I got an email last week from my kids' school. A terrible, horrible email. Two of the kids in my son's class have lice. There are only eight kids in the class which means 25 per cent of his class has lice. That's a full-fledged infestation.
There's a lot of lice talk flying around lately so it seems they're in season right now. And as it's Halloween, the opportunity for lice to spread just doesn't get any better than kids trying on each other's costumes and wigs and... ugh.
My family has had the unfortunate honour of dealing with three separate lice attacks over the past year and a half, so I thought I would impart my knowledge and guide the uninitiated through this traumatic ordeal.
There are seven steps you will go through when dealing with lice. Each one is important and you can't move on to the next one until you've fully experienced each step.
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Step One: Freak Out!
The rational mind might think that the first step should be "Don't Freak Out" but when lice enter your home, the rules change. It's disgusting. You've got a long road ahead that will require hours and hours of hard work. You are going to feel things creeping in your scalp, whether or not there is anything actually there. You are going to scratch your head... a lot. Your skin will crawl. You will not be able to stop thinking about what may or may not possibly be in your hair, and whether these creatures can or will migrate to your nether regions and whether you have infected your friends, your pets and if you'll ever use your brush or pillow again. So go ahead and freak out. Freak out like you've never freaked out before. And enjoy every minute of it because the next few weeks aren't going to be fun.
Step Two: Pull yourself together.
It needs to be said that the freak out of step number one should be an inner freak out, or a very vocal freak out once the infested child has left the building. I'm sure as the awesome parent you are, you already know this, but when dealing with the child, one needs to develop a cool and calm demeanour. As in, "This is serious, but don't worry sweetheart, we're going to take care of it, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with you." Even if you have to say these things through clenched teeth.
Step Three: Release Your Inner Terminator on those Buggers
There are so many ways and products that will get rid of these little jerks, and you will find the one that's best for you. The Robicomb is highly revered in my home. I use it on its own and in tandem with other methods. It detects and zaps lice and nits, and it's pesticide-free and way superior to those pathetic lice combs that come with lice shampoo. You can also use it to reassure yourself with a spot check after you get a horrible email from your kid's school. The only drawback is that it is electrical and you can sometimes give tiny zaps to your child's ears or moles or little bumps that might be hanging out on their scalp. I've done this to myself several times, so I know it's not painful, but your child might howl about it.
Step Four: Do the Freaking Laundry
You will wash every article of clothing and bed linen in your house multiple times in hot water and then dry them on a hot setting. Even if you think this clothing can't possibly be infected, you won't be able to resist washing it. Twice.
Step Five: Clean the Freaking House
And we're talking shampooing carpets, vacuuming furniture, and flea dipping the cat (pets can't get lice, but I'm always suspicious of all that scratching). Your house will never be as clean as it is during and right after a lice infestation.
Step Six: Get MAD!
Do you have time to do that much laundry and detail your furniture and entire house? NO! Do you want to spend an hour each day, sometimes two, examining every millimetre of your kids' hair? And then your own? And then your spouse's? NO! These jerks have completely taken over your life and you WANT TO MASSACRE EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM!
Step Seven: Look Back and Laugh... But Remain Vigilant
Now that you've massacred every last one of them, prop up your feet and admire your immaculate house and breathe in the scent of fresh laundry while you tousle the beautiful lice-free hair of your squeaky clean kids. But keep your guard up, as these sneaky creatures can appear without notice at any time.