Outbreak!

by Stefanie Wilder-Taylor

 

A couple of weeks ago, my nanny found a louse on Matilda’s head. Apparently it was just crawling around, badass as it wanted to be, not a care in the world. Liz bagged it in a Ziploc sandwich bag so I could see it for myself and then called to deliver the bad news.

 

“Where the heck could my daughter have gotten lice? I wondered to myself. I could only conclude that she got it from Elby, my preschool aged kid, who, at that moment was probably playing in a wood chip pile at school blissfully unaware of the infestation happening on her scalp. Ignorance is bliss.

 

I completely panicked and speed dialed my pediatrician who was calm but had a boatload of instructions for me. After hearing and jotting down the list of products I’d need and the amount of level four cleaning I was in for, I literally had to sit down and catch my breath. This was more serious than I even thought. It involved vacuuming!

 

Twenty minutes and more than fifty dollars later I arrived home with a huge sack of RIDD products. I had shampoos, lice combs, some sort of gel that makes it easier to comb through the hair to get the lice out, plus furniture spray, tea tree oil and a spray bottle. Also three Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate candy bars for mental health. I laid out my loot on the dining room table and then went to root through the twins’ hair. The lice eggs (or nits) should be fairly easy to spot, I’d been told. Since Liz had seen a live louse, there were most likely already eggs that had started to hatch. Oh yeah, let the good times roll.

 

I put on a pair of protective gloves as the box instructed (no I didn’t. Have you met me? I’m totally lazy) and sat down on the floor with Matilda between my legs in front of me to begin a job that is the dread of all parents. After searching for awhile, I hadn’t found anything. Not even a single flake of dandruff. I moved to Sadie’s hair. Nothing. But at this point I was like a dog with a bone, determined to find something –those little louse bastards had to be in there right? I checked the evidence bag Liz had collected earlier and then compared it to images I researched on Google. I made a positive identification. That was definitely a louse in the baggie and where there’s smoke there’s fire.

 

Meanwhile, I figured there wasn’t a huge rush to pick Elby up from school. I mean, if she gave Matilda head lice that meant she already had it and if she already had it then what difference would it make if she was at school a little longer. The damage was already done. Plus, someone there obviously gave it to her so the worst that could happen is she’d give it back! And screw these parents who clearly had no moral compass if they’d let their lice infected kids hang out at school with mine! I figured I’d whip off a missive to the school director demanding mandatory lice checks of all students on a regular basis but first I had to lie down for a few minutes. Jesus, there was probably lice on my pillow considering Elby had slept in our bed last night.

 

Senyoreta Anna
05.19.10

Capri or Bust

'The key to getting rid of lice naturally is to use natural essential oils which feature high levels of phenols, ketones, oxides or aldehydes.
One of the most powerful options is oregano. Lavender, anise seed and cinnamon leaf have also proven effective. In a 1996 Icelandic clinical trial published in Complementary Therapies in Nursing & Midwifery, these oils killed 100% of lice and eggs.'
I did online research to make one's own lice 'insecticide'/repellent: 1/2 c. vodka (grain alcohol)plus 6-8 drops essential oil of Cinnamon Leaf or other (Simpler's brand is excellent). Do some research. This is safer on the child's system than the active ingredients Piperonyl butoxide, pyrethrins, currently found in common treatments (they have the FDA Pharmaceutical Pregnancy Rating of "C" = "Animal studies have shown an adverse effect and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women"). Plus, the bugs are building up resistance to the pharmaceutically mfr'd stuff.

Chris
02.27.10

There is an outbreak every year in school. I've experienced the horror of trying to comb lice out of 3 girls with tightly curled hair 3x over the years. 8am until 4pm with 2 people combing. We've had to cut the hair more than once. A nightmare! I now start with the Circle of Friends lice defense shampoo and braids early in the school year. Chris

Michi
02.03.10

Lice - my scalp itches just thinking about them. An outbreak went through the school in the fall, my daughter was unscathed.
But until you've experienced the horror of trying to comb lice out of tightly curled hair...

PJsMom
01.27.10

you dodged a bullet!