Ahhhhh Christmas. The many celebrations. The visits from out of town house guests. The parties. The cousin’s sleeping over….The head lice….
WHAT? Yes, you heard me. Nothing like a day after Christmas run in with a cousin with head lice to put a damper on your Christmas vacation. Seriously, it’s worse than being snowed in, because you can’t just send the kids out to play.
I recieved the call from said cousin’s parents at 9pm the day after a Christmas sleepover, “Sorry, but we may have infected your kids with lice, seems ours has had if for a couple of weeks and we just thought it was dandruff.”
At this point, sheer panic set in. My oldest daughter heard the call and immediately started crying, saying “I have lice, I just KNOW it!”
I look in her hair for tell tale signs (there were none) and then try to soothe her “Now, now….you don’t know that, and there’s nothing we can do at 9pm….just go to sleep and we’ll look in the morning”
At 11:30pm she is standing by my bedside, with crocodile tears, and a live little bug that proves that her greatest fear had become a reality…..I could write a whole blog on how tenacious and petrified she must’ve been to stay up and actually catch one of those little buggers in the middle of the night in the dark laying in her bed….
By 6 am I am in full attack mode….I do my research, and settle on a plan of attack. I opt out of the Rid or Nix routes, because the efficacy rate has gone down significantly over time. Anecdotal evidence states that a combination of Lysterine and coconut oils will do the trick. I decide to try it, and it works!!
Here is what you need to combat lice without harsh chemicals:
1 bottle of lysterine (don’t go generic on this)
1 pack of shower caps (dollar store)
1 microfiber head wrap (dollar store) <<can substitute towel
1 bottle of coconut scented shampoo (I got White Rain at the dollar store)
1 bottle of dandruff shampoo (again, dollar store)
1 jar of coconut oil (find it in a whole foods store…so great to cook with)
1 lice comb (metal vs. plastic)
1 container dawn (to wash out coconut oil)
1 blow dryer (Or better yet a dryer bonnet if you have one!)
roll of toilet paper (to dispose of lice bodies)
paper grocery sack
In a kitchen sink, douse head liberally with Lysterine. Place hair in shower cap. Wrap head with microfiber head wrap (or towel) and place under dryer for 20 minute intervals on and off for 2 hours. Rinse. Then warm 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil until just in liquid form (not too hot, as it can burn the scalp) and liberally pour coconut oil on scalp. shower cap and head wrap for another 2 hours. By this time, the Lysterine has killed most of the lice, and the coconut oil has suffocated the rest, and the nits (lice eggs) will be easier to get out with a comb. carefully divide hair into 2-4 inch square patches and secure off with bobby pins. go through sections with a knit comb, and be sure to do this in either full daylight, or near a good lamp. I set up a portable garage lamp in my kitchen, and sat my kids on bar stools…..
Everytime I found a louse, I pulled it with tweezers and wrapped it in a square of toilet paper before tossing in a paper bag. I found a total of 5 lice and about a dozen nits, but I’m pretty sure I caught this infestation within 48 hours of the migration 😉
When you have thoroughly gone through the hair (I pinned the sections I had gone through to the side, and then went back through them all piece by piece a second time when I was all done) then send child to the shower with dawn, dandruff shampoo and coconut conditioner. Use Dawn first (to cut through the coconut oil) and then use the dandruff shampoo as directed. Follow up by applying coconut conditioner in hair for 3 minutes, and rinsing. After all is said and done, be sure to manually blow dry the hair on the highest setting you can use and keep your child comfortable. The heat might must kill off any nits or lice you may have left behind…..
Some people swear by leaving the coconut oil in overnight, and I could see how this might work. But, I listed the steps above because I KNOW it worked for me, and we’ve been lice free for (knock on wood) 3 weeks and counting….why does my scalp itch so much right now? LOL!
One more thing: I was totally mortified, and afraid my kids were going to have to wear a scarlet L on their play clothes. I had called neighbors to explain the problem, and even called them back with various updates. I kept my kids from others for a full 4 days until I was SURE there were no more buggers to contend with, and STILL I felt an odd stigma associated with head lice. And then I tuned into the Ellen Degeneres show, where Madonna proclaimed that headlice was running rampant through her house right now…..
If Madonna’s kids can get lice and she can be open about it on Ellen, then I don’t mind blogging this…especially if it helps someone!!