Tuesday morning as I was brushing my four year old, Rachel's, hair, Samuel began messing in my bathroom drawer and pulled out the Robi comb. It made me think about the fact that we haven't done any head checks in quite a while. Being the procrastinator that I am, I didn't intend to do them at that time either, but it was on the brain. I think that is why I took notice of the teeny tiny speck I saw in Rachel's hair as I brushed. It looked just like a nit (louse egg), but I'm thinking that it couldn't be, I just had lice on my mind.. So, I starting looking closer at her head. I found more! I was still having trouble believing it. I kept hunting for a live one. I did eventually find a live baby. Trying to stay calm, I checked everyone else. Not a sign of anything on any other head. Whew!
So, the work began. I did a mayonnaise treatment on Rachel. Mayo works great to kill any live lice on a head. You slather it on thick from scalp to tips and wrap the head in plastic (a shower cap works great). Although the mayo is not toxic, it smothers the lice. They need air to survive. After 8 hours or so, you wash it and the dead bugs out. We found only one dead adult louse when we washed Rachel's hair out. The mayo does not, however, kill the eggs so I spent an hour or so nit-picky her head. I found about a dozen eggs and removed them.
We vacuumed everything in the house: floors, furniture, pillows. I tore apart the younger kids rooms completely. Anything fabric that couldn't be washed in hot water and dried on high got quarantined in plastic bags in the attic. They will stay there for 2 weeks. Lice need heat and human blood to live. I vacuumed, wiped everything. As a bonus, it was a perfect opportunity to completely rearrange the kids' rooms which they had been bugging me to do anyway, but I didn't want to do without cleaning out all the toys.
All bedding along with comforters and extra blankets have been washed hot. This is a lot because we like our extra blankets. They are everywhere and we even have a big trunk FULL of afghans. My washing machine is not fast; its shortest cycle takes 45 minutes. I have been trying to keep right up with switching loads as soon as it is done, but this process is slow. We are also washing all the towels, coats, pajamas and clothes that have been out in circulation the past few days.
Then there are all of the hair things: combs, brushes, rubber-bands, hair pretties... They either need to be boiled for 10 minutes, soaked in rubbing alcohol, or quarantined for 2 weeks. I have been cleaning out every drawer where we keep this stuff.
Needless to say, I have been very busy the past couple of days! There is much to be thankful for in all of this, though. God is good!
- I caught this early and we are not dealing with an infestation affecting the whole house. I believe it was by God's grace that I even looked.
- This happens to be a week without as many outside commitments as normal. We have been able to stay home and deal with this.
- It has forced me to do some much overdue cleaning and organizing. That does feel good!
Hopefully, you won't ever need this info. Gotta go; time to switch the laundry!