Friday, August 30, 2013

The FOUR Letter Word

Hello, Internet!  Today is the last day of my back to school series, and I'm talking about lice.  Yes, lice.  The mere thought of lice strikes fear in my heart.  I literally think of my life as a mom in terms of BL and AL...before lice and after lice.

I was going to take an in depth look at the 2 prongs of dealing with lice:  treatment and prevention.  But, that got really long in the treatment department, so I'm going to focus mostly on prevention.

Leah got lice in Kindergarten.

My friend, Michelle, rode over on her gallant white steed of knowledge, armed with her leftover lice killing supplies and fine toothed combs and saved my sanity.

Her kids had lice earlier in the year, so she was an expert!  It's fair to say that nobody who is an expert in lice actually wants to be an expert in lice.  

I knew I didn't want to use a lice kit (like RID), because I'd read in some reputable websites that lice can be immune to those insecticides.  I also didn't want to be essentially pouring Raid onto my daughter's head.

Michelle put Lice MD in Leah's hair, let it sit, and then combed through her hair with a fine toothed comb.

You may have noticed that Leah has a lot of hair, so that took a while.  She showed me what to look for and what to pull out...dead lice and dead nits (lice eggs).

Michelle also told me how to take care of the rest of our stuff.  

Can I just say how much it meant to me that Michelle swept in and told me exactly what to do?  After she prayed for us and left, I told Aaron that I couldn't remember the last time I had so tangibly felt the love of God expressed for me in such a practical way.  

Anyway, I touched every strand of hair on Leah's head for 10 days to make sure we got everything out.  And we did!  It took upwards of 3 hours to do it at first.

We were lice free until 6 weeks later when Leah brought it home again!  But, that time all of us girls got it.  I didn't tell very many people, because I was so overwhelmed.  

We took care of it much the same way, with a few tweaks to make it less stressful for me.  Aaron said it best when he said that lice is like psychological warfare for the mom.  It really, really is.

Lice was running rampant in the schools the year Leah got it.  I also could have done better in the prevention department.  

This is what I started doing after we got it the second time:

  • Use coconut scented shampoo and conditioner!

I've read and heard that lice don't like the scent of coconut.  It's a nice, cheap, easy prevention!
  • Use Fairy Tales.

Fairy Tales is scented with rosemary which is another scent that lice don't like.  I wash and condition the girls' hair with coconut and use this conditioning spray as a detangler.  I think that was a hole in my prevention in between the times we had lice.  I used the coconut scented shampoo and conditioner, but then used regular old detangler and covered up the coconut scent.  I feel like Fairy Tales is worth the extra expense.
  • Braids.

You may have noticed that Leah wears braids all.the.time.  She genuinely likes to wear braids, largely because her hair doesn't get as snarly.  But, when you have as much hair as Leah does, even in a ponytail, it touches more people and just gets more places.

Leah is also an incredibly social and compassionate girl.  After she had lice and I was in her classroom, I noticed how many kids Leah hugged or put her arm around.  It was a lot...which meant lots of heads close together.

I wasn't about to tell her not to hug or comfort other kids, but I feel like having her hair more confined was better.
  • Use your own helmet in gym.

When they are using scooters in gym class, we get a note from home saying that we are welcome to send our own helmets for our child to use.  I totally do this!
  • Use your own headphones when it's computer time.

Now that Leah is in 2nd grade, it's actually on the supply list to bring your own.  This wasn't the case in 1st grade, but I sent Leah with her own anyway.  She had Hello Kitty headphones, which she thought was very cool, so she didn't mind the hassle of using her own.
  • Use lots of hairspray.  

Lice likes clean hair.  Apparently it can't grab on to dirty hair.  My friend, Kim, who was Leah's 1st grade teacher, said that when she knows lice is going around school, she uses an extra lot of hairspray.  She's never had lice and neither had Leah's Kindergarten teacher.  I feel like there's something to the whole Lots of Hairspray thing!

I feel like the old saying, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," is totally true when it comes to lice.  

Do what you can to prevent it!  But, if your child brings it home, you can at least know that you have a clean, friendly child ;)

And, I'd be happy to pay forward the help and knowledge Michelle gave you know who to call if it ever happens to you!

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