A few short weeks ago, my 5-year old daughter experienced lice for the first time, which then resulted in our entire family (minus our 6-month-old son) getting lice. That was fun! (Said no Mom ever)
Considering that September is Lice Prevention Month (who knew?!) I figured I could share a bit about what I learned through the process to make it a little less daunting and scary for the first-timers who are bound to experience this in the coming weeks, months, or years. So Bookmark this page so you have a resource to turn to when the time comes!
Let’s get to the tips & tricks
Tip #1: Talk About It
I don’t know for the life of me why the topic of lice is whispered or nearly not even talked about at all among social circles. The myth of “being dirty leads to lice” was squashed years ago, but for some reason if you have lice, or have had it, it’s a topic no one wants to discuss, unless you have “been there, done that” when someone else brings it up. It’s like a very secret society where most are too scared to say anything so they have to endure this alone and pray their child doesn’t spread the lice to another.
Let’s change that, and TALK ABOUT IT. I prefer the method of prevention, rather than treatment, in nearly every avenue in my life, and this is no exception. Our experience with it was quite eye-opening. My daughter was in a program throughout the summer where she went to the park and played every day for 3 hours. I am convinced that is where she got the lice, but yet no one said anything. Not one notice to the parents that there was lice going around, until I SAID SOMETHING. I guarantee you she was not the first one to get it. We were just the first ones to give a heads up about it. In my eyes, if you see something, say something, so all of us parents can be on the lookout, and if our child does get it, we can squash it early and not let it lead to the entire family getting it (like ours did) before it’s caught.
Tip #2: Phone a Friend
Along the same lines as talking about it, also ask for help! Most of your friends, especially if they have older children, have probably been through it and can offer some advice, or at the very least, support. I was lucky enough to have had a playdate that day with two friends of my daughter and one of the moms had been through the lice situation a couple years ago with another of her daughters. She quickly reassured me that we would be ok, gave me a name of a local company here that treats the lice with heat and kills them instantly, and gave me some other pointers (that I will get to later). I am so grateful I said something. I was just reaching out to let them know to check their kids (like I said in Tip #1- Talk About It) and I was lucky enough to have had an expert on my hands.
Even though I still spent the entire night washing everything, we were able to take care of the situation the next day and the treatment took care of all of us, even though it was extremely expensive. Being this was the first time I had dealt with lice, I didn’t even know it was lice at first. I noticed little brown things in my daughter’s blonde hair during her bath, which lead me to more digging and eventually finding the live bugs. I thought lice was white and looked like dandruff, but apparently it looks different depending on the hair color.
Tip #3: Find a Local Lice Specialist
If you are so fortunate, find a local lice specialist. I didn’t even know that these existed, but they do, and because I said something to a friend, I was able to get in on the secret. Although these treatments are very pricey, every parent I have talked to about lice and having this treatment has said the same thing: “It’s worth it.” This heat treatment kills the lice instantly so there is no guess work on whether or not another treatment is needed in the next 10 days, or if there is still a chance the whole family, friends, etc can get lice from your child. It’s done. Taken care of that same day. Out of sight, out of mind. Thank Goodness.
Now for the Tricks- What I learned from this experience
If you DO get lice- Freeze all combs for 10 hours and Wash all Bedding (or simply dry on high heat for 40 minutes) That’s all you really need to do! Sounds simple right? When I googled what to do, I got a whole list of craziness like bagging up all stuffed animals, treating any fabric, etc, which, according to the expert who treated us, is not necessary.
Lice is most commonly spread from head-to-head contact, so the best way to prevent getting lice is to pull your kid’s hair back, if you can, and spray it with a peppermint spray. There are several ones you can buy or simply make your own with essential oil. A simple google search will help you find one. Summer and Fall is THE WORST TIME to get it/spread it.
Be on the lookout. Run a fine-toothed comb through your kid’s hair every 1-2 weeks during the “high season” of lice. It’s best if the hair is wet, so bath time is a great time to do this. Look for tiny eggs. Or actual live bugs. Each egg, or nit as they are called, takes about 11 days to hatch. If you catch them, they won’t hatch! If you catch lice early enough you may be lucky and not spread it. Unfortunately our whole family had it by the time we found it in my daughter.
The Nix shampoo treatments didn’t work for us the first time around, and there are rumors going around that “super lice” are immune to this treatment. So, if you can, find a lice specialist immediately and don’t waste your money on the shampoos.
While I am by no means an expert on this, I think being through it once is enough for us! Hopefully these tips and tricks help stop the spreading of lice a little and may you never have to experience this!