Monday, February 23, 2009

Something's Bugging Me...

To the person from California who found my blog last night after Googling "How long will my teen daughter hate me?" - I hope I didn't scare you. Take comfort in knowing you have a sister in suffering here.

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I will admit right here, I'm a fanatic on the subject of head lice. I can recite all sorts of facts about life cycles, methods of killing, avenues of contamination. My family has been so traumatized by what we refer to as The Year of the Head Lice that I am not even able to be funny about it. (See? No hyperlinks to previous posts) Yes, it was that bad. (No pictures, either - no way, no how...)

And now? I find this AP article which almost made my head explode (oh, but hey, that would take care of any resident lice, now wouldn't it?).

Apparently these people who want to allow children with "only" nits in their hair to attend school do not understand that you can't always see the hatched bugs. They are that fast and that small. By the time you can see them, they are leaving the host and finding new heads to inhabit.

In addition, having lice is "no big deal"? Really? So says Dr. Barbara Frankowski, a pediatrician who has, ahem, studied the subject. I'm willing to bet that Dr. Frankowski has never experienced an infestation herself. She has never had the pleasure of making her kids lay their heads on the kitchen table for an hour at a time (and don't move, dammit!) so that she could search for lice and their eggs. She has never had to do umpteen loads of laundry - bedding, clothing, coats, hats, you name it - every day for 2 weeks. And I'm sure she has never confiscated armies of stuffed animals from her crying children and stuffed them in a plastic bag for two weeks. All this while trying to keep a household running...

Oh, and let's not forget the constant vacuuming, and the crying, neglected baby, and the heightened awareness of every single time her children's heads touch something (or worse yet, each other). And how about the PTSD, the visual flashbacks of actually spotting things crawling (Lord help me) all over her precious, snuggly children's heads? The inability to go for a haircut without taking Valium first? No big deal, hey?

Folks, if there are nits, there are lice. Guaranteed. Keep your kids home and spare others the work and expense (and trauma - have I mentioned the trauma?) of a lice infestation, okay? Thanks.

Now I'm itchy.

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What did I use to read before I spent hours scouring the Web for interesting news articles and fun blogs? Books, maybe? How dull. And don't you think Jane Austen would have made a great blogger? Here she had to waste time penning all those long novels, with nary a meme in sight. Poor girl...




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38 comments:

  1. Oh, great! Now on top of all the rest of the mayhem that can happen, we have to worry about head lice? They sound as fun as pin worms. And let me tell you that you don't want to google them to find out if Lysol will kill them because in your search you will learn disgusting things you never wanted to know about them. And Lysol won't do it. Cleaning every surface in your house and then washing bottoms and bed clothes and pajamas every am for 6 weeks is TRAUMA. So maybe the kids are fine with the lice and the worms, but the PARENTS need their sanity. Missing a little school never hurt anyone. Just my opinion.

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  2. I have had my share of nit-picking. Literally. I finally resorted to dosing the kids with benadryl, planting them somewhere with a good light, and literally picking the entire hair out of their scalp with tweezers to avoid losing the nits. The last visit those critters paid to my house arrived on my Clone. There were a couple dozen adults, but only a few nits. I took her to school with a clear scalp the next day and told the teacher, "someone has it BAD", citing the reverse trend of past infestations we've seen. Sure enough, Clone said three other kids went home that day.

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  3. I have so been there, done that, had the flashbacks.

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  4. DON'T MENTION THE 'L' WORD! I want nothing to do with those horrid little mites ever again! Now I'll be second-guessing every scratch at my kids heads for days.

    PS, I heard stuffed toys in the freezer for an hour or so will kill them... the lice not the toys. Feel free to use my story of an "Antarctic Exploration Mission" to explain it to the kids. Speaking of such things, I need to send another load of toys to "White Water World" after a particularly chocolatey incident...

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  5. i'm afraid. about the person's google. my daughter is almost 9. i'm scared.

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  6. jodi - mother of sixFebruary 24, 2009

    I share your pain! I went through all the combing, washing, vacuuming, bed changing several times with my six kids. Another family, close by, with 9 kids didn't have the same feelings as I (and you) do about lice! Yeck, I say, and more yeck!

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  7. Never had to deal with head lice but every time you take a dog to California and hit the beach, you go thru the same thing with fleas. They not only jump around the dog, but then jump to your carpets and then onto people, who manage to erupt into rashes.

    And you have to comb your dog to find the suckers. Every day.

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  8. We too had a traumatic 'Year of the Head Lice' when my eldest was 9 years old. (I later found out she was seated beside a girl whose mother suffered from temporary blindness every time she washed or combed her daughter's hair, because I could see them crawling down the part in her hair like it was a lice highway!)

    I agree - keep your child at home until they are lice free AND nit free.

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  9. Now, I'm itchy too.
    Ewww. Lice.

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  10. Thank you so much. Yes, I am being sarcastic. I am also scratching my head. Just the mention of the little buggers makes me itch! I share your aversion. YUCK.

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  11. Not to mention the colossal frustration of "assuming the position" with four resident children and sending them to their father's house for the weekend, and having him unwilling to undertake the same Herculean feat, and having them come home re-infested because he didn't. I was so glad when the last child finished grade school. Miraculously, no more head lice.

    PTSD is *not* an exaggeration.

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  12. At our school all the boys recently volunteered for buzz cuts in support of a 1st grader with leukemia, and when I see all those shaved heads I know the lice have moved on to greener (i.e. hairier) pastures.

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  13. Nits, ohmygod nits.

    Lemme tell you about our week with nits.

    Daughter has itchy rash on neck. I inspect. My eyes are drawn to ... WHAT is THAT? WHAT IS THAT?! AAAAAUUUUGGGGH!

    I'm a fairly granola mother, but trust me, I bought everything short of napalm to kill those things. First the treatment shampoo, then the wet combing. I did nine hours of wet coming in a day on her. I cleared her head in a single day. We sat outside on the deck with the comb in direct sunlight and I picked off every single damned one of those things in three three hour sessions, hair by hair.

    Then I washed *everything*. 37 loads of laundry that week. Fogger on things that couldn't be washed.

    And to top it off, we had two sets of houseguests that week, and our second set had lice themselves!

    Our Eldest got them from hat day at school, where two of the "popular" girls stole her hat and put it on themselves. Well, neither of their mothers reported lice to the classroom - we were the first ones to do so. I'm furious with both of those PTA mothers (both live in our neighborhood) but I am happy to report that we no longer have hat day. Grrr.

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  14. I am with you on the 'no nit' policy. In my 5th grade son's classroom this year, the clinic found head lice on the little girl that sits next to him. She was sent back to class and allowed to ride the bus home that day because her parents could not go pick her up. She was there all week. On day three I sent my son to school wearing a swimming cap.

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  15. Well, you know I went beserk over just maybe-lice. When I checked in with our pediatrician to tell him we'd been at a party with Lice Girl but so far hadn't seen anything, he recommended (just like you had, and like we'd already done) preventative natural treatments just in case. He said YOU RARELY SEE THE ADULTS. Somehow I believe my own doctor more than the hacks in that article who say nits are fine. SOMETHING had to lay those eggs. Oh god, now I'm itchy again.

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  16. Oh, God. I remember those days. Darling Daughter had beautiful, thick, curly long hair...that I had to hack off at the neckline so I wouldn't have to pick through all of her long, Rapunzel-esque locks. We discovered her lice on the day of her 10th birthday party--which I subsequently had to cancel. I double-dosed her with the shampoo, then when I found one adult crawling in Darling Son's hair, double-dosed him, too. Nerve damage? Who cares! At least the bugs will be dead! And those combs? Useless. Nope. Nothing can replace mom's fingernails for picking out nits.

    Bedding...oh, so much bedding. And curtains, drapes, slipcovers, throw rugs, pillows, stuffed animals...the list goes on and on.

    Today I inspect every flake of dandruff on DS's head--just to make sure...

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  17. Books? Unless you have a Kindle2, I'm guessing it's not nearly as cool to read a book as using Google Reader to read blogs [smile].

    ~Luke

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  18. First of all, Jane would post lots of yummy pictures of her leading men (like I do). Second, I hear you 100%--the "experts" on children never actually go near any for significant periods of time. To them I say this: Suck it.

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  19. FYI -- if you want to let the AAP know how you feel you can e-mail them at schoolhealth@aap.org. I sent an e-mail to a half dozen places from the AAP website in the hopes that one would reach someone who might be involved with this. The thought of my child getting lice because of this recommendation makes me angry. We've dealt with a lice infestation and it's HELL.

    One recommendation for killing the lice is olive oil. The Nix gave my daughter a first degree chemical burn and didn't kill the bugs. So we used olive oil. doused her head, wrapped it in plastic wrap (or a bag) and a towel and she slept in it every other night. In the morning washed the hair then combed through looking for nits (yes, picking them with your fingernails works better than the comb.) did this every other day. For two weeks. Not fun. But effective.

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  20. Oh no what are you saying???

    I worry about head lice ALL. THE. TIME. and I have never known anyone who had it. You really should have put a disclaimer - now my head is itchy, I'm going to have to check the chickies and I'll be awake at night, wondering.

    I'm so not kidding. One picture day the photographer used the SAME comb to fix all the kids hair before taking the pictures. I almost had an anxiety attack. For weeks I obsessed. *shudder* My day is ruined. Possibly the remainder of the week.

    (My fear stems from HAVING lice as a child - for weeks my mom tried to get rid of it but kids at school kept passing it around and all four of us sisters, who previously had long hair? Got it practically shaved off and I am not even kidding.)

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  21. anonymous - a better method seems to be using the Cetaphil cleanser method and blow-drying it on their hair. Supposedly it shrinkwraps the bugs and kills them. The pesticide shampoos do not work well, that is for sure.

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  22. I have a RL friend who went through this recently. Her 2 little boys had been crawling in bed with her in the middle of the night, so she ended up with crawling things in HER hair, too. NOT. FUN. I love her, but I stayed far, far away until the lice was GONE.
    Now I'm itchy all over again.
    [scritch-scratch]
    AAARRGHH!!!

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  23. Armies of stuffed animals. I am so THERE.

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  24. Ick, I am itchy now! Thanks!
    We swear by Hedrin, which does at least seem to actually kill the damned things!
    But you are right about the flashbacks (involutary shudder).

    As to Jane, she would have been one of those bloggers with a paid gig!

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  25. 72 lbs of laundry detergent. Four kids. I went through, I kid you not, 72 stinking pounds trying to get rid of them. And they want to say nits are no big deal now?! What are they smoking?!

    Turns out my highschooler was bringing them home from the earphones in French lab, all the while blaming her six-year-younger brother because of course it's the little kids that bring them home, right?

    Insects breathe through their skeletons, and fat clogs their pores. Olive oil and plastic wrap, I found after the Big Infestation, is one way to kill them; Crisco works too, I'm told. You can't suffocate them with water but you can with fat.

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  26. OH OH OH....my head is so itchy now! A pox on those idiots who think head lice are okay! If my kid got lice at school because of some kid they did not send home......there would be a ruckus baby!

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  27. Tell the woman in California that they eventually stop hating you. Right about the time that your financial support is a choice rather than a legal obligation.

    Now I'm off to check my newly itching scalp . . .

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  28. We were spared the lice infestation of 01, but it was a long year. One child got it and it spread expotentionally thru the school. Seriously, keep your kid home till it's gone.

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  29. Dear Pete, now my head itches! Thanks for the freakin flashbacks. Ours was a Christmas gift from school, that kept on giving! Sorry gotta go inspect my hair now. Did I mention the phantom itching?!

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  30. Oh I love it! Such a great blog.

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  31. I have a huge fear of lice and now my head itches....

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  32. The kids have had them 3 times in the last 12 years. My boys got buzz cuts, so they were easy to comb out. My girls, who had longish hair? I cut theirs shoulder lenght and had to go through it daily for a week to get rid of them. We bought a metal lice comb, which worked much better than the plastic ones. After the last time, I told hubby to not allow the kids to reuse a bath towel, to always put them in the laundry after every use. I do not care if it costs more to do the extra laundry.

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  33. I almost didn't read your post due to my flash backs...all I know is my child missed 10 days of school trying to get free of the nits and the girl who infected her did the mayo treatment and was back in 3 days...the absolute worst part was the gossiping mommies.

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  34. Most of the comments on this post are really long! that just proves there are strong feelings on the subject. I need to go scrub my whole body now. I am itchy!

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  35. You are a crack up! And, I mean that in a good way.

    And, now I'M itchy!

    Mrs. Nurse Boy

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  36. I totally agree! Even though we were one of the families that got caught in the not-sure-if-it's-a-nit-but-looks-like-one-so-come-get-your-nasty-kids thing when the boys were little. There was one school nurse that would send kids home if their hair was just obviously dirty. And she was rude about it! But still, I'd rather be caught up in that than have to deal with the real thing.

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  37. Oh, we too had a year of head lice. It coincided with me having twin babies, and I am sad to say I found bugs scuttling under their fluffy blonde hair. VOMIT. How could this happen when my toddler was not in daycare? Well, lemme tell ya. Her babysitter, my sister-in-law, was SO CERTAIN that her kid no longer had head lice, that she never even mentioned it. Either time! She still insists it didn't come from them, even though we suffered two outbreaks immediately following her own daughter's outbreaks. I could go on and on, but OH YES I am still traumatized, big time, and flip out every time I see one of the kids itching. What a nightmare. And yes, I got it too. Me, my toddler, and my two babies, crawling with filthy disgusting head lice. I am teary just thinking about it so I'll just stop now.

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