Tuesday, September 17, 2013

How we beat lice--(knock on wood)

It was the Friday before Emma's first full week of Kindergarten.  Emma asked me to straighten her hair and I reluctantly agreed to.  As I was pinning up her hair I noticed these white specks scattered throughout her hair.  I tried to pick them away but they were stuck to the hairs.  I had her stand by the window where the sun was shining and I inspected further.  As I was parting her hair and looking at her scalp, I saw a BUG....a BUG! go running through her hair!  It was a good size--close in size to a tick.  Off to Google I ran.  I did an image search and typed in "lice"....

Up to this point, my only dealings with lice have been when I got it when I was little.  I remember my mom washing my hair with this special shampoo and having me sit in the bath tub while she combed through my hair with a special comb.  I only remember her doing it one time...and that was that.  Not a horrible memory.  The image results returned lots and lots of images of lice and nits.  In my head I was trying to convince myself that it was something else.  School was about to start and I did not have the time to deal with lice.  After consulting Google, I consulted my mom-friends...because they know everything.  I was basically told to put Emma in a bubble along with everything she has come in to contact with and to not let her out for two weeks (not really, but that's what it felt like).  LOTS of my mom-friends had dealt with lice and I took what they told me to heart. 

Being the amateur lice treater I am, I ran to Target and got the Target brand of Nix (the name brand was all sold out).  I also stopped off at Trader Joe's and got some tea tree oil shampoo and conditioner. 

Once we got home I followed the directions on the Target brand Nix and treated Emma.  I used the plastic nit comb that was provided and combed through her pretty little hairs and that was it.  I was feeling pretty good about myself.  ....until I started reading online and being told my friends that this stuff doesn't kill the eggs--just the live bugs.  I was told to NIT PICK (hahaha--I will never look at that expression the same way again) each and every nit out of her hair until I didn't see any.  That one missed nit would start the whole process all over again.  And that plastic comb that was provided in the kit did NOTHING to pick out the nits.  Nits are basically cemented to the hair shaft and the only way to get them off is to use your nail and pull it off. 

I felt defeated.  She had a good amount of nits in her hair.  How was I going to sit there for an hour (and expect her to sit there for an hour) while I went through her hair layer by layer picking out nits?! 

A few of my friends (and a pinterest search) told me about the Cetaphil treatment.  It is explained here.  It was developed by a doctor from Stanford University.  The Readers Digest version of the treatment basically is you get some Cetaphil (it must be the Gentle Skin Cleanser):

Get yourself a condiment dispenser and pour the Cetaphil in it.  Apply the Cetaphil to the dry hair in this pattern:

being sure the top of the bottle stays in contact with the scalp the whole time.  The point is to saturate the scalp and all the hair with the cleanser.  Once you feel the scalp and hair are fully saturated, you comb out the excess cleanser and.....ready for it?......this is the fun part........you BLOW DRY the cleanser on the hair.  You have to blow dry it completely.  This takes a LONG time.  Once the hair is dry, leave it for up to 8 hours and then you can wash it out. 

Emma was the first to receive this treatment.  A day or two after seeing the bug in Emma's hair, I ran my nit comb through Molly's hair and what do you know a louse came out.  A very small one....but a live one.  So.....you guessed it, Molly got the exact same treatment.  I did do the Target brand Nix on her initially to kill any live bugs and then I did the Cetaphil treatment.  An hour and a lots of marshmallows later, Molly was treated. 

That night I had Tim look in my hair.  Guess what--nits.  At this point I was ready to chop off all my hair and hide in that bubble some of my friends referred to...but I couldn't.  Let me tell you, treating hair that is almost halfway down your back with Cetaphil and then blow drying it is not easy.  Once it was dry, I put it in a bun and prayed that this would work.  While I didn't find any nits in Tim's hair, I also treated him just to be pro-active. 

Between Cetaphil treatments I combed through the girls hair every-single-night.  The comb I ended up getting was this one:

It got great reviews on Amazon and it really does work well.  The first week I nit picked every night.  After the initial nit pick, I would only find between 3-6 total on the girls.  I think they were probably ones I missed and not new ones.  I was also washing with the tea tree oil shampoo and spraying the girls with this spray while they were away for the day--especially at school:

After the first week, I was not finding any more nits in Emma's hair and before the second treatment I think I found 2 in Molly's.  When the next Saturday rolled around, everyone got the Cetaphil treatment again.....and the Saturday after that, again.  So, three Saturday's in a row everyone was treated with the Cetaphil and in between they were combed out and sprayed with the repel spray. 

I have only been nit picked twice--by my mom.  It's impossible to nit pick yourself and it is helpful if you have somebody to do it for you.  The neat thing about this treatment is that the Cetaphil is supposed to kill the nits as well as the bugs.  So if you do the treatment correctly-once every 7 days for 3 weeks (minimum), you should be good. 

Once I stopped finding nits in the girls hair, I started brushing them out every other day...and that's where we are now.  The girls are nit free.  I need to be checked again by my mom and Tim is looking pretty good as well.  As far as the bedding, toys, stuffed animals, etc.  When I first saw the louse in Emma's hair, I spent that afternoon stripping the beds and washing everything in hot water.  I ran all the pillows and stuff animals through a cycle in the dryer on high heat.  I vacuumed the sofa and washed the covers for the cushions.  The lice treatment kit from Target came with upholstery spray so I sprayed the beds, sofa and car seats with that.  I re-washed everything a week later....and then a week after that.  Basically my Saturdays were treating hair and washing bedding, etc. 

For my first lice experience--dare I say it wasn't horrible.  For some people, their personal experience was the end of the world.  I'm thinking I caught it pretty early.  I've heard of people being terribly infested with hundreds of live bugs...thankfully we weren't there yet.  There were nights I did not want to comb out the girls hair--but I did it.  Like I said, one little louse could start this whole process over again. 

I hope this post is helpful to somebody who is desperately searching for a way to get rid of lice.  I know there are about a million home remedies out there.  It can be overwhelming....but this is what I did and what (seemed to) work for us.  Best of luck in your lice-killing adventures! 


Misty said...

Thanks for taking the time to put this together! I'm hoping that I never have to reference back to this post, but I think it's very informative, and I would have no clue where to start! Hopefully you will never have to deal with this ever again!

Anonymous said...

I have just used this on both my kids, and hope for the best, I HATE lice! however I am a bit concerned, since there are some tiny tiny black thingys, that my comb can't catch, I hope they are dead things-! Lice Removal service