I don’t usually write posts like this but since many of my readers are parents or care for young children, I thought you may find it very educational. It’s a bit personal but I’ve been amazed by how many people can relate.
This is about what I learned recently when we got one of those dreaded calls from the school nurse. It came out of the blue and was completely unexpected. It was a call many parents have received but the first one for me. It was a “your daughter has lice and you need to pick her up” calls. What??
I know there are many worse things a nurse can tell you but this felt pretty bad.
Lice, I have learned, are an extremely common problem in elementary school. Young kids, like my 5-year-old daughter, don’t exactly get the personal space thing. Especially 5 years olds. And just when you think it can’t happen to you, it does.
So what did we do? Well, after the initial denial, panic set in. I bought every product I could find on the store shelves. Forget the coupons, sales or shopping around. I needed something fast so I sucked it up and plunked down the money. I washed my daughter’s hair with the harsh pesticides they sell over the counter and spent a tedious 3 hours combing through each stand with the comb that came with the shampoo. I pulled out everything I found. I thought I did a good job.
But then I wasn’t so certain so I emailed Miracles on Lice Treatment Center in Ballston Lake. Yes, there actually is a salon in the Capital Region that specializes in lice removal. That’s all they do. I made an appointment for the morning. $25 for a head check. I thought it would be worth it to all be checked- I needed the peace of mind.
Miracles on Lice turned out to be incredible (and they don’t know I’m writing this post so all thoughts are truly my own). The owners are a couple and their daughter who started the business three years ago. The mom and daughter were hair dressers at a kid’s salon where they saw lice on a regular basis. Every time a hairdresser discovered lice on a client, they had to immediately ask them to leave. Families were upset and did not know what to do. This didn’t sit well with the now owners of Miracles on Lice so they became certified in lice removal, opened their own treatment center and their business is booming!
So how did the head check go? Not well. I was honestly expecting a pat on the back and “Good job! You got them all!” but that wasn’t the case. So we spent hours in the salon and a lot of money having each and every bug and egg removed by hand. Not fun but these folks were incredible.
Here’s my little one being checked (it really wasn’t as bad as she makes it look!):
So why do I share this story? Because I learned so much about prevention and treatment and I have come to realize there is a tremendous amount of misinformation out there. So some friends encouraged me to share what I learned- to help each of you! Because it happens. And you could get the next call.
Here is what I learned:
- Lice do not fly or jump. They run. Put two heads near each other and they can run right over in 8 seconds. That’s fast.
- The shampoos (which are pesticides) they sell to remove them do not work well anymore. Once upon a time they did but lice have developed a tolerance. That was what I ran into.
- Lice cannot live off the body for more than 48 hours.
- Lice eggs (“nits”) cannot live once detached from the hair.
- Lice don’t care how long your hair is (which is why boys get them, too), they just like your scalp.
- 50% of people don’t even feel itchy from lice!
- Lice love certain blood types and not others. We are A+ (otherwise known as their favorite).
- Lice are attracted to sweet-smelling shampoos and hair products. That’s pretty much everything I own. Goodbye to all my free with coupons shampoos. They do not like the smell of rosemary or mint. I now own these beauties:
So how on Earth do you prevent these little critters from coming home with your child? It takes some work but there are three ways to prevent:
- Switching out your sweet-smelling shampoos and conditioners for mint (Miracles on Lice has their own line) or rosemary (like Fairy Tales).
- Always have long hair in braids or buns when around others (especially at school).
- Comb through your hair (or, more importantly, your child’s hair) with a lice comb (also found on Amazon) twice a day. Morning and as soon as they come home from school/daycare/playdates. Here is the best kind that what we bought (for every person in the family):
We also bought this to help with the combing:
Here’s another great product we purchased to spray on backpacks and coats that hang next to each other at school. It lasts 8 hours.
It was not a fun thing to go through and also a bit embarrassing but it happens. It doesn’t matter how clean you are (in fact, lice prefer clean hair). Lice like warm scalps and if you have one, you can get them.
You can read a little more about head lice on Miracles on Lice’s website and they will also have a booth at the Hannaford Kidz Expo on March 7th. They have taught me SO much and while I can’t say I know as much as them, if you have any questions, post them below and I will get the answer for you.
(Note: Some of the product links are through my Amazon affiliate. They are sold other places for the same prices but I wanted to give you direct links.)
Some tips from Miracles on Lice literature: