EEK! A louse!

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by slsh, Nov 3, 2007.

  1. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    I'm just ill. We were trying to figure out how to do Diva's hair for cheer competition tomorrow and I noticed a bunch of little white things. Took me a good 10 minutes but eventually I found a moving louse. Errrgh...

    husband is going out to get Rid shampoo and spray, black garbage bags for her gazillion stuffed animals, and Frontline for the pets because 2 of our cats sleep on her and according to vet, pets can get lice too. Errrgh....

    We're going to massively vacuum, wash, clean, and boil everything that can be done. Rid spray for Diva's mattress and carpet, and living room furniture and carpet. All brushes and combs are being boiled as I type. All hair accessories (except barrettes) are getting tossed.

    Anyone have been there done that advice? I still equate lice with- unclean situations and am simply horrified. Wee of course had a friend over and I had to call his mom and let her know. So far, Diva is the only one infected. We suspect the source is the cheer team because husband has been picking up girls from a family that have had a couple of outbreaks already this fall. We're spraying the van as well. Errgh...

    I can only be thankful we cut Diva's waist-length hair this fall. I will shampoo her as soon as husband gets home, and then do the nit comb. Apparently I will have to do it again in 10 days. Anything else I need to do?

    Once more.... errgh! :ill:
  2. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Sorry for the extra work.

    Sounds like you have it under control.

    Down here - my friends daughter got it. She sent her dad to the gas station to get kerosene and washed her kids hair in kerosene, then put saran wrap around her head, a towel around that let her sit for about an hour (I was figuring the hair would be in the saran wrap when they opened it) and then she washed it about 4 times with dawn and nit combed it.

    THey did all the house things and van things you are doing - but I almost fell over when I heard her say "Kimberly has lice daddy - can you go get some kerosene?" -

    I thought she was going to burn her mobile home down.

    Some home remedies should stay in the garage.

    Hope your day is better
  3. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Well, DO realize that lice can only live on a clean head of hair.

    If her hair is very thick, and you have a hard time getting the comb through it, you may need to cut it again.

    When Copper was 7, she had lice. She had the thickest, waviest, most beautiful head of strawberry blonde hair you ever saw. It was SO thick, we could not get the nit comb through it.

    We treated her 5 times for lice and they were still there. After the first treatment, she was going in to have a tonsillectomy / adnoidectomy, and we thought we got them all. Oh did the doctor give me an earful! "you can't send a kid with lice into a HOSPITAL!" We finally gave in and had to cut it into a pixie. Only then did we get all the nits.

    She grew her hair back out. She has not cut it short since!
  4. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    OK lice has been an awful awful battle for us. USE MAYonaise. Not the medicated stuff. Lice laugh at that. Mayo (real stuff not salad dressing) and put one of those plastic bonnet things for when you perm or color hair on their head. Then comb through for the nits. Works everytime.

    I can't tell you how many darn times we went through this ordeal at various stages. Mayo was the ONLY thing that would work. easy child for some reason was so prone to it that we had to figure something out.

    Good luck.

  5. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member

    I've heard mayo too. It suffocates them. That would freak me out too, but it's easy for them to get when the kids are in school, even a clean kid. Sorry that you have to deal with it.
  6. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Lice has nothing to do with hygiene...only opportunity. You can't just treat your daughter. You have to treat everyone in the family as a precaution even if you don't see anything on them.

    When difficult child was 4, my kids got them. Turns out easy child's step-sister had picked them up at Girl Scouts Camp and ExH didn't bother to tell us until 6 weeks after easy child came home from his visit. We could not get rid of them. We used Rid multiple times, the other product (can't think of it) from the drug store multiple times and got a prescription product from the doctor. Nothing worked.

    For 6 weeks, I vacuumed daily - including baseboards, furniture, car, mattresses and under beds, bagged up stuffed animals, washed bedding in hot water and dried in a hot dryer every day, boiled combs and brushes, kept difficult child's waist-length hair in braids, sprayed the house with the Rid stuff, checked for nits daily. It was exhausting. I felt like shaving heads and burning the house down and starting over.

    Then, I came across an article in a small, neighborhood paper written by a school nurse about Super Lice. She mentioned how traditional methods were not working anymore. Then she said that coconut oil is toxic to lice and that Sodium Laurel Sulfate (not Sodium Laureth Sulfate - though most products that contain one, contain the other) is a derivative of coconut oil. So, shampoos with that ingredient (Herbal Essence, Suave for example) are a repellant to lice.

    The product Queen Helene Cholesterol Conditioning Treatment - purchased at Sally's Beauty Supply - contains this also and is what we used (per the article) to kill the lice. Coat the hair and cover with a shower cap (we used a Kroger bag) for 3 hours. Then rinse and use a nit comb. (It's a heavy conditioner so you may want to follow with a clarifying shampoo.) This doesn't kill the eggs, so you'll have to repeat in 7 days. I continued to use the nit comb every day in between.

    After 6 weeks of daily hell, this is what finally worked for us. I was ready to give up and was in tears almost every day. I was exhausted and beginning to wonder if we were ever going to get rid of the lice.

    by the way - difficult child slept in my bed at that time and I never saw a single nit or louse on my head (I treated myself anyway, though, as a precaution). I think the reason is because the shampoo I used contained Sodium Laurel Sulfate.
  7. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I remember when lice at my house about did me in. My niece came and left lice for us. It barely touched husband or easy child. difficult child was so little he barely had an hair (only about 2 months old) so he didn't get any lice. I had long hair and the lice were all over me.

    Nothing worked for me. I tried a bunch of different products. Finally my mother in law told me to spray Black Flag in my hair. That took care of it!

    Then a few weeks later another niece came for a visit and left some more of those pesky visitors. It was more than I could take. I literally just sat down and cried and cried. I couldn't stop. The thought of all that cleaning all over again was more than I could handle (we were under a lot of other stress but that was like the straw that broke the camel's back).

    I would definitely not recommend the Black Flag method for kids-it's just what worked for me.

    Hang in there!
  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Lice have nothing to do with being dirty. They are paracytes that grab every opportunity for a host.

    Sounds like you have things pretty well under control to me.

    We had to go thru the process I think 4 times when stepgfg was staying with us. Turned out she wasn't shampooing her hair right. So I finally did it for her. Arggh what a nitemare.

  9. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Thanks guys - think I'll hold off on the kerosene and Black Flag for a bit. :wink: We'll see how the Rid works. Mayonnaise and Heather's suggestion sound like a reasonable 2nd step. Things are still getting processed through the laundry room but vacuuming, boiling, and spraying are done. Took almost 3 hours to comb Diva's hair (it's cut in a bob, but holy cow does she have a lot of it) but I think I did a decent job for a first timer.

    After the horror wore off, I got very thankful. We probably have gotten 3 or 4 letters home from school per year about lice in the past 10 years and this is our first experience, so it could've been worse. And I can only imagine the joy of combing a difficult child. :smile:

    Just another life experience, right? (Are we experienced enough yet??) :rofl:
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Here's a very definite been there done that many times. Plus, I studied parasites at uni. Then had kids and got a crash course in applied parasitology.

    We learned a lot, and developed our own fast-as-possible but foolproof and 100% effective method.

    Here goes.

    1) Do not believe the marketing on the containers that tells you you MUST treat every bit of fabric, clothing, toy or animal that comes into contact with the afflicted individual - it's only a ploy to sell you more of the stuff, and to distract you from your real objective be exhausting you so much you have no energy to direct where it will do the most good.

    In other words, forget about bedding, soft toys, the pets (you CAN'T catch lice from a different species - I'd be looking for a new vet, or checking to see if he has shares in nit shampoo companies).

    2) Nits and lice NEED body heat from A HUMAN to stay alive. An egg (nit) more than an inch away from the scalp will be dead.
    To completely eliminate nits/lice from anything inanimate - leave whatever-it-is in a cold laundry for a few days. Put hats, hairbrushes, hair scrunchies & combs IN THE FREEZER OVERNIGHT. Do not share hats, hairbrushes or combs. Make sure your child knows to avoid playing dress-ups at school if there's an epidemic. Remind the school of the risk if there's an epidemic and suggest the dress-ups, or at least the hats, are put away for a while. Nothing more needs to be done, these beasts really are VERY dependent.

    HERE'S WHAT TO DO - (when you're practised you can do it all in half an hour)

    easy child is discovered to have nits or lice. Begin treatment immediately.

    1) Get some nit shampoo. If you don't want to use anything pesticide, then use the conditioner method (or the mayonnaise - here, it will be the oil emulsion that is helping).

    2) Wash the kid's hair, preferably in the bathtub. Make sure the room is warm, comfortable (with a low stool for you to sit on) and entertaining. Use the nit shampoo according to directions. by the way, the child should be naked, and you should have your own hair in a shower cap. The child's clothes - put them into the cold metal laundry tub. Forget about them for a few days, then cold wash and dry on the clothes line outdoors if you can.

    3) Put plenty of conditioner (or mayonnaise) in the kid's hair. Comb it through with a wide tooth comb then when it seems tangle-free, comb through with a nit comb (fine tooth comb, either plastic or with those round metal teeth that seem to have no space at all in between). Be patient with this - if it seems to tangle, reach for the wide tooth comb.

    4) Comb through the hair, detangling first then fine-tooth comb until you've covered every part of the head. Every few passes of the comb, rinse the comb in the bathwater. If the child by now is out of the bath, have the child sit in front of the TV with a favourite movie on while you do this, and use a bowl of water to rinse the comb in. Also keep a kitchen cloth handy to wipe the comb on, and keep the cloth in the bowl of water.

    5) You've done the whole head? Sorry, not quite done yet. Time to change combing direction - use the wide tooth comb to flip the hair forward, or back, or sideways - whichever you have not yet done - and repeat (3) and (4).

    6) Send the kid to get dressed. If you used mayonnaise, send the kid to wash hair, and then get dressed.

    7) And now for clothing - put in the laundry, any shirt you and the child were wearing while you were doing this. If you're really concerned, change the pillowcases. Don't bother changing anything else unless you just got the kid out of bed. Usually though, the child hasn't been in bed in recent minutes because we tend to find nits in daylight after the child has been up for a while. A bed which hasn't been slept in or lain on by an infected child for a few hours is unlikely to reinfect.

    8) Put in the freezer any hair brush or other hair implement/item/adornment likely to have been used by the child in the last 24 hours. Leave them in the freezer for six hours at least.

    And check everyone else. Including yourself. Check hair in sunlight for best detection. Even a bright light almost directly on the head is not as good as sunlight. I don't know why.
    The method above is also a good way to check if you have lice - simply examine the fine tooth comb yourself after each pass.


    Do it all again in six or seven days. No longer. If you find any lice, then again repeat, in another six or seven days. Keep repeating every six or seven days until you get a clear run.

    The reason you repeat, is because the eggs don't all get killed. Conditioner and mayonnaise will not do a thing to the eggs, any live eggs will hatch and the babies grow up to be mummy and daddy lice by about 8 days. It is a really good idea to get them OFF the head BEFORE they become mummy and daddy lice and lay more eggs.

    If you are following this scrupulously, and you keep finding them, then look around - the kid is getting reinfected somehow, from someone else. It's NOT going to be your lack of care, unless you've been a bit too slap-dash about it. You will know. The most likely place for reinfection is school, especially in younger grades, and some family relatives who won't accept that these things exist.

    easy child had nits for months and months and I didn't recognise what they were, until the class teacher pointed it out to me. She must have passed them on to so many kids, I was mortified. And of course, by then she had passed them to everyone in our family, we had a big job cleaning them all up.

    And that is another thing - if you need to treat everyone in the same family, do it all together. You may need extra combs and extra bowls of water and all end up looking like chimps in the jungle grooming each other in a circle, but you do whatever works.

    I've already mentioned other precautions.

    The method above works really well. We stopped fussing about all the extra stuff and still had 100% success rate.

    I remember difficult child 3's last case of nits - we were on holiday, had been for a week. He must have picked them up at school, nobody else in the family had them. He also had a big scab on his scalp which he'd been picking obsessively at, so we'd been dabbing pure ti-tree oil onto the scab. When we found the lice (and nits) it was clear that ti-tree oil, so often sold in 'herbal nit treatments', was not doing a darn thing, they must have been drinking it for a week already.
    We found the nits just as we were shopping prior to going on a long drive and a picnic. We bought a bottle of treatment (in this case a foam treatment which I found easy to use) and went straight back to our unit. No bathtub, so I washed difficult child 3's hair in the shower and smothered his scalp in the foam then sat him down to watch the cartoon channel on the cable TV. I had a cup of coffee while I waited for the time period, put my hair up in the cheap plastic hotel shower cap and began to comb. It took me 15 minutes to thoroughly comb out his hair. Meanwhile husband had packed the picnic basket, organised everything else and as soon as I put down the combs and tossed difficult child 3's shirt and towels onto the bathroom floor, we headed off for our (slightly delayed) picnic.
    Holiday - not spoiled in the slightest. As we had lunch in the park, I used the wonderful Queensland sunshine to check everybody else a bit more carefully.

    Sometimes when your kid gets nits and you took a while to notice, he/she could have passed them on to an elderly relative who simply has never experienced them. YOU clear them up, but elderly relative now harbours an independent colony of them just waiting for another cuddle from difficult child. Trying to check an elderly relative, let alone persuade them to be treated, is difficult. If you've already practised on your child then use your new skills to treat the relative. If they won't comply, limit the physical contact or find some other tactful way to suggest a visit to the hairdresser - "a trim would make you look even younger. gran."

    Anyway, hope this helps.

    And don't use kero - it's not been advised for 50 years. It's a worse chemical than many other toxic pesticides, and if you have a smoker in the house it can be dangerous. I'm currently reading a biography of a scientist in the 1830s, and the doctor has advised as a routine treatment for a baby, things like calomel (a mercury compound), antimony (twice daily) and ammonium carbonate to help the baby sleep at night. After that, kerosene on a shaved head to cure nits seems perfectly acceptable.

    I hope you can sort this out with little fuss.

    It happens to the best of us, don't fret. As the child gets older, it happens far less.

  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    A lot of the Natural treatments I read about contain Neem oil. I bought some after our last round of lice. thank you has really thick wavy hair and with the Sensory issues is SOOOO hard to treat.

    I have had lice laugh at every commercial treatment, at mayo and just about everything else. I use about a tablespoon of neem oil and the same amount of conditioner in wet hair. I let it sit for 20 minutes adn all the nits come right out with no pulling. There are never any that hatch, the NEEM is an organic oil that is supposed to kill most pests, including lice. It is used as a pesticide on organically grown crops.

    We have had best luck with that and the black garbage bags. I find that it is a good exuse to get some of the stuff OUT of the kids' rooms. They never remember until I either open the bags wondering what they are, or unitl I pull the bags out for a garage sale!! Kids get the $$ from their items, so they usually agree that the item can go.

    Hugs on the lice. I have been using the neem for the last year and had good luck with it. I got it on ebay after doing a lot of research and talking with a family friend who is an entomologist. He said he uses NEEM oil on his grandkids when they get lice. Couldn't get a better recommendation, in my opinion. And marg is right about the obsessive house cleaning. It makes the house cleaner, but the lice don't really care. I do vacuum the beds, but that is because it makes ME feel better.

  12. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Marg -

    THAT was totally print worthy. Thanks for the info. I KNEW kerosene was NOT a cure. It's a back country legend. HA