Monday, September 21, 2009

Heads Up

Last night I was exhausted and wanted to get to bed right after the kids. So, once they were both bathed and tucked in, I jumped in for a hot shower and hair wash session. I got out ready to dry my hair, and hit the sack. But the babe was still awake (we had let her have an extremely long nap in the afternoon...woops). She called me in and I obliged. I told her to lie down and I'd come in and check on her after I dried my hair. She agreed to the deal.

As you may have guessed, she was still awake when I was done, so I went in and read her the Itsy Bitsy Spider (well, I sang it). I went downstairs hoping she'd fall asleep quickly. She didn't.

I gave up and went up to bed as it was after 9pm and I really just needed to sleep. So I lay my head down while my husband went to check on the babe. Ahhhh...yummy bed, I thought to myself.

But then I heard my name. My husband called me in to the babe's room and said that she was scratching at her head and complaining her head was itchy. My heart started to beat very fast. We had just received an email from the preschool that there was one confirmed case of head lice (subject line: Heads Up on Head Lice). Oh my. Many thoughts started racing through my head. I am just not ready to deal with this yet. Gross. I am too tired. Please make this go away.

Very calmly and thoroughly, my husband and I looked through the babe's curly mane with a flash light. We spent a very solid amount of time inspecting her hair and scalp and we saw nothing. I put some cream on her head telling her it was medicine and she immediately said she felt better and fell asleep. I went back to bed but had a pretty hard time falling to sleep. Visions of lice infestation were dancing in my head.

Today I went to the drug store after dropping the babe off at the preschool and picked up the complete lice elimination kit. At $27.99, it ain't cheap, but I want to be prepared for if/when it happens. I also bought a new hair brush for myself and am no longer going to share brushes or hair elastics with the babe. Strangely enough, my husband said he and his sister never got lice in school. I however, can remember some unpleasant incidents in my home.

I suppose as a parent I will encounter some really gross things. I hate to say it, but I preferred dealing with poop in the babe's panties on Saturday to dealing with the fear of lice on Sunday!

Thanks to the babe's preschool, here's some facts about head lice

Anyone can get head lice. Lice are tiny insects the size of sesame seeds that live on the scalp and are barely visible to the human eye. They do not live on pets. Head lice can survive on the scalp for a couple of days. They lay eggs, which hatch in 7 to 10 days. Head lice are extremely contagious and are transmitted through direct contact with an infested person or contact with infected items (combs, hats, rugs, stuffed animals.) Lice can’t fly and they don’t jump, so the only way to get them is through direct contact.

The most common sign of lice infestation is itching. If you notice your child scratching his/her head frequently, you should check for head lice. Head lice may be hard to locate because they move quickly and shy away from light. Close inspection of the hair and scalp will sometimes reveal the adult lice but you are more likely to see the lice eggs, which are called nits. Nits look like small white or yellowish brown specks attached to the hair near the scalp. They are attached with a glue like substance and cannot be rinsed off or blown away from the scalp.

Infestation is easy to control if treated immediately and thoroughly with a special medicated shampoo. The medication will kill the lice and nits if used properly. All instructions on the package must be followed carefully. After use, all the dead eggs (nits) must be removed. This is a very time consuming process but it is extremely important. Some products come with a special nit comb for removal of eggs.

In addition to shampooing, the following procedures must be diligently followed:

1. Call your doctor for a recommended treatment, and follow the manufacturers instructions completely.
2. Be sure to remove all nits using a special nit comb.
3. All clothing and all bedding must be washed in hot water (desired temperature of 130 degrees and dried in a hot dryer.)
4. Combs, brushes, barrettes, headbands, or other hair ornaments should be soaked in hot water (130 degrees) for 5 to 10 minutes or sealed tightly in a plastic bag for 30 days.
5. Wash all bed linens, blankets, bedspreads, pillows, and pillow cases (if they cannot be washed put them in a hot dryer for 30 minutes or seal in plastic bag for 30 days.) Wash all coats, jackets, sweaters, hats, scarves, hoods, etc. and dry in a hot dryer.
6. Wash and dry all towels and bathroom mats.
7. Vacuum carpets, upholstered furniture, and mattresses thoroughly and discard vacuum cleaner bag.
8. Vacuum all automobile upholstery and car seats and discard the vacuum bag.
9. Place stuffed animals and cloth toys in a hot dryer for 30 minutes or seal in a plastic bag for 30 days.
10. Don’t forget about headphones, baseball caps, bicycle helmets or any other objects that may have been exposed.
11. Continue to check your child daily for 14 days to ensure that the head lice and their eggs have been eliminated. If signs of lice reappear, it may be necessary to repeat the treatment – check with your doctor.
12. Check the entire family for head lice and treat all those infected. Remember that one remaining nit that hatches will soon lay eggs and you’ll have to go through the entire procedure again.

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Anonymous said...

So not fun!!! I remember my hair being chopped because of those pesky things.. Hope it turned out okay. S.