Last night was an extremely late night in NYC (that’s another post) and today I planned on staying in my PJ’s, being as productive as I could and working all day. I receive a panic call from my daughter’s best friend, (she’s also like a daughter), Her daughter (who’s like a granddaughter) was scratching her head like crazy and she was concerned she had lice. This is something I used to deal with at work quite often (I was a cosmetologist) and I know how freaked out people can get. I tell her to calm down, just because she’s itchy doesn’t mean she has lice. I explain to her how to check for it and to call me back. She calls back and guess what? She has it…..now I talk to her very matter of factly, It’s not the end of the world and very common among children. It’s going to be a pain in the ass but it’s curable! I explain the whole process of what to do for her daughter, herself, the house, the car, and who she needs to call.
I then remember my husband telling me how the baby(she’s not really a baby, she’s 5) came over yesterday and she slept at my daughter’s house. SHIT- now I have to check everyone’s head and totally sanitize the house. Of course my daughter calls me and is freaking out, so I tell her I’ll be over to help.
After sanitizing both houses, and checking everyone’s head- I give the clean bill of health. Just in case though, my daughter wants to run to Target to grab Rid….just in case. I finally get back at 9 pm and put on my pj’s…better late than never.
Lice…..when most think of this disgusting little pest of a bug, they get totally freaked out. If you think you or your child have lice, stay calm and follow these steps.
What are lice?
Lice are tiny bugs that live on the scalp and neck. They are not able to jump or fly but they are highly contagious and can spread quickly from person to person. They spread mainly through head-to-head contact, sharing clothing, bed linens, combs, brushes, and hats can also help pass them along. They are not dangerous and don’t cause disease. They do feed off the blood by biting a couple times a day, causing red bumps that itch. They lay eggs are the hair which are called nits.
Checking for lice
You will need to part small (very small) sections of the hair and look for the actual bug (louse) and look for the nit. The nit looks like a piece of dandruff stuck to the hair (usually close to the scalp) and doesn’t come off easily.
What to do if you find it
You will need to purchase a treatment shampoo (Rid is good) and a fine-tooth comb. There are kits that include the nit combs.
Follow the directions on the medication. While the hair is wet, you’ll need to part the hair in tiny sections and comb-out the nits. Sometimes olive oil is used to help get the nits off. You can use conditioner after you use the shampoo o make it easier to comb through. This process is tedious and takes some time.
If your child is under 2 years, call the physician.
Treating the house
1. Wash all bed linens and clothing that’s been recently worn by anyone in your home who’s infested in very hot water (130° Fahrenheit, 54.4° Celsius), then put them in the hot cycle of the dryer for at least 20 minutes. Dry clean any clothing that isn’t machine washable or store all clothing, stuffed animals, comforters, etc., that cannot be washed or dry cleaned into a plastic bag and seal it for two weeks.
2. Vacuum carpets and any upholstered furniture (in your home or car).
3. Soak hair-care items like combs, barrettes, hair ties or bands, headbands, and brushes in rubbing alcohol or medicated shampoo for 1 hour. You can also wash them in hot water (130 degrees F; 55 degrees C) or just throw them away.
Call your child’s school, daycare, and anyone they may have come in contact with.
You can find complete information at www.cdc.gov/lice/head/factsheet.html