Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The unexpected intruder.....lice!

It was worse than I thought.
When Abby came into our bathroom that morning, I got a better look at her head, and could see multiple big louse scrambling for cover on the top of her head!!
When you see the big know that they've been festering for awhile.
Long enough for the original pest to get in her hair and lay some eggs, and for those eggs to hatch and produce tiny, little bugs.
For information on how long the life cycle of lice are, read here.

I checked our other children and amazingly, found nothing in either the 2 boys, my husband, and Ashlyn.
I found about 4 nits in Lexi's hair.
My husband assured me that he could see nothing in my hair.
(This was an enormous relief to me as I had just gotten home from staying my 96 year old grandmother's apartment and sleeping on her bed, not to mention my daily visits with her in the nursing home!)
I found it astounding that with all the places Abby had been in the house (on sister's beds, in the van, laying on Mommy's pillow, laying on Grandma's bed earlier in the week, on my lap) that more of the household wasn't infested.
God's mercy.

I called our pediatrician for advice as soon as I knew they were open.
I needed confirmation that what I was seeing was what I thought it was!
Instead, he preferred I not bring Abby in, but that we just treat the whole family.
The nurse recommended treating with "Cetaphil: Gentle Skin Cleanser" instead of the very chemically treatments like "Rid" or "Nix."
For information on how this works, read here and here.
I had also heard from a missionary friend of mine that Tea Tree Oil shampoo worked to get rid of lice as well.
So I ran out and stocked up on the Cetaphil, nit combs, and tea tree oil shampoo.
In the meantime, my husband turned himself into the Laundry Monster.
We had the children strip off all the bedding on their beds and he started piling everything into the dryer for 10 minutes, then the washing machine for cleaning.
The piles were enormous.
All the stuffed animals and pillow pets got shoved into air tight garbage bags where they would stay for 2 weeks.
By the time I got back from the stores with our treatments, he had a good start on all that.
These became our best friends for the next 48 hours.

All 8 of us had to be treated and our hair combed through. 
It took me two hours on Abby's hair alone!

I cut Abby and Aryn's hair into cute little bobs!
I think we finally had everyone shampooed and one treatment done by 10 pm that night.
My mother-in-law had also been over for a couple hours to help us with vacuuming, and the other things that still had to go on.  She also took some laundry home with her to do as well!!
On Friday morning, I checked everyone again, and retreated.
This time, I found some live bugs in Aryn's hair and several nits.
Abby had just a few nits, and I found a couple more in Lexi's thick carpet-like red hair!
We treated and shampooed every day until Saturday.
I checked everybody's head twice a day, and the laundry looked like this:

I had already prepped the children that if I found one nit in anybody's hair, that person would have to stay home from church with me on Sunday.
Mercifully, we were all clear.
All 8 of us.
And we had decided (my husband, our youth pastor, and myself) that if everyone was still clear on Monday morning, we would be going to summer camp as well.
It worked out quite nicely that as we washed up every stitch of clothing that had been laying around and possibly in contact with those infested, I would just fold and pack into bags for camp.
We just had to get the all clear from the camp.
But I couldn't get them to answer the phone.......

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