Picture this: you are off on a trip with your family. Money has been spent on hotels. You're not in a familiar environment, and the kids are hyped up on excitement.
The first morning of your trip, you go to brush your daughter's hair and notice something strange; something dark and suspiciously "bug" looking, crawling through her hair.
This was the scenario we found ourselves in last fall. I hadn't been checking my daughter's head regularly, and the infestation had gotten pretty bad. A quick check on my head revealed that I was also dealing with lice (strangely, my husband and younger daughter never got them).
We found a local pharmacy and purchased the stuff that the pharmacist told us to buy. We treated ourselves, and went to bed with horribly smelly hair. I lay awake for hours in a state of panic. Without the comforts of home, I had no idea how I was going to deal with the lice.
We made it back (and managed to have a little bit of fun) and I started washing everything. I received conflicting advice, that ranged from, "wash only things that come into contact with heads" to "burn the house down." We dealt with lice for SIX weeks before I finally managed to get rid of them for good.
Had I been to see the kind folks at Lice Services Canada, my story might have been different. The original lice removal experts in Ottawa, the staff at Lice Services have a combined experience of over 50 years! I'm positive my infestation would have been over in a shorter amount of time, and with less tears. Lice Services can do checks and removal at their centrally-located offices, or in your own home.
What's more, I wouldn't have used the (probably dangerous) and smelly product on our heads, which destroyed my scalp and caused me months of problems. Lice Services Canada uses only non-pesticide products.
I think one of the main reasons I had such a horrible experience was that I didn't know what the heck I was doing, and I was taking advice from non-experts (including Google). Lice Services Canada has a great "Myths" section on their website, which helps to educate people about lice.
For example, did you know that you don't have to be itchy to have lice? My daughter never once complained her head was itchy until we spotted the little buggers. And although homemade products CAN work (e.g. we tried vegetable oil,) they have to be left on the head for 8 hours. It was a hugely messy process that wasn't really necessary. I just needed to get proficient at removing the nits (or eggs) - something which an expert could have done much more quickly.
March Break is coming up, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but many families will deal with lice after coming into contact with airplane seats, movie theatre seats, and museums or play centres (my kids are never allowed to put on dress-up clothes from these places again)! It's time to think about the possibility of lice, and do regular checks of your children's heads.
Not sure what you're looking at? Snap a picture on your phone, and send it in to Lice Services Canada. They will take a look and give you a free diagnosis! Lice Services also provides screening programs at daycares, schools and camps. I remember all the checks I received as a kid at school, and I'm sure it gave my mother some peace of mind.
Remember that lice are in no way linked to being "dirty." After the common cold, lice seem to be the most communicable affliction among school-aged children. It is likely that your child will one day experience them, and there is NO shame in that!
What's been your experiences with lice? Leave us a comment!
Disclaimer: Lice Services Canada is one of our blog sponsors, and have compensated us for our time. All opinions and stories are our own...although we maybe wish this one particular story had never happened ;)