Long weekend for us, last Friday being an Institute Day and all. Unfortunately, we spent the second half of the weekend dealing with head lice, everyone’s least favorite part of Elementary School.
I’ll give some quick background on our experience, then dispel some misconceptions. Last week ended with warm weather, so the girls were playing outside on Friday. Since it was a day off, we skipped bath time, too. When Sweetie was itching her head Friday night, we just thought she was grimy. When she was still itchy Saturday morning, wife busted out the nit comb. After a few dry passes, we thought, maybe, we found an egg, or maybe a couple of eggs (“nits”). We decided to call Hair Fairies, just to get the experienced inspection, and booked an afternoon spot for a treatment (if necessary).
Right off the bat, “Nick”, our Hair Fairy technician, started wetting Sweetie’s hair. He then used conditioner to section off her hair and glide the nit comb through it. And he immediately found adult lice (simply referred to as “bugs”). We had the time, so we committed to the treatment: two hours of combing, facilitated with essential oil conditioner. Nick combed until several passes came out clean, about a hour and a half total. He then blew Sweetie’s hair dry and did a dry inspection around her ears and any other areas the nit comb didn’t reach easily. Lastly, he put the Hair Fairy shampoo in Sweetie’s hair and put her hair in a bun.
Part of our visit was inspections for all. Nick found one bug on Cricket, but no nits or larvae. He declared her “one and done”. Nick inspected Wife and me as well, and we were also clear. Sweetie has a follow-up in four days, and apparently we (I) have some laundry to wash.
I definitely learned a lot during the visit. First, head lice are parasites, not predators. They need a hosts head to survive. We were concerned about bombing the entire house, but that is not necessary. They don’t move well on anything but hair, only lay their eggs on hair strands, and they die in two days. So head lice are not like fleas that jump around, or ticks lying in wait – head to head contact is really their gig. But again, pillow cases and sheets, things with direct head contact, all went in the washer on hot. Second, head lice is a part of Elementary School life. Nick congratulated us for making it through this rite of passage. He corrected my perception of a headlice infestation from unique and traumatic to common and treatable. So more like a common cold, also a part of school life.
Hair Fairies is not the only provider if lice removal and treatment, they’re just who we chose to visit. I kept tellng other parents that it felt more like a spa visit with all of the essential oils and the gentle lighting. I told Nick many times that he made the experience alright (ok, good) by correcting our ignorance and removing the drama from Sweetie’s infestation. We have since corrected our methods, and worked out the schedule for our inspections. Kudos to all of you facing had lice at home by yourselves, it worked best for us to seek a professional opinion.
Sweetie returned back to school with little fanfare. I want to give a big shout-out and thank you to our St. Viator Commnity. Parents expressed concern and support for Sweetie and us, and that was great. I was projecting a mild fear that we would be avoided, and I was mistaken. Sweetie’s experience has been more of a hassle than traumatic, and that’s great. Here’s a sketch from today showng her take on this whole deal:
So again, head lice are common and treatable, but infestations are also preventable. Inspect every 4 days, use the essential oil bug sprays, encourage your kids not to share head wear, and girls and long-haired boys should wear tight pony tails or buns.
All that being said, sheesh, who else is itchy?