Friday, September 5, 2008

Creepy Crawlies

Well, it finally happened. After years of dodging bullet after bullet, the Sneathen's finally came down with the L word. Only parents of elementary school kids, would think of the the L word as the dreaded lice. Zachary, my poor unfortunate child, REALLY came down with it. I thought I was diligently checking since a neighbor's family had it. Ok, maybe not diligently, but I was checking. Todd said he was too. Zach was itching some, yes. But you would think with what we eventually found in there he would have been screaming from the rooftops. So Labor Day night after his shower I was drying his hair and looked and saw actual bugs crawling around. My body and brain immediately went into overdrive and started itching. Now when you are a hypocondriac like myself as soon as someone says the word lice I am scratching my head and asking Todd to check me.

My next thought was that we had just been to two separate houses on two days with parties full of kids. Oye. I am so kicked out of the 'hood! Plus Zach had spent most of the last week a boys house 3 doors down who was starting his first day of kindergarten the next day. I pretty much started sobbing just thinking of calling these people.

But back to poor Zachary. We ran out to the drugstore to buy a lice treatment immediately. (again, by we I mean Todd). So after washing my 8 year olds head in a neuro toxin (not easy to do when your other child is not neurotypical), picking through his hair for hours and starting the endless process of washing everything in your house in hot water and drying it within an inch of it's life. By then it was about 1:30 am. Todd fell asleep and so did I for exactly 90 minutes. Then I woke up to stomach cramps (due to complete panic) and was up the rest of the night praying that Daniel wouldn't get it. How do you treat someone who will barely let you wash his hair? Of course by this time I was worked into a total frenzy thinking I was covered in bugs. Zachary was upset because he would be missing the 1st day of 3rd grade. Daniel was wonderfully oblivious to the whole thing.

Tuesday I was calling my Dr. trying to get my head checked and get a prescription for Ovide, recommended by my neighbors who used it and swore by it. But talking about neuro toxin! So by Tuesday night, after spending about 5 hours thus far nit picking (now I know where that saying comes from) I was still finding very tiny newly hatched live lice 24 hours after initial treatment. NOT GOOD. So I said "Zach, how do you feel about a hair cut?", his response, "whatever it takes mom". So my child who has the most beautiful hair on a boy. It gets auburn highlights in the summer, he had a great cut. I brought him onto our deck at 9:00pm, in the dark, with one spotlight on him, and proceeded to cut. All the live lice were in the longest part of his hair. It had to be done. This is one of my best decisions to date. After another exhausting day I called the pediatrician (for the second time) and chatted (ok begged) for something else to do. My neighbor Alice had a suggestion of the "Cetaphyl treatment". Whatever, I'll try it. I got the supplies, went back to the deck (it's messy) and got to work. It's quite a treatment, but it is not a neuro toxin and if you try it, follow each and every direction and don't think, oh I don't need to do that, I'll just massage it in. Nope do it all. see We went from, I am not exaggerating, maybe a thousand eggs, to about 20 that night and no live lice. From Cetaphyl. It was a miracle. We are still checking him twice a day and using the nit comb. As well as checking Daniel with the comb every day. I did give Daniel the otc treatment, but I don't think it works. I was just impressed with myself that I got him to use the shampoo! Todd used the otc and the prescription. Yesterday combing with the nit comb I found some in my hair. (after the Dr said I had none). I used the prescription on me. You leave it on for 8 or more hours. So I'm walking around looking like I don't know what and had to go to the school. So sad.

So here I am, 4 days later, my washer and dryer have never stopped. I am still thinking of things I need to clean. Everyone's at school, but we are still picking through hair twice a day. What a way to start the school year. None of the neighbors have found anything yet. Not that I've heard of anyway. But then again, maybe no one is talking to me!


Angie's All About Parasites said...

Hi Michelle,

What an eventful week you are having! :-) I can sympathize with the itching. I just have to think the word "lice" and I start.

I recently did a whole lot of research on head lice and discovered a few natural remedies that do the trick. The easiest and safest one is, believe it or not, olive oil.

Using the olive oil is the same principle as the method you used. You are smothering the lice. You don't have to blow dry the head with this method, but you do need to leave it on for at least 8 hours, too.

The trouble is, if you wash it out too soon, the little buggers are able to revive themselves!

Also, it is important that you go ahead and repeat the process on a correct schedule so that you kill any missed eggs/nits that might have hatched.

Hope this helps you and your friends avoid the drama and panic that the dreaded lice inevitably causes. For exact details, you can view the instructions at

By the way, the otc products are becoming less and less effective because the lice have developed a resistance to it.


Michelle S. said...

I was going to do this, then opted for the Cetaphil. Once the Cetaphil is dry your hair looks normal, unlike witht the oil, which is hard to get out. My neighbor described it as having the "gel look" for several days after. I agree the otc's are ineffective, as with a lot of things the resistance is getting too strong. Thanks for the input.

Angie's All About Parasites said...

I guess you're right that the olive oil is more messy. To get it out easier, a degreasing soap like Dawn dish soap is a good option.

Cetaphil may be harder for some people to find, depending on what country they live in, so it's good to have a safe reliable option.

The other good thing about olive oil is that the lice aren't able to build up a tolerance or resistance to suffocation. ;-)