>> Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Shakespeare asked: I have a question. What should one do about a lice infestation? Should one use Rid? Olive Oil? Should I just shave everyone's head? Does blow-drying work? I'm a bit panicky here, but I wanted to know what you know or could find out about this.
Sometimes we have to take questions out of order because of the urgency. Lice manifestations qualify. It's enough to freak out any parent. I've been very lucky. I've never had an infestation personally (though I know that sympathetic head itching thing) and, with three children, I've only one infestation with my children, back when my eldest was in day care.
The problem with telling you what I did is that it's confusing. My ex went straight to the lice shampoo and seriously went into panic mode. Those that know him and his rampant hypochondria likely have no problem imagining his freaking. Rather than do double-duty on the cancer causing, often marginally effective lice shampoo, I opted for the lice comb. The first night, I pulled off considerable nits, the second day, only one or two. After the second day, I never saw another sign of lice on Stephanie's head. Her bedding was thoroughly washed in bleach as was her clothing. My ex did the second round of lice shampoo.
To date, there's been no sign of cancer or recurrence. Now, there's several schools of thought, including the one that chemical stuff doesn't work, is dangerous and you should only go with the comb. However, there's at least some evidence that the comb often doesn't cut it. However, the comb doesn't hurt and, here's the thing, if you use any suggested method, combing is a good way to help ensure it's all gone. It should not take hours. The recommended length of time is 10 or so minutes (per head) and I doubt you'd need more than 20. I had a dish of soapy water to rinse the comb in and my daughter had and has very thck hair. Wikipedia lists some steps here.
Several suggested treatments as well as some that are not recommended (like cutting off all your children's hair, gasoline, kerosene, oil, vinegar, hair dyes or bleaches, garlic and Vitamin B) are listed on Wikipedia.
The bad news is that diligence is required to really eradicate lice, even under the best of circumstances. The good news is that it's not an insoluble problem.