It’s the most wonderful time of year! I love the smell of fall leaves and pumpkin spice candles/lotions/coffee/everything. I love tall boots, warm sweaters, and mittens for sports games. I love that my kids are back in school and enjoying fall sports. There’s just one thing that could ruin all of this fall happiness…
Phase 1: Acknowledgement and Freak Out
Within one 24 hour span of time, I received an email from my kids’ school saying there was head lice in their classroom. Then, one of the family’s I’m working with reported having head lice.
My first reaction?
Total freak-out mode.
I called my mom in a panic and made her immediately check my head for any nasty bugs or nits. (I can’t even type those words without itching.)
Her report was that I was completely free of all things lice. I also checked every. single. inch. of my kids’ hair. Neither appeared to have any lice at the moment. That should have been reassuring, but it was not.
So I moved on to Phase 2.
Phase 2: Purchase All of the Products
Back when I was a 5th grade teacher, I had lice. I think that’s why I dread this little infestation so much.
We spent so many hours with shower caps covering our greasy heads while we waited for those little creatures to die. I purchased different shampoos, creams, and combs. I purchased the stuff to put in the car. Then I read some of it might be toxic, so I purchased the natural stuff after freaking out again.
We sealed all stuffed animals in bags and left them in the garage for months. We vacuumed and treated our cars, car seats, and coats with all the products that were available on the market.
I only had my oldest son at the time, and he had lice too. We also passed it to our best friends’ little girl and their home before we realized we were spreading it.
I vividly remember heading to Walgreen’s at 10:30 p.m. and feeling so embarrassed I was needing to purchase lice treatments. They must think I have a dirty head and home! This is actually a totally unnecessary feeling as having lice has nothing to do cleanliness. Read on…
Phase 3: Understand Reality
It really helped to learn more about lice and realize that it is treatable and doesn’t have anything to do with cleanliness. Here are some facts about head lice:
- Lice prefer a clean, healthy head of hair.
- Anyone can get head lice of any age.
- If you have lice (the bugs) or nits (the white eggs), you must be treated. They will not leave on their own.
- Follow ALL of the directions on the product you purchased. I like Quit Nits from Campbell’s Nutrition in Des Moines, but you can find products at any drug store as well. I personally think the best thing to look for is a metal-tooth comb, which will help get those nits out. Most products will tell you to treat again in 7-10 days–DO THIS EVEN IF YOU DON’T THINK IT’S NECESSARY.
- You can also get a prescription for lice treatment if the over the counter stuff isn’t working for your family. Evidently we are getting SUPER Lice which are resistant to traditional treatments. I can’t write anything more about this without gagging. Ask your doctor for details.
- Wash all clothes, towels, bedding, linen, coats, and backpacks in HOT water in the washing machine and then dry them on the hottest setting.
- Clean all combs and brushes in super hot water for at least 10 minutes.
- Vacuum everything. Bedrooms, carpets, car seats, furniture, and mattresses.
- Anything that is not machine washable can be sealed in garbage bags and left in the garage.
Phase 4: Pumpkin Spice
Once you have treated everyone in the house, triple checked their heads, and vacuumed again (and again), it’s best to relax with a Pumpkin Spice Latte. Actually, you should probably make it two. One for each hand so you don’t keep itching your head. Sip slowly, and enjoy your clean home and clean hair.