A few days before I left for Mom 2 Summit, my oldest came home scratching her head uncontrollably. My worst fears were confirmed when I looked at her scalp and saw little bugs running around.
Who knew just four little letters could instill such fear in any parent? I immediately wished it my son was the one with lice so I could shave his head and be done with it. But, nope. It was my curly-haired little girl. The one that wore a pony tail with hairspray to school every day and who used tea tree oil shampoo when we washed it (which wasn’t often) because those things were supposed to keep her from ever picking up lice.
That little note that comes home from the nurse’s office confirming a case of lice in a classroom is enough to make any one start feeling itchy. I know school is almost done for the year, but lice can still strike at summer camp or a sleepover, so I figured I’d share what I learned about lice through our month-long (yes, you read that right) battle with the little critters.
1. It’s going to happen at some point, so be ready. Have a lice comb and a bottle of treatment or coconut oil in the cabinet in case lice strikes your home. The quicker you treat it, the better chance you have at it going away for good. I received a sample of Vamousse lice protection shampoo in my Mom 2.0 Summit swag bag and I can’t tell you how thankful I was to have it when I got home. We now have a bottle of their mouse lice treatment, the shampoo, lice combs, and coconut oil in a small box in the closet.
2. Don’t be surprised if it happens again. And again. And again. If your treatment misses one egg or you didn’t wash the sheets right away, the lice could (and probably will) come back. Remember how I said we were dealing with it for a month? Well, we weren’t the only ones in the class fighting the battle for that long. If they got it from the classroom or bus, there’s an even greater chance it’ll come back because it’s impossible to trace the exact source. Many lice are now resistant to popular treatments like Nix and Rid, so if your lice returns, try using a different product. We started out using Nix and then Vamousse. I also did coconut oil treatments (coat hair in oil, cover with a shower cap for several hours, comb with lice comb, wash out with a tea tree oil shampoo, blow dry) in between the other treatments. A coconut oil treatment and Vamousse shampoo is what finally rid our home of lice.
3. Keep treating. Once the lice was gone, I still checked her head on a daily basis. She changed her PJ’s every day. She used a new towel after every shower. I used the Vamousse shampoo treatment every two days for the next two weeks and did an extra coconut oil treatment. I won’t lie, I still flinch every time she scratches her head.
4. Lice is the pain in the ass, but it’s not the end of the world. It’s annoying, yes. It takes time and money to rid your lives of the bastards, but it’s not the worst thing that could happen. Lice won’t make your kid sick. It won’t spread disease. It won’t cause scarring or permanent damage. It won’t spread to your pets. Lice is a pest and nothing more. It’s not your kid’s fault or the school’s fault that they have lice. It happens. Treat it the best you can and move on.
5. But still, ignore the AAP recommendations and keep your kid home, if you can. Do you really want your kid spreading lice to their classmates? I know I wouldn’t wish lice eradication on my worst enemy. SO. MUCH. LAUNDRY. So my daughter stayed home the day after her treatment to make sure she was completely bug-free before she returned to the classroom. It also gave me time to alert her teachers so the class could head to the nurse for a lice check. Is it a foolproof way of keeping lice out of the classroom and out of other homes? No, but you do the best you can and hope it’s enough. I know not everyone can afford for their child to miss school, so don’t feel guilty if you have to send them in. It’s not worth losing a job over or having to lose a paycheck. Because lice isn’t dangerous. But, if you’re in the position to let your child stay home, do it. Also, check your school’s policy to see when your child is allowed to return. Many schools have not adopted the new APP guidelines just yet.
All in all, lice isn’t the horrible thing I thought it was. Giant pain to deal with? Yes. A little gross? Sure. But it’s not going to make anyone sick and it’s a pretty common fact of life for young kids. Now that we’ve been through it, I know how to treat it and I know it’ll eventually go away. And I know to go use the laundromat to wash everything because SO MANY LOADS OF LAUNDRY.
Did your kid ever have lice? What advice would you give to parents dealing with it right now?
I did receive a small sample of Vamousse shampoo in my swag bag at Mom 2.0 Summit, but I am not working for/with Vamousse on this post and would not be recommending it if it didn’t work because I don’t screw around when it comes to getting lice out of my house, thankyouverymuch.