Nobody ever tells you about lice.
Seriously, though, there should be a handbook that they give you when your child goes into any kind of childcare or school facility warning you of the perils you will face as a parent. Then, at least, you will be fully educated and may actually decide that the person homeschooling their child on your street may just actually have the right idea. Kids are gross.
Lice are not life-threatening... To your child anyway. You, on the other hand, may want to drink yourself into a coma once the little f*ckers appear in your home. If you are anything like me, when your family has to deal with your first case, you will FREAK OUT! I was so overwhelmed with what the Internet told me that I needed to do (i.e. everything short of packing up and leaving my house). To sum it up: we were contaminated and everything. EVERY. THING. had to be washed or sealed in a garbage bag or thrown away.
We've dealt with a few cases now. I still can't stand the fact that as a society we can make Clay Aiken disappear, yet lice still exist. However, I am now not as freaked out by it. I would love to never have to deal with the little wrigglers again, but if I do... Here's what I've learned:
- Check your child's hair for nits (the eggs) regularly
- If you find nits get the f*ck rid of them
- If you find live lice in your kids hair, you need to kill those a**holes. I've learned that using an over-the-counter shampoo like Nix doesn't work that well as it won't kill the nits (which are really the main concern). Also, the comb you get with this product is garbage. Invest in a proper wire lice comb that you can purchase online.
- A topical product that you can get from the pharmacist (such as NYDA) will work to kill the crap out of any louse or nit living in your child's head.
- Check everyone in your family and treat anyone who has nits or live lice.
- Don't freak out and think you have to get rid of everything your child has come into contact with. Washing the bedclothes, stuffed animals that live on their bed and clothing your child has been wearing is sufficient. Vacuum couches as a precaution. Soaking hair brushes in boiling hot water or an alcohol solution will sanitize them.
- Keep checking your child's hair every day after treatment to ensure nits are all gone. If even one nit is left alive in their head, the louse life cycle begins again... Oh happy days.
- Some preventative tips include tying long hair back for school, using tea tree oil products (I rub the nape of my kids' necks with tea tree oil and spray their coats and back packs with a water and tea tree oil solution when I learn there is an outbreak at the school or daycare).
- Remind your kids that their friends are gross (okay...maybe find a better way to articulate this) and they should not share hats or brushes with them.
- If your kid gets lice F*%KING TELL THEIR SCHOOL and the parents of the kids that they have been hanging out with. I know it's an awkward conversation but, damn, we're all in this together. Your child getting lice is not a sign that you're a bad parent...not telling others that their child may need to be inspected and treated sure as hell is.
Finally...and this should go without saying...always have wine on hand. You never want to have to deal with a case of head lice without knowing a HUGE glass of wine is waiting for you at the end of what is sure to be a very, very long night. Trust me on this one.
P.S. I'm not an expert... I've just gained this knowledge from the few times we've had to deal with this. Would love to hear any other tips you have for de-lousing your house!!