Maybe it’s the subject matter or just the fatigue from the battle, but it’s been tough to get motivated to sit down and write this post. I promised myself that I would continue this journey and share what I learned with other parents out there, and so I will. It’s been a blissful few weeks since the little buggers swooped into our lives creating turmoil and distress. I am incredibly grateful that we have not seen any sign of lice since Day 14 (the 14th day after I noticed lice in my daughter’s hair and began treatment).
To be honest the maintenance regiment at this point is minimal but I still feel resistant to completing it. This is totally emotional. The thing that sucks about lice is that once you’ve had it you don’t forget it. You become hypersensitive to opportunities for head to head contact (primary way they are transferred from one person to another), kind of like once you learned there was a Boogie Man. As a parent of a young child that means play dates, birthday parties, ball pits, slumber parties – you name it.
The problem is that you can’t wrap your child’s head up in plastic wrap to prevent transmission. Well, I guess you could but I certainly wouldn’t recommend it! My good news is that I discovered a local company called Lice Lifters in Lafayette Hill, PA who were able to educate me, check my daughter’s head and offer an outlet for support.
We had a terrific experience at Lice Lifters. The entire process of checking my daughter’s head lasted less than an hour. The owners, Michele and Ilene, worked on my daughter while entertaining her with books and great conversation.
They showed me the best method of combing through her hair, suggested a micro-grooved comb (the one I used originally didn’t have micro-grooved teeth) and explained what I should be looking for when doing future head checks.
They had a microscope in the treatment room (which was set up nicely like a salon, not intimidating or scary) so they could examine any possible nits (lice eggs). During one tense and fascinating moment, Michele thought she might have found a viable nit (If I recall correctly that was the terminology she used) and checked it out under the microscope. She let me look through the microscope which revealed what she called a “thread bug.” I remember making a yuck face upon hearing the name, but she quickly explained that it’s just a piece of curled up thread that looks like a nit to the naked eye. Sure enough, when I looked through the microscope I saw an innocent little piece of thread.
I learned that understanding whether or not you have viable nits or actual lice in your hair is critical to knowing how to proceed with your treatment. I want to take a second to mention that as a parent I was thrilled at how the ladies handled my daughter. She started crying on the way to Lice Lifters because she didn’t want anyone else going through her hair.
Since I disclosed to her schools that she had lice she has been checked repeatedly by her school nurse, which I did know. What I didn’t know was that during one of the checks (with a substitute nurse) she felt like the nurse was too rough. She explained that the nurse pushed her head this way and that and that it hurt her. I asked if she let the nurse know that she was hurting her. My daughter said she didn’t.
It hurt my heart that she didn’t come right home and tell me about it . It hurt my pride that she kept getting pulled out of class to be checked, when no one ever notified me from either of her school programs that lice was going around. It’s not my goal to get caught up in the merits of notification as a way to prevent the spread of lice. I do, however, have every intention of coming back to this point at a later time.
The team at Lice Lifters were a balm on my wounded mommy heart. My daughter did great, even though she didn’t want to be there. The ladies were gentle, thorough, sensitive to our needs and most of all informative. They explained what products they were using (their own line called The Nit Nanny) and why they believed them to be effective.
Thankfully they didn’t find one single nit! Michele did caution me that nothing is 100%. We discussed a treatment plan in case any nits were missed. The treatment would kill the lice larvae before they could grow to egg laying maturity. I was to complete the lice solution treatment twice over a period of a week and then do a combing head check once a week. I loved that the products are pesticide free and it was easy to complete the treatment.
Another wonderful tip the ladies shared with us was the recommended hairstyle to prevent the lice. Who knew? Maybe that seems silly, but I NEVER considered that by keeping my child’s hair tied back we might have avoided this. Now I’m not saying it’s the end all, but every bit helps. Ilene was super cute with my daughter. She offered to do her hair in, “the Jasmine style” and let her pick out her colors for the hair bands they would use.
My daughter still hates having her head checked and probably always will. It hasn’t been a great experience, but I’m hearing it’s a common one. We complete our daily maintenance with a mint spray which is supposed to deter lice. My daughter thinks she smells like a candy cane and has fun running around asking people to smell her hair (can you see me cringing over here). I guess it’s great that she’s not embarrassed and is actually proud of how she looks and smells since she having lice.
We went to Lice Lifters to see what they did there and to find out if I could learn a thing or two about the realities of life after lice. The experience was incredibly positive. Thankfully, we didn’t have to have the full treatment for active lice since she was lice and nit free. We learned a great deal and the ladies finished off our visit with a snack for my daughter (and coffee for me), which is always a hit! The trip did set me back another $61 in hair care products, but where I am sitting it is worth it.
My little one was thrilled to leave, but it had little to do with Lice Lifters and a ton to do with this being a traumatic experience she would like to forget! I have asked the Michele and Ilene to supply me with information about lice so I can continue to bring you information that might be helpful. I realize that lice is still taboo, but I believe that with increased education less families will suffer as we did.
I’m still itchy when I write and talk about this issue.
Maybe that will change one day…but if not, I’ll itch and I’ll write.
You can find out more about Lice Lifters at http://www.licelifters.com/.