, and baby #5 is now 16! 😮
Sorry you had to live the nightmare.
Sandy Breymann says
When my kids were little they had a friend that kept infecting them..I remember going through everything you are..The shampoo and the cleaning..Then my girls doctor told me to add several drops of tea tree oil to their shampoo.. They never ended up getting them again, used it tell high school..
Carolyn M says
Oh! and we found the dog’s flea comb the best comb to use! Much sturdier than anything we found for people.
I still iron my sheets and my kids had them years ago and are grown. I think it’s been 8 years ago.
Christy S. Lube says
This is also one of the reasons I glare at the “perfect attendance” awards at the end of school… they send their kids to school no matter what, and no matter who else they infect with whatever virus/bacteria/parasites they happen to have. /sigh.
Well i hope all the replies you have make you feel better. The lice like clean heads and can be caught earlier with regular lice comb use. I don’t have kids but when i do, they will most likely get lice at some point. I had them at about 8 years old and got the special shampoo and doused in the yard alongside my brother. Not sure how my sister managed to escape. We just thought it was funny and we got sent home early. This in itself was a badge of honour in my class. You are helping get rid of the worst part of infestation…The stigma.
OMG I feel your pain! I travel for business a lot and picked up the awful things at a hotel. Thankfully my boys didn’t get it (if they had it would have been buzz cuts for them!). The poison did NOT work at all for me. I had to re-treat myself and used a natural line called Farytales (http://www.fairytaleshaircare.com/all-products/lice-good-bye). Worked like a charm! And I defiantly feel itchy after reading this!
Awesome , post.. My biggest fear here…
So sorry to hear of all you’ve been through!! It’s so much work!
Thank-you for the post, and letting us all know, how all the hard work you did to get rid of it. It’s a learning curve for us.
I make my girls wear a pony tail and braid every day, plus go through, the don’t share hats. If your braid comes out and pony eleastic falls on floor. Don’t pick it up… The janitor will get it.. I also spray kids hair with water and Tee Tree oil, after putting up, before school everyday.. I realize it’s only a matter of time.. But hoping this helps us not get it.. Kids are 8 and 5 and have both been in daycare then school very young.. knock on wood, we’ve been good so far..
I really don’t want that much work to do, to get rid of!!
My BFF had a huge problem, treated, did all the cleanings several times.. She finnaly started checking DD before she came in house after school. Yup, she brought home new lice ever day for a week.. She was catching it everyday at school 🙁 And she checked throuhly for nits ect. before sending. She was picking it up at school every day.
I’m Canadian and appaerntly at her childs school, the can’t force anyone to go home or get treatment.. So it was the same family reinfesting all the time 🙁
Meranda jack says
BTDT too! I was 3 days post op from a surgery and had 3 under age 5. nIGHTMARE !! No help, hurt to move, and hubs had already taken time off work for surgery and 2 days after. I was only own. Worst ever lol!
Oh the memories. The boys got buzz cuts. I bribed my 4 yr old daughter with French fries to sit still while I combed. and combed. and combed. As for myself, who loves you enough to comb nits out of your hair? Hubby was out of town. I ended up coloring my hair which worked really well. I just had to get as close as I could to my natural color.
And the next time my daughter got lice? I colored her hair too. Gasp. But it worked and no one could tell. Those are the times that I don’t miss having little ones any more!
Kristy K. James says
When my kids got it, I felt the same way. Maybe even worse because I wound up with it, too. The worst thing was, my daughter and I both have waist-length hair. And I’d looked through our hair because we’d heard about the outbreak. I even made an appointment with the doctor because we both had a ‘rash’ on our necks and upper shoulders. After looking, all she said was that we were allergic to our shampoo, so our doctor missed them, too. 🙁
When all was said and done, after much research online, I bought Extra Strength Denorex shampoo. The instructions said to scrub it in so it lathered well, tuck all hair up under a plastic grocery bag and leave on for 30 minutes. It got pretty warm under the bag, let me tell you, but apparently it ‘cooked’ the bugs and eggs (which then aren’t able to hatch). One treatment with that, bedding/pillows/stuffed animals washed …. and we never had to worry about it again. I can’t say enough good about Denorex.
I did, however, have plenty to say to my kids about sharing hats, brushes, and touching heads with other students.
I have delt with this a few times now. First I use the poison, then I nit pick only a few hairs at a time. In the past I tried to do too large of clumps of hair, and I missed a few eggs. I also use the straight hair iron on high, as close to the scalp as the person can stand. Only a small clump at a time. Very slowly go down the hair. It is really hot, and will kill anything you miss. Some people don’t use poison, just this. I also sometimes use the hair dryer method. Divide your hair into 20 evenly sized sections, then with a blow dryer blow rematch section near the scalp for 40 seconds in each side. Turn the heat on the blow dryer off so it is just blowing room temp air. The hair should be bone dry before doing this. The very dry air dried the lice and eggs and kills them. I did this on my self and the iron, because I didn’t have anyone to check my hair. Once I did these to my kids, no more lice.
Dana White says
You know what? I don’t even OWN A HAIR DRYER!! My curls do better when air-dried! I also read during my online research a doctor saying he/she’d treated scalp burns on kids from hair dryers used to eliminate lice. So be careful!
Peppermint oil prevents lice ! I put a little in my children’s shampoo during the warm season and they stay lice free it’s so bad here in southern California
When we had this several years ago, the doctor prescribed “Kwell.” It is a prescription lice killer AND you do NOT have to use the comb for the nits. It kills everything! It worked with only one application. That would have saved you TONS of time and money.
To echo everyone else…thanks for sharing…my “nurst wightmare” round 2 took place last year just before school started back up. I mean, THE DAY BEFORE SCHOOL. We were on a quick last-chance vacation and found the bugs in the bed in the hotel room…Great. After a quick, unscheduled stop to buy mayonnaise, shower caps, and the requisite arsenal of Nix supplies, we started a 3-4 times a day regimen of going through the victim’s hair…going through everyone else’s hair…itching like crazy…and yes cleaning everything. Long story short I also had to send the embarassing e-mail to the coach to explain that everyone on the volleyball team may in fact have been exposed to the lice. But apparently, I was so proficient at the nit-picking that after only two days I found not ONE more louse or nit. Was itchy for weeks thought…oh, and I have heard that lice like CLEAN hair. So there, everyone who thinks that if you have lice, you are a slob! Great blog.
After trying to get rid of lice for several MONTHS and trying every product I could find, I finally discovered a very simple solution that really does work! Color your hair with hair dye. The grocery store dye works just fine. Dye it once and dry with hot blow dryer. Dry again daily with blow dryer for one week exactly. Then dye it again. Feel free to continue with hair dryer for 3rd week. Make sure you are dying everyone’s hair on the same day. Put everything in the dryer that you use regularly and that can go in on the hot setting. Everything else, bag it up for at least a month in a sealed plastic trash bag. Furniture, mattresses, carpet, spray it generously with the RID insectiside spray. Do it all 2-3 weeks in a row….highly recommend 3. Remember, 7 days exactly apart. Keep as many things bagged up until all lice is gone so you don’t have to repeat. Dryer, bagging, insectiside, hair dye, and hair dryer. It really works!
I’m a school nurse and so I have the pleasure of looking for nits once a week! I’ve found that most of the products you can buy at walmart do not work. I have had a few parents that have used fairy tales hair care and they haven’t had a problem since! Their line has a preventative shampoo and they have sprays. I’ve been told that it doesn’t smell good but it is relatively new and supposed to be “natural”…just some info for you guys. My daughter is preschool age and I’m not so excited about the possibility of lice in elementary school! Oh and FYI-those combs-throw them in the garbage! They don’t work! The electric ones only kill the ones that are crawling, but they work well for those! Happy lice picking…if there is such a thing. Lol. I hate looking for lice!
I’ve been to the lice place you have described with two very long haired girls…oh, and husband deployed at the time. I know I did wash lots of things, but I did skip the bed spray ( it looked to chemically). Lots and lots of combing, I sure wish I had that bug zapper comb!!
If you find you have lice in the house again, call your doctor and they can call in a prescription for the single best stuff in the world to kill them on the head. It was the only time I didn’t have to treat more than once.
It is a major pain and my heart goes out to you and your kids having to cancel your plans. I think it happens to everyone though.
Oh, honey! I feel your pain. Four years ago we found a nit on my daughter’s bday just before her sleepover. Nearly lost my mind. We’ve used tea tree oil conditioner as a preventive treatment since (Paul Mitchell). It’s not supposed to be leave-in conditioner, but we put a dime-sized amount in her hair after washing & extra if we’re going to the movies. So far, so good.
We went through it and I treated her and I every other day for the full 10 days. On the first day of school, she wore a white shirt and as I was combing her hair, they were falling out on her shirt. After much cussing, I looked online and found the prescription brand and then went to Minute Clinic and demanded it, lol. A stinking little one shampoo bottle was 36 bucks, but I figured it was cheaper than buying all the products again and again. You put it on and sleep with it on overnight and it’s pine scented, REALLY pine scented. We slept with shower caps on and shampooed in the morning. I smelled pine for a week, but never found another one. I was so tired of washing sheets and blankets everyday for a month, I would have paid 50 bucks a bottle.
There is becoming an epidemic in schools because the head lice are becoming immune to the old treatments. When I read the replies to your post, I winced when I read “poison” over and over again. These are your children’s and your heads you are talking about! My daughter is a school nurse in Texas. Yup, she ended up getting head lice along with one of her daughters. She used a product called Fairy Lice Mother (shampoo, conditioner and mousse). Their nit comb is excellent also. As replied above, there are people who professionally comb through hair to get every nit.
Michelle Seavey says
Definitely a NIGHTMARE!!! We have not had the pleasure/horror yet, but having worked as a teacher in our local school system, I know that the school nurse does not send home a note to inform families that someone in class w/ your child has been infected. She thinks it’s not a big deal!? I realize that lice prefer clean hair, but if you have to treat six children, 2 parents, and deal w/ the massive amount of laundry, stuffed animals, furniture, car/carseat upholstery, it most certainly is a BIG DEAL! Knowing this, we have a rule, that we do not share anything that we use on our heads, (helmets, hats, headbands, brushes, combs, barrettes, hoods/hoodies, toothbrushes, etc.) We keep an eye out for those little monsters because we sure won’t get a warning from school!
I did have a camper come to camp w/ lice and the party on her head wasn’t discovered until she’d been there for a few days. Oh the laundry, the spray for beds, the shampoo for any adults involved in the process. . . I think if I had to go through that in our own home, I’d probably make the news after I went nuts!
Jen S. says
We went through this a couple years ago – 7 kids, hubby and I – all infected. All told, we battled lice for almost 2 months. It would go away, and then come back again. We were obviously getting reinfected from someone but didn’t know who or where. It was terrible. We did mayonnaise, an olive oil mixture with essential oils, and even tried RID though it didn’t work at all. The best product was LiceMD. It smothered the lice and was non-toxic, but it worked great. I had it all down to a science by the time we were done. I treated everyone’s head, and then they stripped their sheets while the stuff sat on their heads. We picked nits every night by the kitchen sink and I retreated 8 days after the initial treatment. For months afterwards, I was still having nightmares about bugs. *shudder*
Shannon L says
I discovered my daughters had lice after my husband had back surgery, two years in a row and then again on Easter Sunday. My oldest has a skin condition so I knew poison was out. After TONS of research, I came up with something that works using household ingredients that’s safe.
1st I combed their hair and put the bugs in a bowl of warm water with dish detergent. I went strand-by-strand to make sure I didn’t miss any nits. Then I soaked their hair in olive oil, which is good for the scalp. I let it set for at least 30 mins.(Longer is better). Next we took a shower and washed our hair in dish detergent. This cut most of the oil. (Wash twice if you don’t want the haven’t-washed-my-hair-in-a-week look. I personally didn’t mind because it helped deter any new ones from attaching.) I also washed sheets and pillow cases but only put comforters and pillows on a full dryer cycle. I repeat two days then one week from initial treatment. Afterward I do random combings. If I find anything, I repeat the process. I’ve used this technique 3 times and it works.
Btw my oldest has curly hair and they’re both tender headed. The oil also helps get the comb through their hair.
Ret Cudmore says
Hi, don’t feel to bad, it happens to the best of us, unfortunately. I learned this from a very old and wise Cosmetology teacher:
You can avoid all this by using a simple rinse…..white vinegar…. Just take a cup of white vinegar after washing and use it as a pure rinse. The smell dissipates after your hair dries and the lice will not jump to it. They hate the smell….and you, my dear will remain lice free. It works!
Hope I’ve helped!
Laurie M says
Whoa, your hysterical story brought back some baaaad memories. My 34 year old daughter was in 3rd grade when it struck at our house and I still remember the horror and emotions I went through. I was a hair dresser at the time and found hers at 8:30 PM when she came to me saying she had ‘itchies’ all over…my stomach did a flip. I drove 20 miles to a different town to buy the shampoo so no one would see me as I thought I would lose my hair clients if they knew the dirty secret. Did her hair that night and of course had too stay up until 3:00 AM washing all the bedding. No one else seemed to have it but I checked incessantly and 2 days later found 1 nit on my 4 year old daughter, who did a happy dance that she was now to be included in all this fun and personalized attention. We still laugh about that. I remember sitting out side in the sun getting those nits out. Her hair was thick so I just cut each strand that had a nit and put them in a bag and then in an outdoor garbage. We finally had a bit of calm in our house after about 10 days and then on day 14 they were back. I actually cried…this time I called the doctor and got a prescription and it killed lice and the nits. End of story, the story that none of us ever will forget.
Dana White says
Oh my word, I am amazed at you driving 20 miles to buy the stuff in secret! (But I TOTALLY understand!!)
Sorry. Been there, done that. Mayonnaise. Best lice treatment ever made. One treatment. Cover their hair with mayo, sleep in shower cap. Lice are air breating. Wash out and call it over. Of course, treat the beading. Put stuffed animals in bags in the garage for a couple of weeks. But seriously, you’ll never eat mayo again but that stuff is like a nuke bomb for headlice
I agree with Janet. The only thing that got rid of the lice/nits was using mayonnaise overnight (it smothers them). To cut the grease, we had to use Dawn dish detergent, but it worked well. Also, using hairspray on your kids’ head prevents lice from laying eggs (the hair is too slick).
Oh I feel your pain!! I honestly don’t think that I know a family that hasn’t dealt with lice at some point in their lives. I’m glad it’s over for you!!
Ack!!!! makes my skin crawl just thinking about it!! Luckily I never had lice but know lots of people that have had to deal with it.
That picture of you in the shower cap just sums it all up!!
So glad it’s over for you and hope you never have to go through it again.
I’m so sorry! Yikes! I will say that all hubbies are worthless when faced with a nit comb and curly wife hair. I went to my Mom’s and she picked my nits. That electric comb sounds really interesting! Though I don’t know that I’d want to see all of the bodies.
I did have the re-infestation horrors! I followed up 7 days later, but not again 7 days after that! I also put tea tree oil in the wash with all of the blankets/sheets…don’t know that it did anything, but it made me feel better.
I hate to tell you this, but when my brother, niece and I had lice, ALL we did was use the shampoo and never had a problem after that.
Blergh. We’re going through this again right now with our 13 year old for the 4th (5th?) time. The first time we got the call from the school nurse on my birthday which blew our weekend plans of sleep overs for her and nights out for us. The worst time was when my husband called me while I was on a business trip but staying with my in-laws for the night. I had to explain to my sister-in-law what to look for so we could tell if I had spread the plague to her house as well (thankfully I was clean). We swing back and forth between intense emotions about the whole thing and “we’ll it’s not actually harmful to have lice”. Just gross. Deeply, deeply gross. Luckily on the subsequent infestations we catch them early and it’s easier to get them on the first pass. Note that generally the shampoos only kill the bugs and not the eggs. The combing is to get out the buggies (particularly those that are only stunned) and the eggs (nits). You can actually get rid of them just with combing if you are super diligent (that’s what the professionals can do for you).
Oh girl I feel your pain
I only have a few things to say on the matter.
1- until I married and began keeping my own house – it’s true I only thought SLOBS got/ had lice
2- regardless how clean you once you’ve had it it’s not clean enough
3- infestation is an “illness” (example: we won’t be at church this week, we’ve got a bug. ) TRUTH
4- thank GOD these are not your step children AND YOUVE taken measures in your home BUT YOUR EX-wife Inlaw HAS NOT and every two weeks the infestation returns!
That’s all 🙂
Helen Stevens says
I have never had to go through this with just one daughter. I feel very lucky. Such bad timing for the kids. Slight over reaction maybe but totally understand. Stay positive !
I went through it when my oldest, who is now 22, was only 2 years old, thanks a lot day care. I myself was hugely pregnant with TWINS!!!! I was paranoid about toxic shampoo, what if it hurt the babies. I washed, bagged, decontaminated everything I could lay hands on. I was beyond exhausted as well as grossed out. My skin still crawls just thinking about it. I absolutely understand how you feel and sympathize.
I so feel your pain!! I believe I may have had a nervous breakdown when lice came to my house! I have tried to black out that experience. My daughter was in middle school, she got them from her friend who got them from her younger elementary aged siblings! We all did the Rid shampoo and combed through the middle of the night, because of course we found them after night time shower! I didn’t comb well enough. The next day they were back! I was cutting out the hairs with nits as I cried hysterically. I buzzed cut my son’s hair…that was 4 years ago and he’s still traumatized and he DIDN’T have lice. After my breakdown on the second day, I went online and found a service who came to your house and de-liced you. It was the best $300 I ever spent. The guy who combed was awesome! I asked if his vehicle had the company name on it, no it did not. I did 100 loads of wash that month. It took weeks. I boiled water and added to the washer because I didn’t think the water was hot enough. My daughter wore her hair in a bun everyday after that. I made her sit on the same place on the sofa. We used the fairy tales shampoo, conditioner and spray every day. Honestly, I pray we never get it again, because I just might end up at the funny farm. Definitely Nurse Wightmare!!!
Even many years later, I feel your pain! Oh the memories… My daughters are now 17 and 21. When they were in grade school they had several episodes of head lice. Even though we share the same hair brush and I used to lie in bed next to them reading at bedtime, I only got them once. My husband and 2 boys never caught them. It was a very humbling experience. Until we had lice, I must confess, I looked down on other people whose kids got them. I didn’t think it could ever happen to MY kids, after all, I’m an at home mom, my kids didn’t go to day care, I run a tight ship, we are clean, etc. etc. Well, I got my comeuppance, not once, but 3 times!!!
The first episode happened right after school let out. My youngest daughter had been itching her scalp and even said she thought she saw a bug in her hair. I wasn’t thinking little bugs (ie head lice), gave her hair a cursory look and said she was fine. Well, ~2 weeks later, we’re on vacation, in a hotel in Boston, she looks in the mirror and tells me something is moving on her head. This time I REALLY looked, and her head was infested..it was so gross and disgusting, they were swarming all through her hair… How could I have been so oblivious?! Daughter #1 had a bad case too. I called the pediatrician in a panic and was told to use an over the counter lice shampoo. My husband had left on a business trip; I was alone in a strange city with 4 kids, and didn’t have a car, so walked in pouring rain many blocks to nearest store to make purchase. Well, after leaving the shampoo in for 10 min. and rinsing, their heads were still crawling with live critters! And the directions said not to repeat until 7 days! Pediatrician said chemicals were too strong to use again so soon,to try mayo and shower cap overnight, so back to the store I traipsed. I was mortified to have to tell the hotel we had head lice. And worst of all, we had spent the night at my in-laws too, and I had to tell them. (These were people who , when they had a problem with ants in their house, called a pest control co and requested an unmarked vehicle, so the neighbors wouldn’t know!) The mayo treatment was disgusting…their heads reeked of salad dressing…and it didn’t work. Memory fails me (“old” age has it’s benefits!) , because I don’t remember how we got rid of them that time. Despite the lice trauma, to this day my kids remember what a wonderful vacation that was! (Boston IS awesome!)
The next 2 incidents we were at home and I had to deal with the mountains of laundry, stuffed animals, and vacuuming AND calling the school and moms of all the kids my girls had been playing with. Amazingly all the other moms took it in stride…turns out their kids had all experienced head lice… (hmmm , then how come no one had ever called ME?! ) I really just wanted to sit and cry. It was exhausting! I was afraid to use the stuff you spray on furniture and unhappy with putting strong chemicals (poison) in my kids hair. I tried olive oil overnight with shower cap. It was messy and didn’t work. Somehow I stumbled on hair conditioner…I bought a big bottle of the cheapest kind. I coated their hair with conditioner and then combed through it, small sections at a time, wiping the lice comb on a paper towel after each swipe. (Did I say both daughters had long hair? Argh!) The conditioner immobilized the lice so they combed out easily and the eggs also came unstuck. Then they shampooed. I think I did it every other day for 2 wks. By the third time we had lice, I WAS in tears, but, I had read online that it was best to concentrate one’s efforts on combing through the hair NOT cleaning the environment. So I didn’t go quite so crazy vacuuming and washing. Just the sheets, bed clothes, towels and hairbrushes. And it worked! Once again, the conditioner and diligent hair combing worked like a charm! (No chemicals!) I was even able to use the technique on myself (as like you, hubby was not up to the task!) I also blew dry my hair for the heat effect. And God helped me find the positive in it. My daughters would lie with their head on a towel in my lap as I combed through their hair. An hour each head, every other night for two weeks…we had some great times talking . I really do treasure those together times:)
I hope you don’t have a “next time”! I DO love your blog and your sense of humor! God bless you!
Here too! When oldest was 5 until she was almost 7 (she is now 18) there was a family at school that kept bringing them home. We got them 3 times during that time. and then, When my youngest (5 years younger) was in kindergarten, we got them again. I always saw them before the nurse at school saw anything.
After the 2nd time with the oldest, whenever we’d get a note that lice was found in the child’s class, we would put 2-3 drops of tea tree essential oil in our shampoo (pour the shampoo into your hand as usual, add the drops, stir w/ finger, use the mix to wash hair) for at least a week or 2. I tried NOT to use the poison stuff a second time, or waited at least a week between uses. And I washed the bedding every day of the 2 weeks, and ran the pillows and blankets in the dryer on HIGH for at least 1/2 hour every day!
After the youngest had it, I called the nurse at school and asked if they had any warning, and why wasn’t something sent home this time warning parents and telling them to remind their kids about not sharing hats etc. I was told that they couldn’t send anything home because it would violate privacy rights. I was so mad! I perhaps could have avoided that last time! Told the nurse and the principal my thoughts on the subject! Another thing… if anyone got it in the house, who was the one that ended up getting it the worst, ME! Bugs of ALL types love me… UGH!!!!!
So, as you can see: you are NOT alone in all this! BTW, I still
(Me again, comment posted before I was done!) BTW, I still occasionally look at my kids heads (they are now 18, 15 and 13) and flick a piece of white… As you know, if it moves, you are ok. It was dandruff, skin around the hair shaft or just lint or other crud. It’s the stops that DON’T move on the hair shaft you have to worry about!
My teenage and only public schooled daughter brought home lice two weeks ago, and I’m an anal retentive neat freak who washes bedsheets twice a week and vacuums and cleans bathrooms daily. It’s definitely no reflection on your level of cleanliness. And I have wavy hair so long I can sit on it, and so thick my ponytail is thicker than my wrist. Talk about a pain in the butt! Olive oil mixed with tea tree and lavender oil left on overnight, followed by hours of nit picking, shaved heads for the boys, and lots of laundry, repeat 7 days later, and we appear to be lice free. (Fingers crossed)
OMG!!! My head is itching just reading this. And then hurting. Those combs and curlsare a painful combo. My mother had to do me a couple time growing up. So far, we’ve avoided it. But everytime I catch wind of, I freak out and check. I am sure I am part of why he has a hard time with friends…don’t share hats, or combs, or hoodies, don’t touch people’s hair, just a quick body hug…don’t get to close to their hair. Don’t let them put things in your hair, kets keep those curls buzzed off…yeah it freaks me out. Thank you, I am going to have to go check everyone simply because I caught wind of it. Crap there’s something crawling in my hair!!!! 😮 😮 😮
[email protected] says
I am SO sorry you went through that. And what terrible timing – although no timing would be GOOD. I always feared head lice but my kids never got it. We were lucky. Lots of their friends did. I hope you remain lice free.
Oh you poor dear! Of all the timing! I’m getting the creepy-crawlies now.
My daughter had headlice five (!) times last school year, because the parents of some kids in her class didn’t take treating seriously. It drove us all nuts! Plus the shampoos dried out her scalp. It was flaking like crazy and had to be treated fot weeks aftewards. I honestly pray it will never happen again.
We went through the same thing for about 2 months…that’s right a little over 60 days…let me stop and say here I am a germaphobe and extremely OCD. We washed all bedding every two days. I threw all pillows away three different times. All stuffed animals went into dryer, then garbage bag, back to the dryer and back again on three day rotations. Even went to the doctor and got rx strength poison. Shaved all boys heads. The darn things wouldn’t die. I even shampooed carpets. After calling the local CDC. I found out there was a poison resistant lice in our state at that time. The only way the CDC knew to get rid of them was blue plate mayo and a shower cap for 24 hours. It smothers them. Then they were gone after I swear I blew upwards of 1000 bucks trying to get rid of them.
OMG! We just went through this horrible nightmare! I found them while combing through my 4 year old daughter’s thick, curly hair after her bath one Sunday morning before church. I pulled out 2 live bugs on the comb. I freaked out, called my mom (a cosmetologist) and begged my youth pastor husband to come home and help me deal with the crisis. (he couldn’t, of course).
I found out it was an epidemic going around my oldest son’s classroom. Both of my boys also had it. As did I. I teach kindergarten so I was so worried about spreading it. Thankfully I found it the day before the last day of school.
I literally washed every piece of laundry in my house (or piled it on my basement floor.
I combed through everyone’s hair every night.
I did come to realize it isn’t as bad as real illnesses even though I felt like I was disgusting.
Apparently many of my friends have dealt with it.
But I’m not 100 %sure that we are completely done with it. I believe I will be forever paranoid about this. Also no more hair down for my daughter or myself!
We just went through this. I have settled on tea tree oil, although I hear peppermint and eucalyptus, too. I have a spray I made we use. I comb through daily. And I have added the oil to our shampoos and conditioners. Coconut oil is supposed to help. These are suffocation methods that I feel good about. Just my 2 cents.
We’ve never been infested, but every time I get one of those notes, I know that it will take me hours. We have 5 females in the house with long hair. It takes hours. And I always itch for days.
We went through this this year as well, but the worst part of it was not the lice, but the hysteria about the lice. My daughter picked up some lice around Christmas and I dealt with it and got rid of them naturally with an electric lice comb. I didn’t do all the crazy stuff – didn’t have to. But THEN about 3 months later someone reported that they had lice, so they had to check everyone and that’s when they found that my daughter had NITS – not lice, but nits. These were dead nits that were still attached to the hair shaft. And, because of the school’s “no nit” policy, my husband lost 3 days of work. I think that the hysteria over lice is worse than the little buggers themselves
You handled this amazingly well!
We’ve been lucky and haven’t had this yet… but we have so many other odd things happen I think we are ok with not having it. :0)
Karen Farnham says
Oh! I am so sorry you had to endure this wightmare! My daughter caught lice once too, and I had brushed her hair with my brush so…..yeah, I had it too! And the little boy I babysat. Ugh! My poor sister has three kids and has gone through this horror nearly every winter since her kids started school. It is exhausting! (I have helped her treat and comb their hair, and checked hers, since her hubby wasn’t willing to).
Honestly, your title caught my eye because of switching the first letters in your words….my husband does this to be funny (he can be hilarious sometimes!). I call it “Farnham-ese”…..his own language. lol
My daughter had it so bad she sat with mayo on her head for two hours. she is a brunette and apparently lice love dark hair. All I know is it took hours to go through her thick, long hair.
Reading backwards, so coming to this years after you had this experience but I just wanted to say this is my worst nightmare too. A few summers ago my fiancee and I got lice. She had to convince me not to shave my head. I had never got them as a child and I was absolutely horrified. We killed them with Selenium. But it took time. I wish I had been meticulous as you. I think I didn’t have people over for the entire summer because I was terrified that somehow something might have survived, although on reflection I think we got rid of them on the second round.
Joy Casas says
You are so real, so wise and SO hilarious. Are you sure you shouldn’t make a sitcom? And Thank you So Much for your advice and books. Doing dishes has changed my life. Who’d have thunk it? Well, Praise God YOU did!
I don’t know if anyone commented about this, but there’s a homeopathic product called LiceFreeee (I don’t know how many e’s but it’s spelled with more than is called for) that smells like black licorice and really works. It dries your hair out like nothing else so you will probably want to do some kind of conditioning treatment after you’ve followed all the instructions but it dries up both lice and nits. My foster sister had super lice and it worked on her, I recommended it to students and families while teaching and used it on myself when I caught it. I didn’t have to deal with stuffed animals so I ran everything through the dryer because apparently that kills the bugs and makes the nits explode.
It’s harder to get to the bottom of a problem like that if your house is full of stuff but it definitely happens to everyone no matter how clean if they go out in public.
You write so well and with such honesty! I’m sorry this happened but it is so common. Thanks for sharing although maybe I shouldn’t thank you because my head is now itching just reading your story.
I have 4 girls with hair that is usually as long as the bra-strap if not as long as the waist. I *hate* getting lice. It’s *so* *much* *work*. And every time we’ve gotten lice, it started with me.
I actually use Happy Heads shampoo when we do. I know you wanted the poison, but can I tell you how fulfilling it is to watch a louse’s exoskeleton melt? And they can’t adapt to those enzymes, so I choose the non-toxic route every time.
The hardest part is that my husband’s eyesight isn’t what it used to be (not that it was ever any good), so I always wonder what he’s missing when he does my head.
(And I just realized that I commented on this post years ago saying that we’d never had it. Oh, the blissful days of youth.)