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You Know You're a Mother When: Lice

You Know You're a Mother When: Lice

Payback's an itch. When my younger sister had a lice scare years ago, I screamed in horror (literally). In light of that episode, I think I handled yesterday rather well. I was about to braid my daughter's hair when I noticed something very tiny and hard to differentiate attached to her hair shaft. I frantically inspected her head to discover a total of five lil specks. Keeping calm and feeling like infestation had taken over my being, I phoned her pediatrician's helpline, a advice nurse hot-line and urgent care to no avail. After comparing what I thought I saw to some Google images, I erred on the side of caution and headed up to the hospital to see if a nurse would check my children. To see what happened,


A careful inspection concluded that they were a few lice eggs. Surprised I caught it, the nurse checked my son and me at my insistence, told us we were in the clear and to buy the over-the-counter medication for my girl. At the drugstore, I was no longer just a shopper, but THAT woman — the one carting her her tots over to peruse lice shampoos and nitpicking combs. I didn't care because the threat of lice and not wanting to freak out my offspring was all I could handle. When we got to the check out, no one seemed to notice the eighty-five dollars worth of goodies in my basket. Until, the clerk scanned them and announced, "Uh, oh — somebody got lice!" I held back the urge to lift my daughter over the counter and have her shake her beautiful long blond hair in the woman's face. Instead, we headed home and cut eight inches off my 4-year-old's never-before-snipped tresses. Then, went to work shampooing and combing her hair (and all of ours as a precaution) and washing everything we own.

hithatsmybike hithatsmybike 9 years
As a chemist with a thorough knowledge of the all-but-inconsequential composition of mineral oil (I use it on a daily basis -- it's a regular component in a number of useful equipment parts), I can tell you that whatever fumes you imagined you inhaled aren't going to do you any harm. When I said "inhale", I meant the actual liquid. I'm sure it's a bitch to get oil out of your lungs. Chemicals used as directed are only unsafe if you're one of the few that have an allergic or otherwise reaction. Not everyone benefits from modern scientific research, and for some it does more harm than good. (Probably not going to happen with mineral oil though -- like I said: inconsequential). I don't know if your doctor would suggest olive oil for eczema, I'm neither physician nor pharmacist, though I know topical hydrocortisone or zinc oxide treatments are popular for the condition. They're chemicals. So? I find the new-bred fear of "chemicals" tiresome and grossly misled. The very practice of using such chemicals began with extracting them from natural ingredients in the first place, so they're not "bad". I think the negative connotations associated with chemical substances is part of the organic-family trend, and people jumping on the bandwagon are too busy being fashionable to spend any time educating themselves -- or, when they do "educate" themselves, it's only with green propaganda. I've been horrified on more than one occasion when I get an earful about the dangers of my career from a eco-friendly friend as she grabs whatever from a drugstore shelf with EDTA listed in the ingredients. Maybe I just hated manual titrations with the substance a little too much, or maybe that preservative is actually toxic. I guess what I'm trying to say is: chemicals aren't bad, people are stupid.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
Gossamer, where did you get the zapping comb? I'd love to keep something like that onhand, just in case.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
And chemicals aren't automatically safe just because they're used according to directions. My son has eczema, so I'm guessing a doctor would say to use the olive oil (assuming he didn't want to shave) rather than chemicals.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
Sorry, I only meant I'd shave my sons' heads if they wanted to, not that it'd be my immediate action. I certainly wouldn't do it if they didn't want it. Lice only lives for something like 36 hours off the body, so many people find that they don't need to do an overhaul of the entire house. I probably would want to ditch everything and start over, but it's not always necessary (or even possible). Lord knows I'd definitely be disinfecting the entire house, though. I might use the chemicals as well, I'm just saying that those who want to avoid it aren't in the wrong. The home remedies work just as well. I had treat dry skin on my face with baby oil and it was very clearly stated by the derm. to use it very sparingly. I wasn't eating it or rubbing it in my eyes, but having it on my skin means it is inhaled, as it would be if the hair was drenched in it. I've always been told by pediatricians that contrary to the name, I should not use it on babies either. Olive oil doesn't have that same precaution.
hithatsmybike hithatsmybike 9 years
I'm a little surprised by the amount of people that believe a simple shampoo treatment is the answer -- you have to GET RID of your childs bedding, brushes, hats, etc. If not throwing them out, then definitely disinfect. My younger sisters got lice once or twice when we were kids. Oddly enough, I didn't (but they shared a room so maybe that's why?). My mom only had to use a shampoo and get rid of their linens and the problem was solved. Shaving a child's head is definitely unnecessary. As for chemical means, they're safe as long as you're using them for the purpose intended and follow the directions. As for mineral oil, I don't know whether or not it's true that it can damage mucous membranes, but even if that is the case, that's a non-issue since the only exposed mucous membrane of your body is your EYES and no one in their right mind would rub baby oil into their eyes, that's just common sense.. Other than that, don't eat it, inhale it, or stick it in your ears. There. Crisis averted.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
Mineral oil (which is baby oil) isn't recommended because it can damage your mucus membranes. I've heard of many people using olive oil but it takes much longer than a day or two, and can be very difficult to fully clean out of the hair.
aerialkabuki aerialkabuki 9 years
Jeeze people! Just douse the scalp with baby oil, it drowns the lice. Then shower, and use a cheap lice comb to remove eggs. Repeat for a day or two, and you'll be fine.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
Heat helps as well, so if you "style" your hair or your child's hair with a hairdryer daily, you cut your chances. Of course, this isn't all that realistic with young children.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
no one atour house has had this yet, but it makes the rounds a coule of times a year in each of their classes. i keep the same shampoo in the cabinet and follow instructions as soon as we get the notice each time. i hear that if it gets to the beds you will have to hire professionals to get rid of it! how much would that cost :faint:
faerymagick15 faerymagick15 9 years
my daughter got lice from her cousins when she was 14 and it was horrible! She had long blonde hair and I tried so hard to take care of it myself to no avail. I just couldn't get everything. Where we used to live there was a place you could take your kids and for $150 they would do all the lice removal egg by egg, bug by bug. It was well worth it! Took her back for a re check in about a week and all was well. They also did a quick check of me and my son and we were fine. I remember having lice once when I was 10. I had long dark hair and my mother spent a good half a day taking care of it strand by strand cuz she didn't want to cut my hair. I got them from a cousin also. I think when its your little girl and they have long hair its very traumatic! My son...his hair was really short at the time and we always put gel in it to spike it up. The ladies at the lice place told me lice hate styling products and hair dye and they go for the cleanest hair they can find. My daughter insisted on starting to dye her hair after that!
Greggie Greggie 9 years
I don't think not wanting to use chemicals is eye-roll inducing. The chemicals can easily rip up a child's scalp and hair. There's lots of non-chemcial ways to do it, they just take longer. But in a lot of cases there's pregnant women and infants in the house and non-chemical is the only way to go. The thought of lice makes me itch for obvious reasons, but I don't think that overall it's any grosser than a lot of childhood illnesses. Just a lot more time-consuming to handle.
perfectesque perfectesque 9 years
OMG I hope that my darlings never get lice because they just seem really gross and I don't like to touch icky stuff!
redegg redegg 9 years
Wow, I didn't realize you had to cut hair off sometimes! My dad used the shampoo on me when I got it in elementary and it worked well just by itself. I remember a coworker once who didn't want to use the shampoo on her daughter. She instead just chased the lice bug around on her daughter's head until she caught it and got rid of it so that she would not have to use chemicals. :oy: Don't ask me how she did it. But she managed it!
Gossamer Gossamer 9 years
My 5 year old sister got it at the hair salon when we gave her a cut so it was easily manageable since her hair was very short, but it was a completely different story with my 10 year old sister. She has never cut it so it reaches to the bottom of her back, and her hair is beyond think. My mom and her did not want to cut it so it was a difficult and expensive task but we finally got rid of it. Rid did not work when my little sisters had lice. The lice comb did, the one with the little radar that goes off when it finds lice and then it saps it dead. I bought it out of desperation because my mom had tried combing and shampooing so many times that it was becoming silly to keep trying the same thing. So I saw the comb for twenty dollars and thought it was worth it since she had spent over a 100 dollars on shampoos. My mom still has the comb and checks their hair every so often.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
I got lice at summer camp, and last week my niece went to the same camp (20 something years later) and came back with them also. It happens, just like chicken pox used too!
Greggie Greggie 9 years
There's another home remedy but I'm lost as to what it was. Our doctor is REALLY good at immediately checking lice if it's suspected, and you go into a private entrance as well. I've never had to do it, but I think I'm just counting the days. With two kids in school, it's only a matter of time before one gets it and passes it on. Now that I have a girl, it worries me more. With boys, treatment is easy - shave their heads (assuming they're ok with it, and both my boys love close-buzzed hair already). With a girl, I wouldn't want to spare an inch of hair unless she wanted to or it was absolutely necessary.
aistea311 aistea311 9 years
:shudders: my head is itching as I read this!
roxtarchic roxtarchic 9 years
they say tea tree oil is very helpful as a preventative measure, should there be an outbreak in school... but yeah, i could COMPLETELY see myself trekking off to drs office w/our heads covered in tea tree oil leaving a smelly medicinal trail in our wakes! hahah
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 9 years
sofi that is exactly the way my daughter got the lice, the school did a poor job informing the other parents that had the right to know that there was a child with lice so we can address the issue before it hit well to late
sofi sofi 9 years
argh- hate lice and the worry! We have never had it in our house, but it's occurred many times at school. This year, our school was so awful about informing parents and making sure children were treated properly. I had to contact the vice principal personally after a friend told me about an infestation in their class. I was so infuriated with their lack of urgency. The problem never hit our classroom (that I know of), but it seriously took a month or so to get everyone involved complying and taking action. I've got my lice kit under the sink- just in case.
jessie jessie 9 years
lmao at the comment on the drugstore lady, :oy: some'll be gone in no time, good job for being quick on the ball! so many parents don't know what to look for.
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 9 years
that is hilarious but was it really necessary to go to the hospital? i hate lice my eldest has had them twice
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 9 years
Great job! I remember when me and my brother has lice my mom FREAKED out! Now that I think back on those days it was pretty funny.
babysugar babysugar 9 years
lilsugar, you are a rockstar mom.
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