Having a lousy time

I had wanted to start tackling some of the big issues facing me as a 40-year-old, but as it turns out some of the smaller issues that are facing  me as a mother seem to be a bit all-consuming at the moment.  I think what I’m writing about today is pretty taboo in some circles and can be described as a big deal if you have young children.  I’m talking about head lice.

The reason I say it’s pretty taboo is because I’ve been googling the subject A LOT recently looking for advice and help on how to eradicate the buggers from my household.  You see, it’s very new to me.  My daughter got head lice (and nits) from someone at ballet (the mum in question removed her from the class the minute she discovered them) and ever since then we’ve been facing an uphill battle to get rid of them.  What’s interesting in that all of my googling I have only found a handful of forum posts about the subject, a few write ups on medical or family orientated websites but barely any blogs on the subject.  I’m sure they are out there somewhere. I really needed some help.  I’ve been googling.

Effective lice treatments, nits on long hair, removal of nits on own long hair, effectiveness of nit treatment.  – that sort of thing.

You see, it’s not just my daughter who is infected. I am as well!!  Big confession for me.  When my daughter first got it, I immediately went out and bought Lyclear spray.  I followed the instruction, sprayed her entire head. Left it in for the allotted time and then shampooed it out.  Well I tried to shampoo it out, she had greasy hair for about 3 hair washes before it was gone completely.  I then used the provided lice comb and went through her entire head.  I changed her bedding (although apparently this isn’t necessary). Job done?  I thought so.  Then I got a bit suspicious a week later when she didn’t stop scratching her head. I’d told friends and family it was all gone, everything was fine.  However when they popped up again, I was too embarrassed to mention it, so hence the cloak and dagger approach came into force.

So I went and got a new treatment from the chemist.   I double bagged it in my lunch break and smuggled it into my handbag at work.  I got Lyclear crème this time (double bottle) and then when I got home I checked my son and my husband with a lice comb.  Both showed they had small lice, so we spent the next 2 hours using the treatment ( shampoo, add crème, wait 10 minutes, wash out, lice comb).  I hadn’t found any on me but I had the treatment too, just in case.  Job done, huh?  Not bloody likely.

Around about this time I had my highlights done and then used a new shampoo and conditioner.  Within days my head felt on fire and I couldn’t stop itching it.  I ran a nit comb through it and found nothing so just assumed I’d had a bad reaction to the highlights, shampoo or both.  So I went and bought some shampoo to calm it all down. Used it. It didn’t really work.  Then one day at work I was scratching my head and my nail caught on something bug like.  OMG – there it was in all it’s prehistoric glory………I had head lice.

I was soooo embarrassed.  All my work colleagues knew I had an itchy head and had offered various options to help me and there I was, in their midst with a head full of lice. So another cloak and dagger trip to Boots (further away from the office than the first) and I purchased an overnight treatment by Hedrin.  As soon as I got home I put the new treatment into action. Left it in overnight and washed it out the next morning.  My head felt better.  I then went and bought another bottle (I have really long thick hair) ready to use in 7 days time, just like they said.  So I diligently did it again, just like before.  In the meantime we had house guests and whilst waiting for them to turn up I used the Nitty Gritty comb (a new purchase, recommended to me by @melr94) on my daughter as I’d decided I didn’t want to put any more treatments on her hair.  Nothing showed up on the comb and I joked with the guests that I was just making sure she was nit free before they arrived and it was all ok.

During this time, my daughter got chickenpox.  She got a lot of spots on her head and these were obviously itchy as they were popping up and as the scabs started coming off.  I decided I’d try and remove some of these that were stuck in her hair and just to be on the safe side I decided to give her hair a once over with the nitty gritty. So I stuck a tonne of conditioner on her head and did it, in secret, in our bedroom because our house guests had returned again and I didn’t want to raise any suspicion.  Immediately I found a bugger.  Then another, then another.  All at various stages of life. I was soooo disappointed.  So I worked hard with the comb removing as much as I could.  The next morning I tried to do my own hair the same way.  With such thick, long hair, it was really hard to do. In the end I leant over in the shower and brushed my hair from the back of my head to the roots with the tangle teezer and then attempted to use the nitty gritty.  BANG – a louse.   The another.  OMG, what is the problem with us, why can’t I get these buggers?  Of course the comb kept getting stuck, I was in an uncomfortable position for at least an hour (my legs started getting pins and needles) and I wasn’t entirely sure I could do it properly.  However, my husband had tried to do it previously and was useless, so I had no choice.

So that night (last night) I did my daughters hair again. I was a bit better at it this time and managed to get a similar haul of louse that I’d got the previous night.  All done in my bedroom under the illusion of removing pox scabs. Still being secretive to my guests.  I can’t do it again tonight as she is off staying with her grandparents and will get back later on Tuesday, so I will have to do it again on Wednesday and will continue to do it until we get nothing at all.

As for me.  Well I intend to do the same in the shower again tonight in an attempt to eradicate the buggers from my head.  Clearly all the treatments available to us have done nothing, have left one of us with something remaining and we’ve just reinfected each other all over again.  I’m exhausted with the friggin combing and I’m started to see the benefit of shaving my head.

Of course, I’m not telling anyone (well, except you). I can’t.  I’m too embarrassed to admit that we are all nit infested still.  Since re-discovering my daughters she hasn’t yet been back to nursery, so I’ll hopefully get my final comb in before she does.  I checked my son’s head yesterday and he appears to be nit free and my husband used the comb in the shower yesterday and said he got nothing.  How long do I keep doing this before they’re all gone?

What has worked in your house?  Any tips or suggestions for me?

PS: Hubby just texted to say he got about 15 out of my daughter’s hair via dry combing. How could I have missed them?

Added 27/08/12:  Just wanted to let you all know what worked for me and my family.  Out of all the bottles, shampoos, sprays – in the end it was wet combing.  There is no surprise that the companies who do these bottles recommend running a nit comb through afterwards, because it will never kill every louse and egg.  For me, if I have to go through the pain of wet combing, why spend upwards of £15, when I could just do it for a kick off.  I bought a nitty gritty comb and for my daughter I did 2 wet combs (tonnes of conditioner on the hair, section off and clip and work through each section). I also did dry combing every day for about 10 days during this, which did result in a few being found.  For me, I did get hubby to do 1 wet comb, but it was traumatic, painful and we shouted at each other a bit.  He didn’t find any.  In the end, I dry combed with the nitty gritty with my head over the bath and being able to see what came out.  I would brush with the tangle teezer and then the nitty gritty every day, switching to every 2nd day when I had a clear day.  WE ARE ALL NIT FREE after about 12 days.  HOORAH.



About freefallinginto40

I am 40 years old. I blog about how I'm coping with my "new" age at www.freefallinginto.com . I'm a married mother to two after years of infertility. I have a 6 year old called Pickle and a 3 year old called The Monster. I work 4 days a week. We are also planning a move to the country! I blog about that at www.ourmovetothecountry.wordpress.com
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4 Responses to Having a lousy time

  1. I know exactly what you mean. My daughter & I have both got long thick hair & getting through it with a nit comb is a nightmare. The best reatment I have used is called ‘full marks’. It’s a liquid you rub in to dry hair. It sort of acts as a conditioner. After about 10 – 15 mins comb the hair through with a normal comb then do it with a nit comb. Then wash hair I then go through our hair each night with a nit comb, using conditioner if I have to. My daughter hates it & I find it a nightmare doing my own. After 4-5 days if they’ve more or less vanished I leave it a couple of days. Score using the nit comb again. If I still find some then we do the treatment again after a week. Since we’ve used that treatment I’ve never had to use it more than twice. But I do remember one summer where we were exactly like you, going round & round in circles. Good luck I hope you get rid of the little critters

  2. Pink chick says:

    Oh dear – now feeling rather disheartened. Ordered a nitty gritty comb just this morning in the hope that will solve our problems and we can remember summer 2012 for the olympics and not the war against head lice!! Will be trying all other tips if comb fails. Good luck.

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