Thursday, June 14, 2012

An Lousy First

After 6 years of having kids in school (and 4 additional years of daycare), it has finally happened. One of the 'Tars has the dreaded LICE. I wasn't going to even write about it because it seriously creeps me out, but all of our firsts, from the great to the terrible, are documented here, so it only seems fitting to immortalize this milestone with the written word, creeptastic as it may be.

I noticed KayTar was scratching her head quite a bit the last week of school, so I asked our favorite nurse to give her a once over. I hadn't seen anything when I looked, but she has a lot more head checking experience under her belt and I trust her eyes more than my own in this case. I waited anxiously to hear back and was SO relieved when she gave me the all clear. Except...on Saturday morning, I spotted one in KayTar's hair. AGH! And another. Then another. It was SO icky. I know that lice have nothing to do with hygiene or cleanliness, I do. I know they actually prefer clean heads because it is easier for them to latch on to non-greasy hair. I know that they don't transmit disease and are more of a nuisance than anything actually harmful. But regardless of that, there is something so squicky about them. Yuck! I've had to hand deliver bowel movements, treat pus-filled MRSA infections, clean vomit and feces more times than I can ever count, but THIS grosses me out the most. Thankfully, everyone else had clear heads when checked...but we're watching for itchy heads, that is for sure!

I stripped all the beds. I collected all pillows, towels, laundry, stuffed animals (oh LORD, the number of stuffed animals that girl owns!), and other washable upholstery...washed it on hot and dried it on hot. I learned from several reputable sites (AAP and CDC, for example) that if you can dry something on hot for 30 minutes, you don't have to leave it bagged for 2 weeks like most people think. We vacuumed and sprayed the carpet, couches, and other things that didn't fit in the washer and then treated KayTar with Rid and then picked through her hair. Even with the recent haircut, OH MY GOSH, she has a lot of hair. It is a huge task to search through it, takes almost 2 hours. The nit combs that come with the medication are worthless, you HAVE to use your fingers to get eggs out. I could really benefit from having 3 hands temporarily. I ordered a special "professional grade" comb yesterday, it is the one the local nit-picking salon uses...it had great Amazon reviews. We'll see how it actually works. I've been redrying her bed stuff daily on hot and rechecking her head every 1-2 days. I was happy to learn that nits that are no longer on someone's head (like if a strand of hair falls off with one attached), the eggs will not hatch...they need the body warmth to survive. Lice and their eggs cannot survive very long without a human head, so environmental transmission is unlikely. Monday, I found another live louse, so we treated her again with Nix this time per the instructions in the AAP article. Yesterday, I found another live one. I know that it is just missed eggs that are hatching and we just need to keep nit-picking and getting rid of them as we see them, but I really just want them to be gone already. Give me a metabolic or neuro problem any day over this...I feel much more capable of handling it!

KayTar is, of course, handling it like a champ. If life were fair, she'd get to skip over this ordeal since she has more than paid her dues in other ways...but nope, it is just one more thing for her to tough out. And as always, she is doing it with smiles, laughter, and a good attitude. At first, though, she was pretty grossed out, too, and blamed me a little for finding it, "If you had just let me get my milk and not wanted to do my hair, this never would have happened!" LOL! But then yesterday, as I was checking her hair AGAIN, I let out a exaggeratedly whiny, "I don't wanna do this anymoooooore!" and she said, "Well Mama, do you want to have to strip the beds and rewash EVERYTHING?" I mumbled, "No..." and she said, "Well, then we are just going to have to finish this." Yes, ma'am! I also captured the louse we found yesterday and put it in a Ziploc baggie so she could see it and she asked me if we could squish it. I told her they don't die very easily like that and it would die all by itself because it can't survive long without her head. She said, "Oh! So the lice are like Lord Voldemort and I'm like Professor Quirrell?" (reference to Harry Potter and Sorcerer's Stone). She is so clever. And then we had a good laugh because Voldemort was surviving on the back of Quirrell's head...just like a louse! Let's just hope these lice don't keep coming back like Voldemort did!

9 comments:

Sarah said...

I've always said that if one of my boys gets lice, I'm going to have to ship him off to Siberia -- that's how much the idea of lice squicks me out. Thankfully, it hasn't happened yet....

But just in case, you have some good tips here.

Good luck!

Jenna said...

My best friend had to deal with that last month, it was horrible!!!!! I would never wish it on anyone. Makes me want to keep Matt's hair short forever. Even though they don't hurt anything they are so hard to get rid of!

Anonymous said...

It's really not that bad. Don't worry too much about washing. What you need to do is comb, comb, and then comb some more. That's the only thing that finally worked for us, as the chemicals were pretty much useless. We too used one of the special combs from Amazon. You are most likely getting the same one

katrynka said...

What a bummer! I think it would flip me out too.

dlefler said...

Oh, LICE! I hate lice. We haven't had a bout here yet, but I know it is bound to happen some day. I'm sort of glad we have boys - easier to treat with shorter hair (maybe - I'm not sure since we haven't dealt with it yet)!

Like Lord Voldemort, we don't actually say their name. We say "The Pest Who Must Not Be Named" or "Rhymes with Mice." I hope you see an end to it soon!!!!

~aj~ said...

Oh bless her heart! I would seriously lose my mind if I had to deal with that. We found a tick on Drew's head a couple of weeks ago and I could hardly bring myself to help remove it. The only reason I did as well as I did is because Matt found it first and told me where to look so I knew to expect it. A few hours later I found one on Lily by accident and I seriously retched and started screaming. Ugh...gives me heebie jeebies just thinking about it.

But just leave it to KayTar to handle it like a champ. She is a super star!

And I love your title of this one. Louse-y first for sure!

Shellye said...

Bless her heart!!!! Poor KayTar! It's a good thing she got her hair cut! Oh man, if you had to try to get lice out of all of that hair before she had it cut...wow.

I'm so sorry you're going through this. I hope every last one of the lice dies a horrible, painful death for messing with KayTar!

jo(e) said...

Oh, we've had lice. You're right about the stupid plastic combs -- they are worthless. I bought a metal one at the drugstore, and that worked great.

I didn't like using the medicated shampoo so we went for the old-fashioned treatment: mayonnaise. I slathered With-a-Why's hair with it, added some plastic wrap, and then put a tight winter hat on over that so that we could leave it in over night. The mayonnaise will smother the lice to death. The nice thing is that mayonnaise isn't toxic so you can use it as often as you want. Olive oil works as well.

With-a-Why has really long hair so I spent hours combing out the nits ....

Anonymous said...

UGH! Could KayTar have gotten Lice from the Salon? What a PITA that had to have been. I agree about that whole creepy feeling. And as much as I know they love clean hair, it still doesn't make me feel better. I used to think (when I was still teaching and an outbreak would occur) that I should stop washing my hair! But that's gross too! LOL! Jodi