Having a Louse-y Spring? Metuchen Moms share a few tips to help your family deal with Lice

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nit.jpegLice is making its way through the schools again.  When I was in grade school it seemed like maybe you'd hear of one kid with lice every couple of years - maybe.  Now, each year we get the dreaded lice-notice in the homework folder...  'Lice was detected in your child's classroom...'  Panic.  Like the plague, you worry about everyone in the family, your home, your belongings, and you know you're in for a week of extreme home sanitizing. 

 

And you feel dirty.  But the fact of the matter is lice don't care if you're clean or dirty.  Some people say lice don't even LIKE dirty hair.  Others say they jump from backpack to backpack in the classroom, or when you share brushes or batting helmets, and yet others say hugging and head-to-head contact is the only way lice will transfer hosts. There are a lot of stories out there.  (Click here for an article that outlines the myths and expert-advised treatment options.)

 

Moms in town who dealt with the problem have shared their solutions.  A couple used professional services and others tackled lice on their own using similar methods. If you get that terrible call from the school nurse, we hope their experiences help. 

 

Jan's Story:

When my 1st grade son complained of an itchy head, I asked the school nurse to inspect him and she verified yes, he had lice.   I immediately washed his hair with a medicated lice-specific shampoo and upon his returning to school, the nurse did not see any remaining lice.

 

But his head itched again the next day.

 

I remembered that a friend, a mother of four, took her kids to a professional de-louser for treatment.  I searched the web and found one in West Orange. (Here's one we found in Highland Park)

 

In a very sterile, sparse environment with salon-like stations, the technician applied cream rinse to my son's entire head and then separated small segments of his hair and combed through each with a fine-tooth metal comb (which I purchased and took home).  After each comb-through, she wiped the comb onto a clean paper towel.  There, she was able to clearly see what came out of his hair. His full treatment and the head-inspections of the three remaining members of our family cost $200.00.  

 

After the combing and inspections, she applied olive oil to my son's head, wrapped it in a towel, and covered the towel wrap with a plastic shower-cap (to suffocate any remaining nits).  In the morning, I removed the head gear and thoroughly washed his hair with regular shampoo.  One tip about washing out the olive oil - don't pre-wet the hair too much.  Apply a liberal amount of shampoo and just enough water to make a good lather.  The oil comes-out much easier that way.

 

I repeated the section-combing and olive oil wrap again in 7 days and then in another 7 days.

 

I washed his bedding daily and put his bed pillows into the dryer on high for 20 minutes, as heat kills nits.  I bagged our couch cushions and stuffed animals and kept the bags on a cold, enclosed winter porch for a couple of weeks, as cold also kills nits. 

 

I vacuumed our carpets thoroughly daily but the professional I worked with said lice would not be where there was no head-contact.  So, vacuuming my curtains was not necessary.

 

Aileen's Story: 

 

Last year everyone in my family got lice, except my husband.  We think our daughter got it from school  (due to other cases in her class).  I am a teacher and my school district has a zero tolerance policy concerning lice;  I needed to be completely clear of the nits before I could return to teaching.  My school district uses a company called Lice Be Gone.


A specialist from Lice Be Gone came to our house and screened all of our heads.  Although my sons only had a few nits, my daughter and I had between 200-400 each!  The specialist combed our hair with a tight metal German comb dipped in conditioner and then baking soda. Since the nits can attach to all sides of the hair shaft, the specialist needed to comb our heads in about 6-8 different directions.  After combing in one direction, she told us to wash our hair while the other person got combed.  This took about 8-9 hours alone!  After my daughter and I were treated, she advised a daily olive oil treatment and comb-through for at least two weeks.

Throughout the day while our heads were being treated, I kept busy vacuuming the beds, rugs, couches and floors.  Also, I put all our linens and pillows and blankets alternately in the dryer about 3x a day.  I wrapped up all of the kids plush and extra blankets, etc. in huge green bags and did not unwrap them for two weeks!  About a half of our house was wrapped up and out of commission.  Needless to say, the decontaminating of the house for two weeks was grueling.


From what I recall, the total amount for the screening and treatment of our heads was between $500-600 dollars.  I would not have paid this except that I needed to return to teaching as soon as possible. Also, I did not have the manpower to do it myself or even for my own head.  The specialist that came to our house sufficiently educated me about lice and the appropriate measures to take afterward.  She did an excellent job getting rid of the lice from our heads and I returned to work immediately.  I recommend this service, but it certainly was expensive!

I really believe that the administration, teachers, school staff, parents, and students need to be better informed as to how to identify and prevent lice from infecting the classroom and our homes.  A company like "Lice Be Gone" could be hired to educate all of us as to how to get the lice situation under control and eventually out of Campbell School

 

Prevention Products

louse.jpeg 

Other moms in town swear-by this line of lice care and prevention hair products.  The company claims that lice hate the scent but humans don't.  Kids who use these products have been at sleep-overs with other kids who later find they have lice but never themselves have been infected.  Others buy rosemary or eucalyptus pure essential oil, two of the scents lice hate, from the health food store and add a few drops to shampoo and conditioner bottles. Who knows?  Might be worth a shot. Click here for a site that goes into a lot of detail about natural prevention and cure suggestions.

 

Our very own Jana Siciliano recently battled lice as well.  She tackled treatment on her own and beat the little buggers.  Click the following link to read her story and gather even more valuable mom AND doctor-recommended tips:

MM_Jana's lice story.doc

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