Let me start this post with a rant.
We are farmish people. We like critters. We consider a certain amount of dirt good for our health. We like the idea of our kids digging in the mud. You can tell by looking at us. We are almost never totally put-together and spiffy. But there is one little line I just have to draw when it comes to filth.
I hate those guys.
They are constantly going around in our kids school, and we’ve caught them more than once.
Naturally, we treat our heads, wash all of our clothes and bedding, vacuum all the rugs and furniture, comb, comb, comb for nits, and repeat. It’s a lot of work, taking all the necessary steps. It’s exhausting for me, painful for the kids, and absolute murder on the drain field, not to mention the pocket book.
When we’re sure we are lice free, we re-enter society. We send our kids back to school, where they pick up a fresh case and bring it back home.
Okay, it’s not that they bring it right back. It’s usually a while before we make the fatal mistake of forgetting the anti-lice detangling spray, but It’s maddening. It’s embarrassing. It makes me itch just thinking of it.
Most schools have abandoned the “No Nit Policy” citing information such as this.
So we’re just supposed to be OK with our kids getting lice on a semi-regular schedule? I’m not.
In case you’re new to the wonderful world of cooties, here’s the scoop. This is not the official scoop, which I happen to think is part of the problem, but the real dirt. This is what I’ve learned through our own experiences and by talking with other moms.
- Your children may complain of itching for several weeks before you can visually see that they have lice. This has been true both times my kids have had it. They started itching, and I checked, and re-checked, but saw no evidence of lice, then one day BAM, full scale visible-to-the-naked-eye infestation. GROSS
- Your child may not itch at all…ever. You may just stumble upon the grisly discovery when you decided to do a french braid. GROSS!
- When another parent lets you in on the news that there is lice going around (because your school probably won’t) you’ll do a check, naturally. But again, you may not see any lice or nits. They are very hard to see, especially in the early stages of an infestation. I’ve had parents tell me that they never would have seen the lice or nits if it hadn’t been for using the comb “just in case” Here’s what they look like by the way.
- You may see red dots, but no lice or nits, and think to yourself, oh no wonder Junior is itchy, he has a nasty rash. News Flash: that nasty rash is lice bites. Sorry.
- Whichever treatment you use, the comb is KING! The plastic ones are just okay, the metal one is the one you want. (not an affiliate, but maybe I should be.)Since the majority of the OTC treatments do not kill nits, you will need to do several nit-checks with the comb after your initial treatment. I’ve taken to doing them every single time I wash my kids hair.
- Sitting outside in the bright sun is your best hope for seeing the nits. Yes, that’s right. You’re going to have to go out on the front porch and let all the neighbors watch you nit-pick your kids head. HOORAY!
- Don’t forget, we now have super-lice! That’s right, many of the lice in our communities are now resistant to treatment. Please refer to “The comb is KING”. HOORAY!
I’m well aware that this is something most families with school aged children will deal with at least once, but I’m pretty annoyed at the frequency with which it’s happening in our neighborhood. I feel that the treat and return policy is a major player here, and could very well be responsible for Super Lice. It makes perfect sense that if you can’t return your child to school, and get back to work yourself, until your child is nit-free that you will be extra vigilant and make darn sure you’ve gotten every one of the buggers. On the other hand if you can treat your kid and get back to school and work the next day, it’s very easy to get swept back into being a busy parent, and forget the subsequent nit-checks. Now you have the most resistant nit hatching into a new stronger louse. I agree with the folks at the National Pediculosis Association; a couple years of this and it’s easy to see why we now have Super Lice. GROSS.
Please people, when the cooties come to town, whatever your school’s policy, I’m begging you to check, treat, and make darn sure your kids are lice and nit free before you send them back to school, daycare, sports and church.
What have I missed, Mamas? Please feel free to add your advice in the comments.