My family and I just had a wonderful camping week at the beach. The sun, swimming, tiki bar (what what?), and nights by the wonderful campfire with extended family were all relaxing and rejuvenating.
We reflected on the the fact that the only things we took away from camping were wonderful memories, big smiles, sun-kissed skin, and a better understanding of a need for personal space.
“Well,” we thought. “That one day was weird when we had to leave the pool because it had been contaminated.” We had just thought some kid (even though “it” happens, amirite?🤣) had pooed, which is awful in and of itself. But what it turns out to be, oh, is much worse.
Resuming daily activities Monday morning is when I quickly realized that sunsational vibes were not the only thing we brought home with us.
Phone rings: 10:00am
“Hi, Mrs. Wright…….little #2 has HEAD LICE and needs to be picked up immediately”
<Screech screech screech horror movie noise>
Those who really know me understand that I have an incredible visceral repulsion and hair-trigger panic button when it comes to flying insects and now also to tiny creatures you can barely see that latch on for dear life and suck your bodily juices for sustenance.(Is that too graphic?)
I panic. BIGTIME. We’ve never had lice in our house before!
I immediately stop my work and go to get her, all the while assuming I am going to pick her up and she’s going to be covered in these horrible blood thirsty pests.
A little History with my bug hysteria can be explained in the flea “epidemic” of 2015 when my dog had two fleas. I assumed the whole house had been taken over and went a little nuts and replaced all our carpets and our couch, bought a Dyson cordless and vacuumed six times a day. Totally normal behavior…
So, I vow to go immediately home, burn all clothes, shoes, beds, pillows, couches, carpets.
“That won’t be enough. The whole house will have to go up in flames. BURN IT DOWN”
So instead of going back down the road of epidemic, I reassure myself that I should assess the situation first, then react. High fives for rational thought.
Restoring my wits, I remember the thousands of other parents/kids/humans that have dealt with this issue in the past. And I got a lovely suggestion from our daycare provider (who was an angel and bagged two to educate me since this was our first time dealing with it) for a service we have here in Virginia called “The Nit Fairy” They searched for, treated, checked me and my daughter and scheduled a follow up with us! I paid for it….$300 to be exact…but the peace of mind that someone did a thorough job in finding them and treating them while teaching me what to do step by step feels priceless to me. Hopefully y’all have this in your area as well! It’s worth the search.
Now…..the aftermath. As soon as my son and husband get home, they are checked and treated. I use the OTC RID lice treatment on both, and vacuum and spray all carseat heads, and regular seats, seat belts, bike helmets with the home spray included in the kit.
Now, we wait….
24 Hour Report: So far so good. All have been checked several times with combing twice. Bug and egg free for today.
1)Mental itching and feeling of bugs all over level: expert.
2)Shampoo game: on point
3)House cleaning status: laundry done, things bagged and tagged, brushes/toys/ shoes drowned for two hours and counting.
What Do I Do Now?
I am not going to lie to you, looking through photos to show you what one of these things looks like made me throw up in my mouth.
HOWEVER! For the sake of me never wanting YOU to have to question “what the heck do I do?” upon the words “Mommy/Daddy, my head itches.” arriving at your door, here is a guide on what to do:
Step one: Saddle up, you’re riding this suck fest for two weeks plus.
The average lice egg takes up to a week to hatch. Meaning, if you don’t get the nits (lice eggs) out, you’ll have a brand new harvest in a weeks time. You’ll have to go through the WHOLE rigamaroll again if they go unnoticed.
Get a treatment kit either OTC, call for a prescription from your pediatrician on what they recommend, or go to a place like I did that treats you there. To decide, think about how you feel about chemical OTC treatments versus using an oil based solution such as a blend of Rosemary and Tea Tree Oil in a carrier Olive Oil.
Step Two: Treat yo’self and your WHOLE FAMILY
Get enough kits for your whole crew. Even if you don’t SEE anything on them, chances are there at least one. After you treat, wait seven days and treat again.
********Always follow the FULL instructions on how to treat in the pamphlet. Better yet, call your doctor and ask them!***********
This Comb is pretty legit as a replacement for the normal comb! Not necessary, but made me feel like I was doing more to alleviate my irrational tiny bug abhorrence.
Step Three: Housekeeping Diligence
The second most important step is to be violently and insanely diligent with cleaning up anything that anyone treated has touched in the last two days before finding the, gulp, infestation.
Wash: All clothes, sheets, pillow cases, hats, princess dresses, gloves, blenders, miniature schnauzer-doodles, goldfish… I don’t care ….WHATEVER THE KID(s) or y’all HAVE TOUCHED, wash it in 130 degree water. High heat for 20 minutes and roast the little things.
Dry Clean: Anything you cannot wash at 130 degrees and put on HIGH heat in dryer for at least 20-45 minutes, should be dry cleaned. Comforters, pillows, dragon pillows, fort roofs, fort sides, fort anything.
Bag: Anything else such as toys, tiaras, magic wands, and seal it for FOUR weeks in a bag and shake it like a polaroid picture when you take it out before use.
Vaccuum: Everything. Everywhere. All the time. Carpets, floors, couches, mattresses, headrests and car seats, your desk, headboards on bed. Just get an iRobot and call it a day.
Step Four: Pete and Repeat.
You know the old joke, “Pete and Repeat were on a boat. Pete fell off, who was left?” Yup…..basically you can clean and wash and vacuum for as long as you want. But everyone needs to be checked daily until you see no more lice or nits. Up to two weeks after last treatment. If you still see lice or nits after the two treatments, get your butt to a doctor cause you’ve got a superbug.
You could also just shave your head if you want. Believe me, in my initial freak out mode I told the day care provider that I was going home to shave everyone’s head. I mean, why not?
Please Share what has worked for you and your family to rid yourself of these evil effers that can hold their breath for TWO HOURS under water. Unless you say Powdered Sugar is delicious and the lice hate the sugar. (name that movie??)
<Kristy mumbles “holding their breath for two f$%king hours?” BLEEECCCHHHH >
Hope this helps you not to freak out like I did. Do as I say, not as I do:)
48 hour report: One sluggish bug found……Repeating steps above….AGAIN.
Godspeed good soldiers…