I did something today that could make me the most popular person on my street or the number one most hated neighbor. My kids told me that some little kids on our street had head lice. Head lice is no stranger to my house. We’ve had to battle head lice in our house in the past. So when I hear the word head lice, I want to chase my kids into the house and dead bolt our front door.
Although I tell my kids not to play with the kids that have head lice, my kids do it anyway. So I decided to do my part to help conquer the head lice issue on our street. I wrote the following letter and gave one to each of my neighbors that have small kids. NOT just the one that was reported to have children with head lice.
The letter read:
To the Parents of small kids,
I heard talk of head lice on our street recently. I have been there before, several times. I thought I’d jot down a few things that I have done that seemed to get rid of it. I’m afraid there is no 1 thing that will make it all go away. Instead, I have found that if you do a number of things the lice will finally go away. I am not giving this letter to you because I think your child(ren) have head lice. Instead, I am giving it to you, just in case your child GETS head lice. I just thought I would share the things that I have used, in hopes to help you out. I know how terrible it is to have head lice in your household. It can make you lose your mind. I hope these suggestions help.
• There are three stages of lice. The eggs/nit, the baby lice/bug and the adult lice/bug. If you don’t remove all of them from your house and heads, the lice will keep coming. Last summer I picked 40 some nits and lice out of Marie’s hair in one setting. Ann didn’t have as many, but she had a good amount in her hair. The boys had it too, but I was able to shave their heads and eliminate their problem.
• Lice likes clean hair, because it can cling to the hair easily. So the myth that people with head lice are dirty is wrong. So what I did was make the girl’s hair greasy by putting hair oils on them. I used products from Softee, called Hair Food and Indian Hemp. They are hair & scalp treatments that you can find at Dollar General. They are thick like Vaseline, but more manageable. When you put this oil in the hair, you are smothering the head lice. Hopefully you will kill them, but if not, you will at least make it harder for the lice to move around. So you can find and remove them easier. Plus, it should make any new lice less likely to come on to the head.
• Another thing the school suggested, to help keep any more lice from traveling, was to keep long hair in a ponytail and spray it with hairspray.
• An adult lice can lay 40 or more nits/eggs at a time. It takes around two weeks for the nits/eggs to hatch. A baby lice cannot lay nits/eggs but will cause a lot of itching and irritation. But when the baby lice become adult lice in a few weeks, they start the whole process over and the nightmare continues. Which is why all three stages of head lice need to be removed from the hair.
• You also need to treat your house. Because lice can crawl and if it moves from a head to a piece of clothing, a hat or a pillowcase, it can survive for a few days without a food source (head). So you need to take anything made of cloth and wash it in the washing machine and dry it on high heat in the dryer. I don’t know if the water will drowned them, but the high heat will kill them.
• Anything you can’t wash in the washer needs to be bagged and sealed up for at least 2 weeks. Stuffed animals, big comforters, cloth organizer bins, etc. The hope is that you smother them, plus they die from the lack of food source.
• On top of putting oil in the hair or washing it with lice shampoo, I have also washed their hair with regular shampoo and then rinsed it with Listerine. The alcohol in the Listerine helps kill or repel the lice.
• If you have girls with long hair, especially curly hair, you can use a hair straightener on their hair to burn the nits up. But you need to get it close to the scalp, because the nits live within a half an inch from the scalp on the hair shaft.
• Another thing you need to do is vacuum everything. The carpets, couches, mattresses, etc. need to be vacuumed every other day until the infestation is done.
• Again, check and remove any nit and bug from the hair. Check their hair daily. I didn’t know what I was looking for at first, but Marie’s head gave me a first class training lesson last summer. I would find black specks on the scalp and think I got the lice. That, unfortunately, was the lice’s poop, not the bug.
• What does the egg and bugs look like? They are transparent, but sort of white. Nits are little specks that are attached to a single strand of hair. It will be close to the scalp and the only way to remove it is to pull it straight up from the bottom to the top of the strand. It is not like dandruff. It cannot be flicked off. It is glued onto the hair strand. The only way to get it off is to pull it from the scalp to the end of the hair, sort of like a bead going through a straw.
• I found that the best way to remove the eggs and bugs was to sit in a well lite area. Sunlight is the best lighting to find them. I would get a small bowl of water and add a little bit of Listerine to the water. I also got a wet washcloth to wipe the comb off with. I combed through small sections at a time and when I found an egg or a bug, I would put it in the bowl of water. The eggs won’t move, but a bug will try to run away if you don’t put it in water. The Listerine sort of kills the bugs. It’s a tedious process, but it is the only way to get them out. I would sit on the floor or the couch and have the girls lay beside me, with their head on my lap. That way we were both semi-comfortable. When I went through a section, I would clip it or braid it so I knew it was checked.
I know this seems like a lot, but it seems like it is the only way to get rid of them for good. I hope this helps you in one way or another. Again, I am giving this to you to help, not to upset you. If you think you know how to control head lice, than please disregard this letter. If your household encounters head lice, I wish you luck. I have been there before and know I will be there again someday. It’s pretty inevitable, since I have four little ones. By the way, check everyone’s hair. Someone could have lice and not even know it.
I received a pretty good response from the neighbors when I brought them the letter and explained to them briefly what it was about. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t call me names after they closed the door. LOL Oh well, I did my part. Whether it will help or not, I did more than just telling my kids to stay away from “THOSE” kids. Will my kids get head lice this summer? God I hope not. But if they do, you’ll hear about it on my blog. If it does happen again, I might just shave ALL the kid’s heads. Why not, Brittany Spears did it once and it will grow back. 🙂