It just seems like I should go ahead and share the fun adventure of what it was to have lice for the first time ever.
#1 We have neighbors who let us know that they had lice. We did not allow our children to play with them after we found out, but we played for many hours this summer before they alerted us. And by "we", I really just mean my little girls: Galadriel, Rosie, and Eowyn. But Galadriel had been spending more hours with her nose in a book this summer, and Eowyn is only 3, so she sort of tagged along, but often just played apart from the older girls. In other words, "we" means Rosie, my 7 year old.
I was feeling like the "mean mom" because everyone else in the neighborhood was letting their kids play with the family who had lice, but I was going to give it a two-week time period to "clear". I was just waiting until the next weekend to let the kids play again...
Sunday morning, 8am, I grabbed a brush to throw Rosie's hair into a quick ponytail for Mass. I SAW A LOUSE crawling along her scalp. I froze, then calmly announced to my husband "We have lice. Rosie has lice." I saw a pink-handled school room scissors on our sink counter (I still have no idea why it was there). I grabbed it, told Galadriel to "Get a plastic garbage bag and the tea tree oil", and began to CUT Rosie's hair to the chin. Within 30 seconds, she was bobbed. When Galadriel arrived with the trash bag, I sealed all hair in it and sent it out of the house.
Then I turned the water on high and began to work the tea-tree oil into Rosie's hair and scalp (undiluted, which I will say now is not recommended as it is awfully strong and can cause reactions--Rosie did not get any bad reaction, but I did not know this at the time). The oil seemed to instantly kill the lice on contact. Maybe this is not true, but they sure fled the oil and by the time I worked around the neck and both ears and towards the front of the hair, I think I got every live louse, and they were falling, dead, onto my hands and the brush as I worked on Rosie's hair. I rinsed everything off down the drain as I got any dead (or living) lice.
By 9am on Sunday morning, I could see nothing in Rosie's hair.
We went to a later Mass (my husband and kids had gone ahead to the 9am) with Rosie's new bob soaking in oil. We smelled terribly, and we sat in the vestibule of the church.
Upon returning home, I bagged up every couch pillow, all of Rosie's stuffed animals, and anything else that I thought might have a lingering louse on it.
I stripped all of everyone's bedding and any stray laundry and began to wash everything in hot water.
I sent my husband with a list and he obtained a nit brush and new brushes for every female in the home.
I googled how to get rid of lice.
I soaked Galadriel's hair in olive oil (to suffocate anything living) and covered it with a plastic bag:
Day 2: shower, blow dry, nit comb/pick (for about an hour). Washed all bedding again.
I did another olive oil treatment, I put tea tree oil around everyone in the family's ears and necks as a preventative, and I shaved some boys' hair (again, as a preventative).
At this point, I had learned that lice eggs hatch in 7-10 days, usually on day 8. As I saw no living lice, I decided to do everything in my power to kill or remove every single egg before the 8 days were up and a new wave would hatch.
I called a professional carpet cleaner and had all of my (4) couches and area rugs and carpeting cleaned. This was probably unnecessary, but very psychologically therapeutic, and honestly, it needed to be done anyway.
I nit-combed/picked for two hour or hour-and-a-half sessions for the first few days. I'd find about 20-25 miniature (probably dead) nits each time.
Then we discovered the Cetaphil treatment! We rubbed the cream onto the scalp, blow dried it, and went to bed. In the morning we shampooed our hair and blow-dried again. "We" because I did this to Rosie as well as all of the girls and myself, just as a preventative in case any of us had lingering eggs that I hadn't discovered. (I know, I was a little excessive, but unwilling to risk spreading--remember that there are ELEVEN of us in this family!!) After that I could no longer find any more nits.
|not loving the salon (Eowyn)|
|Rosie (thickest hair ever!)|
and I figured that she was at higher risk if anyone else was going to break out with lice. So, she's bobbed too, and cute!
Now we are two weeks out (plus a day) and lice free. I never saw a live louse after 9am two Sunday's ago on Rosie.
The first days were brutal in terms of the stress that came with dealing with the unknown--who is next? Did I get them all? And I spent so many hours combing through Rosie's hair that I can't imagine if more of my children had needed such treatment. But, it wasn't the worst thing to do all of the deep cleaning and laundry--let's face it, it feels great to have a clean home!
We still aren't seeing other people. I think maybe the three-week mark will make everyone feel more like we're "all clear". Or a month. That part has also been a bummer. Even if it's understandable.
Anyway, that's it!
That's what I did. God was merciful in keeping it limited to just Rosie. I am so so thankful!! Lots of people were praying.
And let's just hope and pray that I never have to do that again!!!
PS: just good to know: dogs can't get human lice and humans can't get "dog lice" (which is also a thing)--because I am not sure WHAT I would have done with my fluffy 50-pound labradoodle!!