Teenage Mutant Ninja…Lice?
You may have already seen the news stories circulating around Facebook about the new mutant strain of lice creeping and crawling across the United States. If you haven’t read the stories, this new strain of hair critter is particularly difficult to get rid of. These lice have a genetic mutation that causes them to be resistant to standard over the counter treatment, and have been confirmed in 25 states so far including Missouri and Illinois.
The best way to fight lice is by prevention. If you have a youngster in school, talk to them about not sharing hats, coats, scarves, headbands, etc. with anyone (even best friends). Be wary of coat racks, or rows of coats or backpacks nestled against each other. Another good preventative measure is to put a little bit of product in your child’s hair. It may sound strange, but using something like a leave-in conditioner or detangler can help keep the bugs away. It makes the hair more slick (like in unwashed hair that lice don’t like as much) and harder for lice to stick to. There are also shampoos, conditioners and leave-in sprays specifically targeted to keep lice away by using scents or essential oils that act as a repellant. Fairytales is a good brand for this, and is carried by Amber Sky.
If you or your child do manage to catch lice, don’t beat yourself up. It happens. Call your pediatrician or doctor and get their advice. They may prescribe a treatment, or recommend visiting a lice treatment center, where heat is used to make sure all of the eggs are killed. Aside from treating yourselves, it is imperative to thoroughly clean your house and vehicles/carseats. Grab the hose attachment to your vacuum cleaner and go to town in your car, paying special attention to headrests. Clean all bedding, and make sure to wash coats/hats/scarves. Vacuum everywhere in your home where hair could have fallen. I would recommend to repeat the deep cleaning about a week later (joy, I know), to make sure any possible remaining eggs that may have hatched are taken care of.
Lice is often talked about in hushed voices, as if it’s something shameful. There’s a common misconception that lice only affect people that have poor hygiene. This is actually the opposite of the truth! Lice love clean hair. It’s easier for them to grasp onto than a slick, oily strand, and has no odors that they dislike. Parents and children shouldn’t be embarrassed by lice infestation. Although it can make you feel squicky and squirmy, it doesn’t need to be a source of humiliation.