Thursday, June 21, 2012

Deadville, Population: Lice


So we have still been dealing with lice. We did 1 treatment with RID, 1 treatment with Nix, picked through her hair frequently for 1-2 hours, used the fancy new comb, continued to treat the environment (washing her bedding every 1-2 days, vacuuming and spraying the couch and common areas), retreated her hair with Nix on Monday...and I was STILL finding live lice/nymphs at every check. We were making some progress (and keeping it from spreading), but not because of the medicated treatments. I emailed the pediatrician on Tuesday night to see when she recommends using the prescription grade stuff and she said NOW would be the time.

So yesterday she called Ovide in for us. Guys, it is SERIOUS stuff. It is the equivalent of the atomic bomb in the war against lice. It is malathion (an organophosphate) in a mixture of isopropyl alcohol, terpineol, dipentene, and pine needle oil. It says it is a lotion, but it is a clear liquid in a glass bottle (I think it might digest plastic if in contact too long). It is SMELLY. Oh my gosh, does it ever diesel fuel or turpentine...or diesel fuel AND turpentine. And it is flammable. I was a little reticent to use the hardcore stuff on KayTar, because she is so sensitive (especially where her skin and respiratory system are concerned), but the pediatrician said she has used it on her own kids and it has been effective in one treatment without any issues. I trust her judgment where KayTar is concerned and we were ready to be DONE with lice. (At the library on Monday, where they KNOW US because we are always in there, she announced in her precious and never quiet voice, "I wish I didn't have LICE!" There was simultaneous head-turning. It was mortifying!) So, we did it. Did I mention it smelled terrible? The whole house smelled. It had to stay on her head overnight, 8-12 hours, so we put an old towel over her pillow. Aside from the noxious fumes, it did not bother or irritate her, and she adjusted to the odor quickly enough. This morning we washed it out and I combed through her hair and didn't see ANYTHING living up there. This is the first day I haven't found something alive! Josh and I are going to recheck it tonight (we can be more thorough with 4 hands and 2 sets of eyes) and I'm fervently hoping we don't find any critters up there.

Things I have learned from this experience:
1. Lice are becoming increasingly resistant to OTC products. They call them SUPER LICE! I call them terribly annoying. If you see LIVE ADULT lice after a treatment with an OTC product, try a different one. If you still see LIVE ADULT lice after the second treatment, talk to your doctor about a prescription. If it the treatment was effective, there shouldn't be live adults left. Also, with Nix, don't use any conditioner or conditioner containing shampoo, it will decrease will swimming in a chlorinated pool.
2. The non-toxic suffocation methods are not effective at killing lice because lice can close their spiracles (breathing holes) and become dormant until the suffocation hazard passes. These methods can making combing through easier, but won't actually kill anything.  
3. You don't have to go crazy with cleaning the environment. Washing/drying (on highest heat) all clothes/bedding/towels that can be washed that the "infested" person has used should be sufficient. If it can't be washed, just dry it on high for 30+ minutes. If it can't be dried, then vacuum it well, regularly. No need to keep things bagged for weeks if you can wash/dry or simply dry them. We did frequently re-wash/re-dry KayTar's bedding and vacuum her floor and the couch and her carseat often, too. We washed all laundry on hot during this fiasco.
4. Nit-picking is VERY time-consuming and most effective when 2 people work together on it. 4 eyes and 4 hands are considerably better than 2. Nits are almost impossibly tiny. 
5. The Nit Terminator comb is worth the $10 on Amazon, but still not as good as eyes and fingers. 
6. Environmental transmission is somewhat unlikely. Lice eggs do not hatch without the incubator-temps of the human scalp. Live lice die within 24-48 hours of leaving the head. Head to head contact is the most likely source of infestation. 
Lice still give me the creeps, but not nearly as much as they did on day 1! The title of this post is a direct quote from KayTar. She also said, "I hope my head has enough tiny coffins for them all!" I love that kid.


Tammi Kay said...

I feel for you. My daughter had waist length, thick, super curly (alright, let's be honest....she was a frizz ball) hair. A comb wasn't even a possibility. There was no way a comb was getting through her hair. It was hours of hand-picking - strand by strand. I've heard that only God knows the number of hairs on our head. That may be. I din'y count, but I touched every single one of hers! Hang tight. it will pass.

S said...

When I had it as a kid, they used Qwell (sp?). Apparently it's so toxic that they won't even use it on animals anymore.


BTW, good tips!

Jenna said...

I hope you don't find any tonight and you can be through with it!
The library thing is so embarrassing. I don't embarrass easy, there is just something about lice.

Diane said...

The schools here actually recommend using tea tree oil on the kids hair here.

We put 10-15 drops of pharmacy grade tea tree oil in every bottle of shampoo from kindy and up- and despite a few breakouts at school, the girls never got lice.

Tea tree does dry our hair a bit, but it worked for us :-) Maybe you can ask the ped about it, or try some as a preventative.

I cannot imagine combing through all that hair! UGH! Hope this treatment does it for you guys.

alejna said...

I'm glad that you are seeing some real progress from the prescription treatment. Here's hoping you can put this behind you!

We have yet to deal with this ourselves, but I think it is only a matter of time. There were a couple of notes sent home that someone in the school, and then someone in the classroom, had lice. One of these days, I may well be looking up all your tips!

(Also, can I just say that I can't even read about lice without my head itching? )

dlefler said...

I am so, SO glad the lice have been permanently evicted from KayTar's head! It's only a matter of time for any parent of an elementary-aged kiddo. Kind of glad I have boys - I am guessing that very short hair is easier to get through than long hair.

Sandy said...

congrats on getting rid of the pesky critters!
i remember one of my daughters had a heck of a time with it and we went thru treatments twice. ugh!
there's a lice prevention medicine that can be used, once you've had lice, you sure don't want it again! has a fabric & upholstery spray.
if anyone escapes childhood without lice, you are blessed indeed!

googleheim said...

you can google the effectiveness of hair blow dryers in elliminating lice.

it supposedly is just as effective as the OTC chem shampoo's

Shellye said...

I'm so glad the lice are finally dead! KayTar's comment about the tiny coffins was hilarious!