Rhymes with Gneiss, but Totally Not

To fully understand my post title, you'll need to think back to the days of Earth Science in school. Gneiss (pronounced - nice) is a type of rock. I've wanted to hide under that rock the past week or so.

You see, Abby complained last Wednesday evening that her head itched. I took a quick glance where she was pointing and didn't see anything. I figured it was just a normal itch. We snuggled in my bed and watched a little TV before I took her to her room to tuck her in a say goodnight. When we got to her room, she complained again about her head itching. She seemed very insistent. I got this horrible feeling of dread and I decided to look a little more closely. After few minutes of looking through her hair, I saw it. I saw a little grayish looking bug scampering across my baby girl's scalp. I immediately hollered (no yelling, I really hollered) for Mike. My dread was confirmed. It looked like our little princess had head lice.

My first reaction was one of horror. Then, I realized I needed to pull it together because I didn't want to upset Abby. We let her go to sleep while we googled lice. Mike headed out to the pharmacy for the OTC treatment. Basically, just pesticide with a fancy comb. We started washing everything in hot water. About 11pm, after thoroughly reading the package information, I woke Abby up and we began a nearly 2 hour process of treating her hair.

This would have been difficult at any time of day, but with a sleepy 6-year-old, it was no walk in the park. We had to make sure nothing got in her eyes, but it had to stay in her hair for 10 minutes, lather, rinse, comb. Comb with no conditioner or detangler. That, alone, was torture. Poor Abby was real trooper through the whole thing. She went back to bed in clean sheets and I crashed a little while later.

As soon as we realized what was going on, we did make a phone call to Abby's teacher. Looking through WCPSS.net, we couldn't find anything about the school's policy on head line. Some schools have a no-nit policy (meaning, there can't be any trace of lice - dead or alive; and not eggs - hatched or unhatched). We found that Wake County requires proof of treatment and they notify the parents in the classroom with a note home.

If you or anyone you know ever gets lice, be kind and notify your school. Yes, it may mean a missed day or two of school, but it's really not fair to anyone else if they are being exposed and have no idea what is going on. A friend's family experienced an infestation months ago...they ended up missing 3 days of school and both girls had to have their heads shaved because they had such a hard time getting rid of them. Had they known the kids had been exposed, they may have been able to treat sooner and avoid all of that.

That same friend offered a suggestion for additional treatment - mayonnaise. Apparently, the fat in the mayo smothers the little buggers. On Saturday morning, Abby began the day by having mayo rubbed throughout her hair. Then, we wrapped her head in Saran Wrap and let it sit for about 6 hours. Bit of advise, invest in a shower cap and some cotton. The mayo begins to separate over time and will start dripping. Sounds gross, I know. But, I will admit, it did seem to smother the ones that were left.

I'm very blessed to have a little girl with a great sense of humor. When we applied the mayo and Saran Wrap, she ran to the bathroom to get a look at herself. "I look like a young lunch lady." She ran upstairs and played in her kitchen for a while, since she already looked the part :-)

The pediatrician also recommended a 1/2 vinegar, 1/2 water solution to help loosen the nits (the little white things, like egg sacs). We did that on Sunday morning.

I'd be lying if I didn't say how much this whole thing freaked me out. I think there is a huge stigma attached to head lice. People tend to assume it's from poor hygiene, unsanitary conditions, etc. But, it's not. From everything I read, the best explanation is head lice = human as flea = dog. Of course, head lice are not known to transmit disease. They are more of a nuisance than anything else. But, they are parasitic creatures that require a human host for survival.

From the moment I discovered Abby's little "friends," I immediately starting feeling itchy all over my body. Yep. Toes, thighs, back, head, arms, you name it. I've been going through her hair nearly every night and we're still washing everything in hot water. Our garage has a garbage bag full of snugglies (stuffed animals) that can't be washed and must remain "in hiding" for about 2 weeks.

I'm not completely certain that we've eradicated every last one, but I have hope. I haven't found anything moving in her hair since Friday. I've found a few deceased ones and hardly any nits. A lot of things I've read indicate the nits aren't viable as they get farther away from the scalp. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed. I'll be applying the second round of the OTC treatment tonight.

Through all of this, we've been careful not to tell Abby that she had lice. Instead, we told her she had bugs in her hair. She immediately wanted to know who gave them to her. Although we couldn't answer that (because we still have no idea), we told her that it's important not to share clothes, hair stuff (bows, clips, combs, brushes), hats, pillows, blankets, etc. with any of her friends. I think this whole experience has been so tramatic, she probably won't break any of those *new* rules.


Sues said...

Oh, no!!!!!!!!!! There have been several outbreaks over the last three years at Will's schools, and my heart always sinks! We've been lucky so far - PRAISE GOD!!! - but one outbreak was so bad, they made the kids put their coats in clean garbage bags as they entered the room, just in case another kid had it (or even just a couple.) ICK! So glad it's about over for y'all!

Phyllis said...

I was in tears on Sunday afternoon because I thought they may have returned...but Mike was kind enough to humor me and take a look. False alarm (we think).

Sues said...

Soooooooo stressful! I would have bawled, too!!!

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