Thursday, November 15, 2012

Lice, Lice, Baby

Apologies for the plague postings this week, but it's just a germy time of year. Last week I was scratching my head. I wasn't wondering about anything, I was just itchy. Oh great, I thought, the dreaded lice are back for their annual (sometimes biannual) visit. I got out this:

If you know what that is, then you've walked a mile in my lice-infested hat. I combed and combed, but nothing. Nada. No lice. Yay! But then, why was I itching? I wandered over to the shower to inspect my new bottle of shampoo. The new shampoo looked like this:

No, you're right. That doesn't say shampoo. It says detangling solution. I'd been washing my hair with detangler for a week! So, if any of you saw me last week and wondered why I was so greasy, there's your answer. In my defense, the detangler and shampoo look an awful lot alike. Here's the side-by-side:

I was ever so grateful to not have lice again because we have been through the lice wars, folks, and we have the Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser bottles and the nit combs to prove it. For our first go-around with lice, I used Nix, but subsequently switched to Cetaphil because I started getting freaked out about all the chemicals. You can read the complete directions of how to treat lice at home with Cetaphil here, but the basic instructions are to douse the infected person's head in Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser so that it's basically dripping off his or her head, wait 2 minutes, comb out the excess Cleanser, and then dry the Cetaphil into the hair. It has taken me up to a hour to dry the Girl's hair when we've gone this route. It would probably be easier if you have one of these lying around:

Love it! It's like she has a Jiffy Pop bag on her head.

I am about to tell you the worst lice story ever. Well, maybe that's hyperbole, but it's my worst lice story. If you've got one to top it, lay it on me because I love a nightmarish lice story.

Remember when I told you that we went to D.C. last spring break and how we learned about Congressional history from Dad and we saw the White House and went bowling at the Old Executive Office Building? Well, I omitted a couple of unsavory details. The night before our west wing tour, I was helping the kids get ready for bed when the Girl started itching. Lump in my throat, I peered at her head. Lice. WTF. It was nearly 9 p.m., we were staying at a town house on Capitol Hill, and I had none of my lice-ridding paraphernalia that I'd used to de-louse us in the past. I broke the news to the K.
"[The Girl] has lice."
"What does that mean?"
"We can't go to the White House tomorrow if she has lice! What if she gives lice to the Sasha and Malia?"
"Who are they?"
"The Obama girls." (DUH!)
"I'm pretty sure the tour isn't of their bedrooms and that it would be a pretty major security breach if Secret Service let [the Girl] roll around on their pillows." 
This is one of the reasons that the K and I are compatible. When I totally freak out, he stays calm and when he freaks out, I stay calm. The K changed into running clothes and (literally) ran to the nearest open drugstore (thank you iPhone) while I started washing pillowcases and clothes. We were definitely lucky that we had a washer and dryer. If we'd been in a hotel, I honestly don't know what we would have done.

The K was back surprisingly quickly and was also surprisingly less sweaty than usual following exercise. It turned out that while the townhouse where we were staying is in a good neighborhood, if you went a couple of blocks in the wrong direction it became markedly less gentrified. That's my nice way of saying that we were just west of the ghetto. So, the K, who is, like I've said, built like a football player, got worried because of the domestic altercations and gunshots that he heard on his way to the drug store and decided to cab it back to the town house. Thank goodness nothing happened to him, and not only because I don't want anything to happen to him. Can you imagine me having to explain to the police that, no, he wasn't in the neighborhood to buy drugs or hire a hooker, but to get Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser to treat our daughter's lice?? Yeah, right, lady.

This was our last bout of lice and I didn't actually manage to get rid of it with our midnight de-lousing in Washington, D.C. My attention to detail, as has been documented in this blog, is not the best. So, while I did my best to nit-pick the Girl's hair, I must have missed some and by May, half the family were itching. This time, I was not messing around. A friend tipped me off to Elimilice, a lice-removal facility with several locations in the Atlanta metro. They checked the entire family and found that the Girl and I had lice and that the Boy had some nits. The K and the Baby were lice-free. The ladies who work there have the patience of saints. I am not joking. It took a couple of hours for them to comb through my hair and the Girl's hair. It didn't take as long for the Boy because his hair is shorter. Meanwhile, the kids watched movies, ate snacks, and had just about as much fun as you can while someone combs through your hair looking for vermin. We left with three lice combs, color-coded, labeled, and in separate bags for each of us who had been infected. We also went back a week later for a re-check to make sure we were still clean. I will tell you that it was worth every penny to know that we were lice-free.

Since this spring I have been much more vigilant about preventing lice on the front end, so that we don't have to go through the process of getting rid of them again.

  • The kids have been using Fairy Tales Hair Rosemary Repel shampoo and conditioner when they wash their hair. Fairy Tales Hair has a special on the website, for every $25.00 spent, customers get a free Rosemary Repel product of their choice. Time to stock up!
  • The Girl has long hair and I try to have her wear her hair in a ponytail every day. 
  • Before the kids go to school (or camp in the summer), I spray their heads with either Fairy Tales Hair Rosemary Conditioning Spray or Lice Knowing You School and Play Spray
  • Lice Knowing You is available at Elimilice and I like it because you can spray the kids' stuff, too. So, I spray their backpacks and coats with the Lice Knowing You every day before school. 
  • Eileen, the owner of Elimilice was nice enough to send this promotional email for me to share with you all: Elimilice Promotion So, if you go to that link, you'll find a document that you can print out and present at one of the Atlanta-area Elimilice locations and get a 15% discount on prevention products. I am all over this deal!

Eileen also shared with me some information on doing an at home lice check. She also has an interesting post on the Elimilice blog about current thinking in treating for lice. I want to thank her so much for the valuable information and the discount.

Whew! This was a long post, but one that I hope will be helpful. Well, I really hope that you will never have to deal with lice at all! But, if you do and you have a really good (and by that I mean bad) lice story, let me know! Good night!



  1. We had a lice scare and got checked at Elimalice. We were lice free but I was grateful that they provide lice removal. I know their is no way Ed would spend hours picking nits! And we use the mint spray from Elimalice, smells great!

  2. They don't call it nit picking for nothing. Elimalice rocks!

  3. Continue combing your hair with a nit comb for at least to-to-three weeks to check whether all the lice have vanished from your hair and there is no more infestation in the scalp. Visit Lice Removal Dallas

  4. So my lice story involves 29 camp staff at a camp--and two bouts of it....