They are dreaded. They creep you out. They make you consider burning the house down. They are LICE.
We never had lice in our home until about a year ago. My daughter got itchy and it took us several days to realize why. She’s not of the age or in the stage that you’d typically expect lice. And this just came out of nowhere. We still really don’t know how she got it, but let me tell you…those little beasts certainly came and stayed and wore out their welcome.
Of course the realization of lice sent us all into a panic. We washed the sheets and towels, got rid of pillows, and bagged up some items from her room. We bought an OTC treatment and got to work doing “the right things” that you are supposed to do to handle this. She stopped itching and we went on about life. We followed the procedures to retreat a certain number of days later. We continued washing sheets, towels and being vigilant about things. And then after about a week or so, we felt confident we were in the clear.
Except we weren’t. This was only the beginning of a cycle that lasted about 5 months. Yes, that is how long we spent feeling paranoid….washing, itching, scouring the internet for any other treatment we hadn’t tried. Over the course of all this time, we tried a lot of things.
- three over the counter treatments
- a prescription treatment
- Listerine (repeatedly)
- Coconut oil
- Coconut oil shampoo and conditioner
We washed and washed and washed things. We washed hair brushes, got new hair brushes, put hair brushes in the freezer. Two other members of the household got lice that we were able to successfully treat one time and be done with. I don’t understand this except to think that maybe the lice other family members had did not turn into super lice, or maybe it was just because her hair is longer. I really don’t know. But my daughter just could not get rid of this stuff.
She cried tears feeling embarrassed, over all the trouble it was and how much her tender little head hurt through all the process of combing for hours. My daughter was constantly trying to hide it from others and paranoid that someone would see a bug on her. No, she didn’t stay home from school. She also kept her hair up most of the time and we were constantly treating lice any time we saw they were there. But it would have been impossible to keep her home every day that was in question because there were weeks of days.
I told a couple of friends at different points about this situation and that was all. For the most part, it was a lonely and helpless situation. My daughter had long hair and we discussed cutting it. She shuddered at the thought of going to a salon even at a point where we “thought” they were gone. Combing through it was a job that took me easily an hour, if not more. So anytime we did a treatment, the process was very time consuming. It was also time consuming to treat and wash and deal with over and over.
We looked at the services that you pay lots of money to remove lice for you. I couldn’t find any in our area. I could have taken her to a place in the DFW area that would treat her, but there was nowhere close enough to treat our home and so I didn’t know if it would really work.
Finally, at Christmas break when she was out of school, we spent the hours and hours to try a treatment that we hadn’t before. We covered her hair in Cetaphil skin cleanser. The great thing about this stuff is that it doesn’t have any of the harsh chemicals or things that people are concerned about in some of the products for treating lice. First, you have to comb through it to try to get the Cetaphil on each strand of hair. Next, you blow dry the hair. This takes forever. For. Ever. It’s much longer than just drying wet hair. It is critical that you get it totally dry to “trap” the lice. Then, you sleep just like that. Your hair is dry and a little sticky. Basically, you are suffocating the lice. The next day, you wash it out and then comb through with the lice comb.
You have to repeat this process three times. So we did. Literally on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we were doing this stuff. The next week, we took a trip and were out of the house for about a week. We had done Round 2 of this Cetaphil treatment as we were leaving, so I could feel pretty confident we were leaving without lice and that anything in our house would die while we were gone. On our family vacation, we did Round 3 of the treatment. And finally, after MONTHS, the super lice were gone.
We waited for weeks, even months, before we were willing to actually say “the lice are gone”.
I never thought I would find myself dealing with lice for months. It was important to protect my daughter from embarrassment, but it was so hard not to talk openly about this when it got to be such a huge problem. I wonder if there are others out there in the same position.
Below are the procedures for the treatment that actually worked for us. I would love it if it saved someone else from extra weeks of dealing with super lice.