Tuesday, August 13, 2013

It was a head-scratcher, for sure.

We went to New Hampshire last month for our annual family beach vacation.  Which was lovely.  Except that Josie and I came home with lice.

Josie started scratching her head the last few days, but both kids were spending the bulk of their time in the water or rolling around in the sand, so I figured it was salt and sand.

But then it continued when she got home.  And her first day back at school, I got a call from the preschool director informing me she had nits and bugs in her hair.

So I dutifully went to the Walgreen's and bought a lice kit and proceeded to treat everyone in the family.  Which sucked, because our gas got shut off by mistake while we were on vacation and it hadn't been turned back on, so we had no hot water.  And even though it's summer, the cold water was really cold, making it both uncomfortable and difficult for purposes of combing through hair that has just been treated with pesticides.

Plus, there was no way in hell either child was going to get in an icy cold shower or bath, so I had to wash their hair out in the sink.  And Josie's hair is super-fine, but she also has a TON of it, so it tangles very easily, especially when we haven't used conditioner.

I spent two hours combing through her hair with a lice comb while she cried.  It was horrible.  It hurt to do my own head as well, but my pain threshold is a bit higher than hers.

All was well for a week or so.  Then we got another call from the preschool director.  

I went back to Walgreen's, got another kit, and went through the process again. At least this time we had hot water, so it wasn't as awful as before.  But I still spent 3 hours combing through Josie's hair.

A week later - same deal.  The director is getting annoyed with me.  And I was about to lose my shit.

The prospect of going through the whole process again was more than I could handle.  I googled "professional lice removal denver," called the company at the top of the list, and arranged for the lady to come to the house that night.

It turns out that the pros don't use the pesticide shit you get at the drugstore.  They use oil (our lady used olive oil).  Apparently, about 20 years ago, there was some concern about the lice treatments that were available, namely that they were too strong.  So the companies that manufactured the lice removal kits simply diluted the stuff so it was half as strong as what they had been selling before (which, for all its toxicity, worked).  Predictably, there were certain lice that were strong enough to resist the diluted strain, so what has developed over the last 20 years is a breed of "super lice" that is largely immune to the chemical treatment.

The best treatment now is to just smother the suckers.

So Lice Lady sat all of us down and saturated our heads with olive oil and then meticulously combed all of the nits and bugs out of our hair.  

Except that, oddly, Josie didn't have much going on.  She had about 3 live lice and 6 or 7 nits, which would indicate that she was getting reinfested by someone else, rather than being the source of an infestation.  And like her, I had a bug or two and a couple of nits, but nothing else.

She and I went upstairs to wash and dry our hair.  In the meantime, Lice Lady started working on Zeke.

When Josie and I came downstairs again, Lice Lady said, "looks like we found the culprit."

It was Zeke all along.  Zeke, who had never once scratched his head, who never indicated any discomfort and on whom I never saw anything.  His head was crawling with them.

3 hours and $300 later, Lice Lady left us bug-free hair and follow-up instructions.  For the past week, we have been oiling up our hair every night, combing through it, and then sleeping with oil-saturated hair to smother anything living in there.  For the next two weeks, we oil up ever other night.  Then we should be OK.

In the meantime, we smell like italian dressing and have super-soft, shiny shiny hair.    

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:44 AM

    EVOO is the BEST conditioner for hair. I shall be saturating mine soon albeit not for lice treatment.

    Make sure that you wash all of your linen & clothes in hot water with a little vinegar in the wash to kill any hangers-on.