Tuesday, January 20, 2009

the not so good Monday

I was hesitant to post about this because, even thought I know it's not true, I feel like we are the only people who have ever had this & it means we are not a hygienically acceptable family, but here goes. (whispering) we have lice. I would like to post about this not only so that we can have laughter in this not so funny time, but also to offer some words of advice to anyone that this may happen to in the future.

I bought a 3-step lice ridding kit: step 1 - lice killing shampoo, step 2 - lice & egg comb-out gel with comb, step 3 - home lice control spray. We started the delousing process by having the girls wash their hair with the lice killing shampoo (step 1) - you apply thoroughly to dry hair, let it sit for 10 minutes, then lather & rinse it out. Then onto step 2 - I found a place with good light which in our house is our desk lamp. I sat in the desk chair & had Zoe sit on a pillow on the floor. She has thick hair like her mommy so I knew she would be the hardest so I wanted to get her out of the way 1st. I separated a small piece of hair out, coated it with the gel, & proceeded to comb through it with the little plastic comb that came in the kit. Guess what I began to notice at this point - THE LICE ARE NOT DEAD! So step 1 was pretty much a waste of time & money - we found out during some reading on the Internet that the lice are becoming resistant to the pesticides in the shampoo! That's OK because I was determined to make step 2 work. By the way, Theo did step 3 during this time, washing the kids bedding & spraying their beds, pillows, etc. I look at my comb & all that is on there is the gel that I put in her hair. So I go on to another strand & I can see a louse (I guess that's the singular form of lice). So I comb through that strand, but cannot seem to get the little guy onto the comb. I keep working for several minutes & finally get it - YEA! one down, one million to go. I go to put it in a plastic baggie, since this is how the kit suggested we do so we can throw them out, but I can't get it off the comb. I tried using a tissue, but Theo brought me a brush that I used to finally get it off the comb & into the bag. So now after maybe 10 minutes I have 1 louse in the bag. Still OK because now I've gotten some practice & it's going to go faster! I repeat this for several more strands & was going a little faster & had about 4-5 lice in the bag. Then I noticed a louse on the strands I've already done. This is when I began to LOSE IT! (Theo says I had already lost it at this point). Theo found a video on the Internet with instructions on how to comb the lice out of the hair - it had a few good points, one thing I noticed was they were using a metal comb instead of a plastic comb, so Theo went to the store to see if they had any different combs (& to pick up McDonald's because I sure the heck was not going to make dinner tonight)! While he was gone, I continued the combing out process & by the time he got back I had like a dozen lice in the bag! We took a break to eat, but I was feeling a little nauseous from looking a crawling lice so I didn't eat too much.
PhotobucketAt the store, Theo did find a comb kit Acu-Life Ultimate Lice Comb. It has 2 sizes of metal combs that you can interchange on a handle with a magnifying glass on it, tweezers, & a brush. He also bought some hair clips to separate the hair. I tried the metal comb on Zoe's hair & it definitely worked better. It actually got more than 1 lice at a time with the eggs - hooray & the clips worked great too! We also tried another thing they did on the video which was to use a cup of hot water to dip the brush in to get the lice off. It worked better than the Kleenex-plastic bag plan. Theo also decided to try brushing through Kalli's hair with the long brush & see what he got, no separating into strands or clipping. He got tons of lice out of her hair after brushing through it several times. So we decided to try that on Zoe's hair, while I did the separating, combing, & clipping routine on Kalli's hair to make sure to get the rest. We had also seen on the video to use olive or vegetable oil to coat the hair (instead of the gel), we tried olive oil which worked so much better! I decided to use the smaller comb to comb through Kalli's hair. There were only 2 lice left on her hair after Theo combed through it. Some nits, but no more lice jumping back onto the parts I had already done. Theo also tried heating the water to boiling in the microwave with a little soap to cut the olive oil, which made it easier to get the lice & nits off the comb & kill the lice. We had finally found a plan that worked after more than 2 hours of trial & error, it was almost the kids bedtime but it was definitely moving faster now. Kalli is completely done after a mere 30 minutes. Then I did Zoe, which took a little longer because she has so much more hair, but to my pleasant surprise there were no live lice left in her hair! Theo did Tad's because Theo had already shaved his head down to 1 inch long to try to make it easier. Next we had to wash out the olive oil. Last we put bedding back on beds & tucked them in hopefully lice free.
Now we had to do Sophie, mom, & dad. Luckily Sophie thought what I had been doing to the girls looked pretty interesting, so she didn't fight us too much. 1 of us entertained her while the other 1 combed & then we switched. She didn't have too many lice in her hair so it was easy. Theo did mine & I only had a few, then Theo only had a couple - WE WERE DONE!
I should have taken pictures of our adventures, but I was too stressed out to think of it.

Now to summarize what worked for us:


  • lice-killing shampoo
  • metal lice comb, 2 sizes preferred
  • olive oil
  • cup of hot water, with a small amount of dish soap
  • Kleenex or towel
  • hair clips or bobby pins
  • plastic Ziploc bags (optional)
  • home lice control spray


  • even thought it didn't seem to work, I still recommend using some kind of lice-killing shampoo to start - you can only use this once then repeat in 7-10 days
  • coat the hair at the scalp with olive oil, as you comb through the hair it will bring the oil down to the ends of the hair
  • comb through the hair several time with the long comb to get the bulk of the lice out, dip the comb in warm water, then wipe the comb on a Kleenex or towel
  • in a bright lighted environment, separate the hair into small portions approximately the size of the comb, comb through the hair, dip the comb in warm water them wipe it on a Kleenex or towel, clip or pin the hair out of the way
  • shampoo the hair twice to wash out the olive oil
  • wash all bed linens & recently worn clothing
  • spray any bedding that can't be washed, pillows, mattresses, furniture, etc.
  • wash all lice removal equipment in hot water or soak in cup of hot water & dispose of any Kleenexes or disposable cups in plastic bags or outside trash can
  • check affected family members daily, if any lice or nits seen repeat above steps excluding the 1st step

Hope this is helpful to someone! Have a great lice-free day!


Christie said...

Oh, bless your heart. I so do NOT look forward to having to do this. Sorry to hear about your ordeal. Hope all are better soon.

Liz said...

Unfortunately, we've had to deal with lice nearly a dozen times over the past 8 years that we've had kids in school. Lice is SUCH a battle when you have to deal with it. Trust me, you will NOT want to wait the full 7 days to re-treat the kids' heads. With ALL of mine, we recheck their heads (combing & pulling off the nits & live bugs with our fingernails) 2 or 3 times per DAY and then if I see that there are live bugs at any point through the week, I reshampoo them immediately w/ the nice chemically stuff. Also, don't forget to do the pillows, stuffed animals, carpets, upholstered furniture, car upholstery, seatbelt straps...everything "soft" in the house/car has to be treated. It is SUCH a pain in the neck & costs us a good $50-60 every time one of the kids gets it. And there have been a few times that, EVEN WITH DOING ALL THAT, we continued to find 1 or 2 live bugs on their heads weeks after & would have to start the whole process over. And of course, if the kid they caught it from is unaware they have it or isn't being properly treated, they get it over & over & over. I want to cry for you b/c I know the hassle & torture that is headlice. I'd come give you a hug, but I've been sick & you've had lice at your house....so how about a nice cyber hug? Tee hee! Love ya girl!

Jerri said...

Oh, man! With 4 kids in my house also, this has always been a big fear of mine. Did you know that lice DO NOT like oily hair (they like clean hair, so I do not make my kids wash their hair as often as they bathe, maybe that sounds bad - but I would rather have clean bodies with a little dirty hair and no lice! The nits do not stick well to oily hair, that is why your olive oil worked so well. God forbid we ever get them, I am calling you!!!!!!