It all started on Fourth of July weekend. The little creeps came aboard my daughter’s head, as well as mine. They were frolicking in our tresses and running around foraging for food among the “trees” and sometimes holding on for dear life when a flood of soapy water came rushing through. We itched, we scratched. We tried a variety of methods and nothing seemed to work. But we were persistent and something finally did!
I hesitated to write about how to get rid of lice because even though it’s been well over a month since we’ve witnessed any itching, I still get nervous. We had those suckers for two months!
My only other experience with lice was when I had them in the third grade. My mom shampooed and combed and combed and shampooed and it was awful. And they came back. We ended up at the Hair Cuttery getting all my hair chopped off. I didn’t want to go through that again, nor did I want my daughter to go through that either. So I was determined to get rid of these things. And when I say “determined” I mean that I gave a half-assed effort for the first month until I was at my wits end and finally went all in. This is why it took over two months to get rid of those suckers.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK:
RID (we got the generic brand because I’m cheap) Shampoo kit, including a plastic fine-toothed comb. That stuff was gross and chemically and stunk and felt like we were poisoning ourselves by using it. And then the next few days I only ever found live lice on our heads. It didn’t kill anything. It didn’t work.
Daily combings with the fine-toothed comb for a week, then being so sick of combing that I decided we were done since I wasn’t seeing any critters nor their eggs showing up on the comb. But OH, they were still there. So one measly week of combings didn’t work.
Cleaning all bed linens in hot water. That probably killed them off, but I only did it one time and put everything back on the beds after the shampooing. So that didn’t work.
WHAT DID WORK:
I bought The Terminator, based on a few Facebook recommendations. I had to order it online. It’s a metal fine-toothed comb.
Each prong looks like a drill bit and when you drag it through the hair, it picks up critters and nits that the plastic fine-toothed comb misses. I should be getting paid to talk about this thing.
I used The Terminator (and some detangler) every day for two weeks. The first week I combed through inch-by-inch and pinned up each chunk of combed-through hair to separate it from the not-yet-combed-through hair. For the first two days, I did this twice per day. After each run through the hair, I wiped the comb on a tissue so I wouldn’t put any lice or nits back on my daughter’s head. After a few wipes, I grabbed a new tissue and put the used tissue in a Ziploc bag that I would later seal and put in the trash.
During week two (when I wasn’t seeing any crawlers), I alternated between combing through in one-inch chunks and just doing a full comb-thru multiple times without pinning. I made sure to do a thorough comb-through around the ears, base of her neck and crown of her head.
By week three, I was only doing comb-throughs and only every two days, then three days, then once a week, only reducing frequency if I witnessed no scratching. (Tip: The pin-up combing took us about 30 minutes each time. I let my daughter indulge in watching the iPad propped up on the bathroom sink during this time. She actually looked forward to these combings.)
In addition to the combings, I moved all bed linens and stuffed animals out of my daughter’s room for a month. (She missed her stuff animals. They stayed outside her room on the hardwood floor.) I allowed one sheet to sleep on, one pillow and one blanket. We changed those at least weekly, except for the pillowcase which we changed every night for a month.
One thing to note is that my daughter has shiny, straight, black hair. It’s easy to comb through. Not sure how The Terminator would work on more coarse or curly hair, but the detangler helped and is a must for any combings. Another thing to note is that most of this happened in the summer when few kids were around. During the school year, I would have combed even more frequently.
All of this was a total pain in the butt. Which I now see is why people run when they hear that someone has lice. No thank you!
To sum up: 1) Buy The Terminator, 2) Do daily combings for at least two weeks, tapering off frequency gradually, but continue more often if during school year, 3) Wash all clothes and linens and minimize contact with linens and stuffed animals and change pillowcase every night.
So now we’re lice free. Hopefully!
What’s been your experience with lice? What finally got rid of it?