Written by Jennifer Haler
So not too long ago I got all call from the school. This particular call was from the school nurse. Seeing as how my daughter had come home early in the day I assumed she was calling to check in. However, the conversation quickly turned to the unexpected.
There are no words to describe the thoughts that run through your head when the school nurse tells you that your child came into contact with someone with head lice and you need to check her head. Being a fairly well educated and articulate person the first words out of my mouth to the nurse were “OH, CRAP!”
I held the phone between ear and shoulder while I started looking through her hair. Finding nothing, thankfully. The nurse told me she would double check the next day at school.
That night I sat my girl in the tub while I washed her hair thoroughly, the whole time looking for the little critters and their nits. Still not finding anything. Phew.
Now, I have worked in schools for many years so I know that lice has nothing to do with being dirty or unsanitary. They are just really hardy little buggers (HA!) and the nits are really difficult to kill. Also, they spread really easily. It does not take much for them to move from one head to another. What I was mostly worried about was the difficulty in getting rid of them.
I have gotten many letters home through the years saying that someone in my child’s class had lice. No big deal. When Nurse called I made the assumption that my girl had been in really close contact. It wasn’t until the next day I was told how close.
Next day. My girly got checked out by Nurse who also did not find any nits or lice. Double Phew! Then I pick the kiddos up from school and find out that the child who had lice was the same child whose house my girl had stayed at during the weekend. “Crap!” came out of my mouth again. Then my daughter tells me that her friend borrowed her hair brush. “AAGGGHHHHHH!”
So now I have the possibility of head lice in the house. I start doing the rundown of what can be washed, what needs to be put in plastic bags, run to the store and buy everyone new hairbrushes, etc. Then my wonderful husband reminds me that the girls had been at our house as well and played hide-n-seek. One of the spots they hid in was closet with all of the clean sheets and blankets. Let me tell you. You don’t realize how much stuff you have and how many things touch other things causing possible contamination until you start having to figure out how to get rid of insects. During all of this my son told me “Mom, you are saying “Crap” a lot.” I told him I was just feeling frustrated and mentally was thinking that there could have been worse things to say.
At this point (thankfully still no lice) part of my brain is thinking the easiest course of action might just be to shave everyone’s head bald, purchase some new clothes and switch into them while bagging up the old stuff, and then moving into a hotel for two weeks.
Realizing that may be a bit extreme since we hadn’t found any lice (I won’t admit to it being extreme if we did have lice) we set to bagging up stuff in big black garbage bags. Where it will sit for the next two weeks. We changed bedding, pick up stuffed toys, bought new brushes, vacuum, etc. I did some research on the internet quickly to figure out if there was anything else to do and found out that basically we are doing all that we can do.
Update: Here it is three weeks later and thankfully no one ended up with lice. I am currently going through and washing the bags of toys and laundry that were sitting in the plastic for the last several weeks. I don’t know how we managed it; knock on wood, cross your fingers, etc., but we didn’t have to go through the process of shampooing and combing and gelling, etc. I hope that we never have to go through that again, let alone the process, if lice is found. So my thoughts are with all of you who have had to deal with it.
Update Two: Months later, we are still all good. :)
I love spending time with my family doing all the wonderful activities in the Inland Northwest.