Let's talk about everyone's favorite thing not to talk about. Are you ready? All together now!
Seriously. I dare you to shout "LICE" in a crowded movie theatre. All hell will break loose, like whoa. (Hell, shout "LICE!" anywhere and all hell will break loose. Shout it at your desk and the termites will crawl out of the walls with microscopic suitcases!
And yet, it is our very reluctance to so much as WHISPER the word "lice" that has become the main reason head lice is so prevalent in our schools and communities. Nobody wants to admit their child has lice. And so nobody does. Everyone keeps passing it around to everyone else, assuming there is someone else's child to blame for the epidemic.
BUT GUESS WHAT, GUYS? IT'S ON YOU. It's on me, too. It's on EVERYONE.
Let me rewind.
When Fable first came home from preschool with her/our first case of lice back in 2012, I lost my mind. I was one of the parents in a mass email that went out notifying of a lice breakout at school and, when one of the parents casually replied-all saying, "Not to worry! My older daughter gets lice all the time. It's no big deal," I lost my mind, wrote a scathing email in response and promptly had a panic attack. I blamed absolutely everyone for the lice that Fable, the twins, Archer and I had, assuming someone was out to get us.
I took it personally.
Which was ridiculous, of course, but I was overwhelmed and upset and trying to find something/someone to blame. Someone gave it to us, after all.
And yet, that is precisely the kind of logic that keeps a community from talking, helping and ridding their classrooms and children of head lice.
I decided to take matters into my own hands when we returned to school after Thanksgiving break. I volunteered in the kids' classes to check for lice every now and then. And I talked about lice prevention whenever possible. Even if nobody wanted to talk about it back. As long as my kids were lice-free I was FINE with being the "lice person."
Because here's the thing. Lice has become an epidemic that nobody wants to touch, even though it touches ALL OF US. Repeatedly. Everywhere. Even in rich and famous circles, you guys. No one is safe. NOT EVEN JENNIFER GARNER IS SAFE!
And so, today I have three lists of five things that may be helpful for those of you who have never had lice, are currently dealing with lice or would like to focus on an offensive strategy to combat lice.
5 Things You Should Know About Head Lice
1. Head lice thrive in clean hair, so if you/someone you know has nits, cleanliness has NOTHING to do with an outbreak.
2. Lice do not jump from head to head. They do not swim, either.
3. Most people who have lice do not know they have lice. (Which is why I assume that everyone always has lice.)
4. It is preventable. (See below.)
5. Natural remedies are far more successful than harsh/poisonous chemicals when treating lice. Meaning: DO NOT USE RID. Lice have become immune to it and it's also awful and poisonous and yuck.
And for those of you who found this post because you are currently dealing with head lice ...
5 Things You Should Do Right Now to Get Rid of Lice
2. In the meantime, pick up a STEEL COMB (we use this one), put your child in the bathtub, set them up with a movie or television show and comb out as many nits/bugs as you possibly can while they are distracted. (You will want them to be distracted. The combing is no fun for them.)
3. Write an email to your school classroom and notify all friends.
4. Put aside all hats/helmets/headbands for 24 hours. Bugs cannot live for longer than a day when dislodged from a human head so there is no need to do anything drastic other than putting hats/wigs/etc. aside for 24 hours.
5. If dealing with this on your own feels overwhelming, call in a professional. (Although professionals are EXTREMELY expensive, they can be well worth it if you feel overwhelmed by items 1–4.) Just Google "lice removal" and your zip code and you should be able to find several options.
And, for those who DON'T have lice, who have just gotten rid of lice and/or DO NOT EVER WANT THEIR CHILDREN/SELVES TO EVER GET LICE ...
5 Ways to Prevent Your Child from Getting Lice
1. Spray their hair down every morning before leaving the house.
3. Check your kids' heads once a week—no matter what.
Look for tiny gray specks that cannot be removed from hair follicle. If the tiny specks flake off, they are not nits. If they cling to the shaft of the hair follicle, they probably are.
4. Be communicative!
Talk to your friends about lice and what YOU are using to prevent it. (At the beginning of the school year, sending an email with helpful tips and tricks can be helpful. It takes a village, after all.)
5. Breathe. Shit happens. Lice are a rite of passage. Not all methods are 100 percent effective. The end.
If anyone has any questions, concerns or things to add, please feel free to do so in the comments below. Thank you in advance, and may the lice-free force be with you all.