I have a rather insane storage vault of unpublished posts, both for this blog and for my life and love ramblings over at DomAndLori. Some of them are not just unpublished, they are unfinished. But I intend at some point to publish them anyway. Here is the first to come out of the vault:
Let me be honest at the start, here: this is not something I want to be talking about. For the second Christmas holiday in a row, my family is battling head lice. Go ahead and gag now. I’ve made a morning of it, myself.
I truly had hoped that we would be done with all this nonsense once the kids got out of elementary school. Oh, sure, I had seen many a note come home in their backpacks about a lice sighting in their wee years’ classrooms, and I was smugly grateful that it never struck us personally. Until 2012. There we were, minding our own business, settling into the new home, enjoying Christmas and BAM!! We were hit with a one-two punch. Vic and me. E-gad! This is what I get for snuggling my kids? I took roughly five days off of work to deal with 1) the infestation of those little unseen buggers and 2) my personal trauma/embarrassment/failure as a parent. Overdramatic much??
To debunk any misconceptions of the nastiness that surely must exist in my home and on my person, I learned the following during that horrific week of wanting to claw my own eyes out:
- Lice attaches itself better to clean hair. Yes, folks, contrary to popular belief, you do not have to be a filthy person to suffer the injustice of head lice. Clean hair holds the eggs better, so I guess, Yay, we’re clean!
- You don’t just have to share hairbrushes with someone or sleep on their pillow to get head lice. Lice are sneaky, creative travelers and sometimes where it came from and how you got it is only a guess.
- There is a proliferation of chemical-laden treatments on the shelves of our local pharmacies. None of them are natural or holistic, and very few of them are safe for repeated use. Granted, I almost don’t care if it burns my scalp off, I want to use whatever I can as often as I can to make the hell pass more quickly.
Last year as I was confessing the horror to a coworker, she knowingly stated, “It doesn’t matter how natural and against chemicals you are, once you are dealing with head lice, you will practically douse your kids in gasoline just to get rid of it.” Omigosh, having now been through it twice, I can tell you…truer words were never spoken.
For months afterward, any time either of my children itched above the neck they would run to me and blurt, “Check me!!” and I would commence to combing through their hair to make sure they were not infested again. And fortunately, they never were. But there I was this morning, unassumingly stroking my son’s hair as he slouched on the bathroom floor, nauseated from what we would determine four hours later to be the flu. The flu, people. My son is wrestling the flu and I’m thinking out loud, “We need to cut your hair soon, sweetie. Wait a minute, what’s this in your hair? WHAT THE %$#@! IS THAT?!!!!!!!”
But I knew exactly what it was. And I was nearly sick right beside him. Within minutes I was checking the Hubster, my daughter and myself, determining whom to treat and whom to all-out quarantine, practically in tears with the memory of last year. But I sniffed the tears back, grabbed my keys and a ponytail holder and sped off to WalMart at 6:30 in the morning to begin my journey:
Step 1: Drop well over $100 on every kind of lice treatment on the shelf. Throw in some homeopathic cough meds and several packs of Ricola, and hope something gives the kid some relief.
Step 2: Treat every head with gawdawful pesticides while Hubster strips beds down and begins the laundry cycles. I love the Sanitize feature of my washing machine. It’s great for making sure my stuff is clean when we’re dealing with crap like this. Forget that it takes four days to wash two loads. Sheesh!
Step 3: Send text messages to family members whom we have been around during the holidays. Pray that they don’t have it too. This brings up a touchy point: Yes, it is highly embarrassing to admit to someone that you have head lice. I get that. I’ve had it twice now and sharing the news hasn’t gotten any easier. You will feel like a pariah. But hear me on this one thing: You must let others know so that they can treat and/or prevent the malady in their own households. Yes, it sucks to call someone up and say, “Hey, great seeing you the other day! I’m so glad we got to spend those eight hours together! By the way, we have lice, so check your heads.” There’s no easy way to do it. But you have to. And when that person you’ve called is dealing with head lice later, hopefully he or she will remember your honesty and pay it forward.
Step 4: Run to the pediatrician’s office for flu test on a Saturday morning. Thank God they are open on weekends!
Step 5: Take a moment to actually breathe and read the label on the spray can for the furniture. I had forgotten why I didn’t use it last year. Dear goodness. We would have to sit all four of us plus the dogs outside in the cold while the stuff dries on the furniture, then ventilate the cold into the house so that we can once again breathe indoors. Who the hell created this stuff? Monsanto?
Having two dogs and one flu-ridden son prevents me from opening windows and spraying toxic chemicals in my home on a December day. So I took to the Internet, hoping something somewhere would provide some measure of treatment for my furniture and non-washables. Vacuuming, steaming and scrubbing just doesn’t seem like enough. In the five days I took off work last year last year I wiped down, scrubbed and cleaned every surface to the best of my ability. I was exhausted. I’ll do it all over again out of necessity, but I’d like some help.
And so I stumbled upon the Logic Products Group, founded by a mom just like us. She too dealt with the horror of head lice and discovered that there were no natural, safe treatments available. She has remedied that. I ended up on her site because of her household spray, which is reported to be safe for repeated use around pets and people, unlike any of the spray products you will find at the pharmacy. I ordered a bottle straight from her site and another bottle from Amazon with my Prime membership. Unfortunately, I won’t have the product until next week, so I’ll be vacuuming and scrubbing until then. Without the benefit of trying the products yet, I am impressed by what I see on their site. They have general products for the home as well as flea and tick treatment for pets. (Update: I purchased the furniture spray and the lice shampoo. I sprayed everything down and was pleased with the spray, but did not have the opportunity to use the shampoo, as it arrived a week after the trauma had ended.)
The Nourishing Gourmet also wrote a great post on natural treatments of head lice. Neem oil and tea tree oil are top choices for treatment and prevention in her post.
So – quick recap – we have head lice, flu and now (oh joy!) a puking dog. There simply is not enough wine in this house. I seem to recall a bottle of tea tree oil in my bathroom cabinet, so I’m off to mix that into some water and spray on all our heads for good measure. Hey – better than gasoline!