No matter where you live or what school your kids go to, I guarantee there is lice in their school. Even if it is not in their classroom, yet, it's on the playground, in the lunchroom, and at their afterschool program. The schools are no longer doing healthy head checks on a regular basis. So - it's all on you, moms and dads. And unless you all get it under control, it is going to continue to go around and around.
I've discovered that the medicated shampoo sucks. It does nothing. BUT - I've also discovered that Coconut Oil is the miracle cure. Seriously. It dissolves the lice and even most of the nits, making clean up much easier and repeats more infrequent.
So, you need to check your kids head. If you don't know what it looks like, look it up. If they have it, believe me, it won't take you long to find it, once you know what you are looking for.
If they do have it - here is your guide to getting rid of it the first time. Believe me, if you mess this up, you'll be repeating these steps within ten days.
1. Put your kid in a fresh pair of pjs. Go to the bathroom. Take a bottle of coconut oil, and massage clumps in your hand until it is liquid. Completely saturate every strand of hair with the oil. Seriously, lube it up. Cover the head with a shower cap and leave it on until morning. Added bonus - the smell of the coconuts will get on the child's pillow, and it is a deterrent, minimizing the risk of lice crawling back in there.
2. Get your vacuum and start in the child's bedroom. Bag up stuffed animals and Barbie dolls to be put away for a while. Strip the bed and vacuum the mattress. Vacuum the floors, wash the blinds and the furniture, get some new bedding on there and send the kid to bed.
3. Do the same with all floors and surfaces in the house. Put anything you can in the wash, and dry it for at least a half an hour. Don't forget jackets, scarves, hats, backpacks, lunch bags. Vacuum couches, and pick a chair for the child to own for a week. Put a clean fitted single sheet over the chair and call it the child's throne. Don't let them in bedrooms, besides their own, if possible. Think about all the places the child has been, and that you have been during your clean up. Make sure you change your clothes a lot as well.
4. In the morning, wash the child's hair. You won't get all the grease out, but that's a good thing. The smell is a deterrent, and the grease will help French braid their hair, the hair style the kid now has to have forever and ever. If you did a good job with the oil, there should be no living thing in the hair. You'll likely find some nits, but not nearly as many as were there. Use your finger nail to put out any remaining nits. Remember, the better job you do with this step, the less likely another cycle of lice will develop.
5. Buy a shampoo with tea tree oil. You can use tea tree oil around the hair line until you get some. Advise your child not to hug their friends, not to share clothes or outer wear, and to be cognisant of where they put their outerwear at school - to keep it separate from the outerwear of others as much as possible. Our school has advised putting hats and mitts in sleeves, I've seen other schools with containers for each child to put these in. If something is lost - abandon it or get it from the lost and found yourself with a plastic bag. Girls like to play with each other's hair, especially when there are in line. Advise your child not to participate in this. Lice has changed me, it used to make me happy to see little children hugging and laughing with their hair free and dangling... now I get the heebie jeebies.
6. Buy many different interesting and colorful hair clips. Tell your child to get used to how they look with their hair up, and never wear it down to school ever again. Seriously. Most girls I've seen in the schools wear their hair long and loose - a real lice magnet.
7. Sleepovers. Sigh, so fun, but also so great for the transfer of lice...
8. Think about all the other places you go that people have laid their head... the movie theatre seats, the hats and hair accessories at stores, the bus, the passenger seat of a car or cab... I'm sure you can come up with more. Also, indoor activity centres and day cares - think about nap time! Ick I can't think about it anymore. Oh - helmet rentals!
9. When you do find out you have it, please call everyone you know and tell them. If not, all you are doing is opening yourself up to dealing with it over and over, because your child not only got it from somewhere, but how long did they have it that you didn't know, and who did they give it to? Beg the school to let everyone know that lice was found on a student - they won't give your child's name, and hopefully the parents will all check their kids. I know it can suck to have to say "my kid has lice, and sorry, but she was at your house for a play date yesterday, so you gotta' clean too" but believe me, the parent would rather know sooner than find it later when it's an even bigger mess.