Making A Point – One Louse At A Time

One of my friends posted this lovely picture on FB with a sweet little phrase that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy…except that to me, it looked like a grandmother picking lice out of her granddaughter’s hair. I know. Kind of random, but then again, most Texas mothers are going to know what I mean. Lice is the Bane of Public

Detail of a woman picking lice from a child's ...
Detail of a woman picking lice from a child's head. From Cour de ferme (1662) by Jan Siberechts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

School Children’s Mothers all across the state of Texas.

Before anyone gets all high and mighty, just know this. Any kid, poor or rich, clean or dirty, popular or shunned, can get lice. Don’t be small-minded. The bugs drink blood, so unless you’re a bloodless zombie, you’re a potential buffet.

My introduction to lice was when Bekkie was in first grade, and DJ and Cait were in kindergarten. We received a note from the school letting us know that there had been lice found on other students, and that the school would be spending the next few days going through everyone’s hair and we parents would have to pick up our children immediately if any were found on them, and they would not be allowed to return to class until all lice, eggs, etc., were gone without one trace… Frankly, I wasn’t worried.

I should have been.

Both of our daughters growing up have had very long hair. I mean, to their waist’s long. And so, when I got the call from the school, I was informed by the nurse that I was probably going to have to cut both the girls’ hair. She seemed kind of gleeful, and it offended me. My daughter’s were always getting compliment on their lovely hair, and it seemed like this woman was taking some pleasure that they would be put through this…I mean, they had never really had short hair, and that can be traumatic for a little girl. I was annoyed by her attitude.

My thoughts as she smugly told me this? Bite me. I’ll figure out a way to get rid of these bugs, and let’s see how you feel when I don’t have to cut their hair… Yeah, there was more, but you get the idea.

And thus began the longest few months of my entire life. First, it took a week before we could get Bekkie back into school. She’s got the thickest, brown hair..In the end, Chef had to sit for hours getting each nit out for days, while I did the same for Caitie’s. Dj’s was a piece of cake… Then, there was the usual vacuuming, bagging up stuffed animals, yada yada. You know the drill.

Months later, as the creepy parasites kept making return appearances, and I’m finally flirting with the idea of cutting the girls’ hair, I am informed by a doctor that there is a prescription shampoo that kills them dead FOREVER, whether you pick every egg out or not. I wanted to kiss the man squarely on the mouth…

What? Are you kidding me?!! I just made Rid-X a fortune, and you’re telling me that all I had to do was pay a $20 co-pay and buy a prescription for $10?  

I brought that shampoo home, scrubbed their little heads, bought new mattresses, and we never saw a louse in our house again. And I didn’t have to cut the girls’ hair, either.

I did prove the school nurse wrong, but it was a hollow victory $1000.00+ later.. 😦

The lesson here is that I could have just cut my kids’ hair and saved a ton of money, time, and drama instead of trying to prove a point to a woman who doesn’t even matter anyways…

— Bird

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Author: Catherine aka "Bird"

Marketing Specialist Recruiter Freelance Writer Blogger

29 thoughts on “Making A Point – One Louse At A Time”

    1. You have no idea how much I just laughed at your comment…Piojos is what my husband used to call my kids during all that lice killing drama…I thought it was a generic word for bugs…I had no idea it meant lice!! That is hilarious!

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  1. I think you gave it a good shot by not cutting their hair right away. I mean, what will they have left to pull on each other? I’ve been through the girl-long-hair lice drama too, but this year when my 10-year-old son had an entire society take residence on his head, I entered a new circle of hell. I’m still scratching.

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    1. It is the most horrendous episode of our lives … I thought I’d never get rid of those suckers. And I have long hair too, so after their hair was washed, my poor husband would have to do mine too. But, as luck would have it, I’m severely anemic, so they didn’t like my blood…Yeah for iron deficiencies!! I feel for you, Save yourself some time and money and get a script!!

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  2. Having gone to beauty school at 19, dealing with parasites in the hair was one of the big lessons we had to learn. What they didn’t teach me was what I learned about lice from having 3 adopted daughters of different races, and a church music director who’s daughter was the one spreading the lice. First, the oils that blacks use on their hair actually keeps them from getting lice because they can’t attach to the hair follicle. Second…flea and tick shampoo for dogs and the spray do not keep your child from spreading the lice that you are too cheap and lazy to clear from your child’s hair right. Last, cleaniliness is next to godliness, because lice isn’t something you want to come back and deal with again, so clean them out the right way first…sounds to me like you had to learn this lesson too. I also found that if you take the presciption shampoo and use a little of it in your washer with sheets and pillowcases and other linens, after you do your children’s hair, will kill any that have jumped to your bedding, and the washer and dryer will pull the little buggers off. There is one more thing…swimming pools are a big place for lice to jump from one head to another. Found this out when my oldest daughter had a pool party with her church friends, and the whole group got lice from our music director’s daughter, who used flea and tick shampoo to clear them up after her daughter was sent home from school the week before. I spent the next 2 weeks after clearing my daughter’s hair with the prescription and a fine tooth lice comb, clearing up most of the other girls for their parents, and then helping a nurse in our church check for lice in all the kids who attended Sunday school and Children’s church. A couple weeks later at church camp, the camp nurse had to quarrentine all the girls from our church because it had spread to all the girls (not mine though because she didn’t go to camp that year). Come to find out the music director’s daughter had the worse case, and she was still using the flea and tick shampoo on her daughter. When they returned home from camp, we went through the whole process again, with the pastor nearby. He called the nurse, myself, and the music director into his office and spoke matter of factly to her, saying that she needed to take her child to the doctor and get the prescription shampoo. After she argued with him over it, saying she couldn’t do it because of her health issues, I finally had enough, and took what I had left over, and a couple of other moms added their remainders to it, and I went over to the music director’s home and took care of her daughter’s hair the right way, cleaned her home and disinfected the whole place to help her out. Needless to say that was the end of the lice epidemic in our church. Lessons learned that I wish they would have included in beauty school so many years before.

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    1. I had never had any experience with this whole thing, so I was severely unprepared. Plus, my husband is OCD about cleanliness and germs, so we have always had a very clean home, and very clean children. So, when they kept getting them over and over, I just couldn’t figure it out. That is, until I picked them up from daycare early, and found one of the teachers using one brush to brush all the little children’s hair in Cait’s class…I flipped out. Turns out, her own child had the worst case, and by using her own brush, she’d been sharing them all with the rest of the kids, who in turn, would go to school and infect everyone else. It was a complete nightmare! I wish during those long months ONE person would have told me that you could get the prescription shampoos. I was buying all the over the counter lice meds, and then I even went to Mexico and got their over the counter shampoo because someone told me it worked better. And it did, but not as good as the prescription.
      Sidenote is, my husband really does have OCD, so lice almost made his brain explode. Poor baby!

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      1. You poor thing! My daughters used to think I was being unfair when I told them not to share any hair things, brushes or combs with others. I told them they would think differently if I had to use that icky shampoo again on them, or cut their hair short. I know how your husband feels, my oldest daughter that this happened to is OCD, and you should have seen her reaction to it when it happened to her. She never wanted anyone near her room after that, never let anyone touch her personal hair things, and would even clean them in hydrogen peroxide and then soak them in bleach once a week to disinfect them (a little something she picked up while I was in beauty college…lol) It has only been about 10 years that the schools have finally sent a note telling parents that the perscription shampoo is the best, and not all districts do that yet, and still push the Rid-X brand. I haven’t had to deal with it with Jk because she is homeschooled. Unless someone comes into homeschool choir with it or to church, she should continue to be clear of it. But she is a little OCD about it too, and is always telling me to check her hair just in case when she is around someone who is constantly scratching their head. Good thing I know what to look for!

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  3. Oh, forgot to say — I once visited with an elderly lady (something I love doing) and we got on the topic of lice. She said she had very thick hair as a youngster, and no one but no one would choose cutting the hair as a first option, since back then all girls wore long hair as a matter of principle. When I asked her what they used that worked, since they did not have the prescription shampoo. Her answer?

    Kerosene!

    They did wash it out after it had worked, of course. 😉

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    1. I had heard this too, and I considered using it. But the down side is that it is really, really dangerous to eyes, ears, and I think, the nervous system…It has been awhile. I decided back then to only use this method if absolutely nothing else worked. I even ordered some stuff from England…It was total crap.

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  4. Yeah, got lice myself from some kids when I helped out as a teen at church. My daughter also got lice from sharing a brush. The worst thing is that even if you are just trying to get them out of your kids head, your own head starts freaking out. Lice suck. Thanks for the notice about the prescription shampoo. Just in case…

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    1. I wish there had been blogs back then!! Took me months of battling these little schmucks before anyone mentioned it to me… Just writing about it tonight has made me feel itchy!! 🙂

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  5. This is hilarious, the artwork you’ve linked to your story. lol. We just got the notice from Logan’s 2nd-grade class. I’ve been through this before with my grown daughters, and I’m praying to escape the expense and hassle of de-lousing! We’ve got enough on our plates, thank you, with two complete moves in one month!!

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    1. Oh, Stevie! You poor thing! Well, luckily boys tend to not get them as bad…I forget why, but the doctor told me that it wasn’t just that their hair tends to be shorter..it has something to do with their hormones, or maybe lack of the same ones, I forget. Anyways, we’d usually find two or three lice on Dj’s head compared to the New York city populations we would find in Bek and Cait’s hair…I’ll say a prayer for you…God knows you don’t need this too right now!

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      1. Oh, we don’t have any sign of it. But it there is an infestation in his classroom. So the exposure is definitely there! Thank you for your prayers. I’m not feeling overwhelmed anymore, and I’m sure it’s because of prayers. I’m very grateful. 🙂

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  6. I read that and now my head is itching. Thanks a lot! 🙂 I remember the first time dealing with this with my kids. We were stationed in Guam, and I’d never dealt with it in my life. So suffice it to say we were all badly infested before I realized the problem. I was horrified, and began calling everyone my children had contact with. From most of their responses, it was evident it wasn’t new to them. We used lemon juice or vinegar as a rinse, after all the horrible treatment shampoos that I hated using on the kids. It is insecticide, after all. Anyway…you are SO right. Nobody is exempt due to class, or cleanliness or anything. My granddaughter has had repeated bouts with it, and my daughter told me that she found olive oil to work well. I’ve heard conflicts about this…but even the other treatments aren’t 100% effective. My daughter swears by the olive oil though. My understanding is you saturate the hair with the olive oil, and then cover it air tight with plastic, and leave it on for 2-3 hours. The lice suffocate and can’t survive. But it doesn’t kill the nits. You have to wash the hair out with mild shampoo, sometimes repeat that to remove all the olive oil. And you have to still comb through the hair with a lice comb to be sure to remove all the nits. But to me, olive oil sounds much preferable than poison. I hated using that stuff…and then having to repeat it every time the kids picked it up again at school. 🙂

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      1. Uh oh! 🙂 Oh well. It sounded like a good idea anyway. LOL My girls did have long hair back then too, and I finally got tired of the screams when I’d comb the nits out, so I did break down and cut their hair. Hated to do it, but it did make life easier.

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        1. Mine have tough little heads…Broke my heart the first time they each cut it short. But now, Bekkie has grown hers back out again, and Cait is in the military and says it is too much of a hassle there.

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  7. Both my eldest and I have very long, very thick hair… I had head lice once as a kid, and I’ve been terrified of it ever since, but I’m convinced I know the secret to avoiding it. I could be totally wrong here, but my daughter has had numerous notices sent home about outbreaks of head lice over the last six years, and somehow we’ve managed to avoid the curse… even though her best friend had it twice last year, and she slept over on a regular basis… even when my sister’s kids (who seem to ALWAYS be here) had it, we remained lice free.
    My secret and theory behind it? Oh! I’m so glad you asked…
    Simply combing an abundance of hair conditioner through your hair while showering. I switch brands all the time, so I don’t think that’s important, but I use a fine toothed comb (and have my daughter do the same) to spread the conditioner from root to tip. We follow up with a light leave-in conditioner. The reason that I THINK this works is that (so I’ve read) lice have an easier time attaching themselves to clean hair then they do dirty hair since dirty hair is greasy and hard to cling to…. well conditioned hair isn’t exactly greasy, but (in theory) it’s a hell of a lot more slick then unconditioned hair. Now I might be completely deluding myself here – maybe we’ve just been lucky – but I’m oddly okay with that, hehe.

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    1. I wish had known this!! I tried the olive oil method,and other suffocating agents, but in the end, only the prescription worked. But I wasn’t keeping every hair follicle conditioned either. I just loved both my girls’ long hair…they are so beautiful! And you don’t see many people leaving their hair long anymore. I don’t why..

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      1. Probably out of a fear of lice, hehe. Ya, like I said, I could be completely deluding myself but as that we’ve managed to stay lice free despite multiple infections, I’m pretty sure I’ve got the right idea.

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