Everything you never wanted to know about lice

Let me just start of by saying: what a crappy last couple weeks. You know how you set about to accomplish a certain goal, and then out of nowhere it seems like every weird, awkward, out of the blue situation comes up, totally preventing any productivity?

Welcome to my last two weeks.

I decided I was going to start back at the gym. Now that P is comfortable enough to spend an hour or two with Grandma and Grandpa a couple times a week, G and I thought it would be a great way to both spend time together and be productive health-wise.

All set up and ready to begin the first week and BAM. It hit. You know, that cold that has sort of been floating around the house in a non-threatning-not-sure-if-its-actually-a-cold-or-just-sinuses type of situation. Of course by the time it has gone through the whole family and finally gets to mommy and you realize it is a cold, it has mutated into some intense, overly-resistant version of what feels like a cross between being hit by a mac truck and drowning in a sea of mucus. That's the one I'm talking about. Not like you could take anything for it anyways if you were breastfeeding, other than ginger tea and some vitamin C *yeehaw*. Only thing to do is ride it out for the 14 or so days it takes to leave your system.

14 days that become extended because an overly active sleep-is-for-wimps 15 month old has decided he no longer needs sleep to fuel his body-and neither should you. Because what is more fun than watching the dog eat his kibble at 3am through peels of laughter because the crunchy sound doggy makes when he bites is hilarious?

Of course through the sickness and sleep deprivation there are an abundance of assignments due all on the same week -two per day of class. Assignments that won't write themselves because they don't take sick days.

Then. Just when you think you accept that your goal is going to have to wait and you've gotten the hang of surviving off of 15 minute naps during class and possibly a little to much half-caf, you arrive at your train stop and greeted by your lovely family - and LICE.

Yes - LICE. Apparently they wanted to join the party.

Now, lice is not the most appealing topic for a blog post, so if your squeamish, or feel like after reading about lice that your head is suddenly itchier than before reading about lice- stop here.

Anyone else that wants to know more - keep calm and carry on.

Lice is apparently really common in schools. Anyone that has kids has seen the letters home every now and then declaring there has been some spotted on another kids hair. Then breath a sigh of relief when your children pass the lice check.

What do you do if your kid gets it though? Its highly likely that it will happen when children are in elementary school. Although its not something we prepare ourselves for. What does it look like? How can you spot it? How do you get it? Who can get it? If your children contract it and the lice have started building lice colonies, making lice babies and building lice freeways through their hair, how do you take the fuckers them out?

This brought me to the point of todays post which is: everything you never wanted to know about lice (until your kids get it).

1) Lice is spread through close contact with people who have it. Which stinks if someone in your lice-free child's class has it unknowingly and comes to school. Lice are all about spreading the love. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion their goal is to take over the world-one head at a time. If your in the situation where your child contracts lice, everyone in your household has to be checked. This does not mean everyone in your house will have it if one person has it.

2) You can get lice by sharing towels, bedding, clothing and brushes of someone who has it. We've been told many a time growing up "don't share hats or brushes," it was like one of the cardinal rules of childhood. The fact of the matter is though - kids naturally want to share things with their friends, they also have sleepovers sometimes- or in some cases- they forget their hat at school and decide to borrow their younger sisters hat and she has lice.

3) Symptoms of lice are , red bumps on back of the head and an intensely itchy scalp. The itching is not to be confused with dandruff though. People who have dandruff also have itchy scalps. The difference can be seen between the two upon examining the hair. General rule of thumb: if you blow on it and it flies off the hair, or if it flakes off the hair by moving strands - it's dandruff. If its small and white and looks like dandruff and you try to move it off and it sticks - it could be nits (lice eggs).

4) Lice do not jump. This is a myth. So while as you were reading this and your head started feeling itchier, rest assured that they do not jump from head to head. They much prefer to take public transit because they cannot survive long off humans.

5) Having lice sucks so badly because it can be hard to see and identify if you don't know what your looking for, making eradicating the bastards a nightmare.
Sometimes you need to use a magnifying glass. As I was unfortunate enough to find out - once you've seen one and you know what it looks like, you will never psychologically be able to go back to a pre-lice seeing state. Which makes identifying them easier. That being said, if you have never seen one, or don't know what you are looking for, I have provided the least extreme, non-magnified image of lice I could find to save you the horror of googling lice yourself- nothing good can come of viewing those images...

The best way to describe them is that they look sort of like sesame seeds. They are usually all along the strands of hair, and if they are live and you move the hair - you can see them moving.

6) Once treated, the dead eggs (nits) will still be stuck to the hair. Lice can be treated with an over the counter lice killing shampoo. You can get it by simply going to your nearest pharmacy and asking your pharmacist. They are more than able to help you as they get an abundance of parents in hysterics over lice on a fairly frequent basis. Once administering the treatment (which must be done twice because lice can live for 30 days on a human and their eggs for up to two weeks), the eggs will still be visible on the hair. This is because a special fine toothed comb must be used to take them off the hair because lice use crazy glue to make sure their eggs are properly attached to your child's hair. The best type of comb for this is the metal ones.

7) Applying olive oil to the hair helps remove the dead eggs. I just recently found this out after my 50th comb through two heads of long hair. I would've love to know this prior - so I'm paying it forward.

8) If someone contracts lice it doesn't mean they are un-hygenic. This is also a myth. Lice can strike anytime, anywhere. They mostly thrive in elementary school environments however, because schools are places that offer a lot of housing opportunities with potential to expand. Long story short- lice are assholes that take advantage of our children's innate kind nature of wanting to share their stuff with their friends.

Unfortunately once contracted it takes two treatments and a lot of picking through hair and brushing with a fine tooth comb to get them out. All the bedding and stuffed animals, hats or other things that the person who contracted it has come into contact, with should be burned.

I kid.

They only have to be washed in hot water and put in the dryer on high.

On the plus side, all those hours spent picking through hair has brought about ideas for lucrative projects. G's current suggestion of buying a few chimps and renting them out by the day with a nit-free-in-24-hours-or-your-money-back guarantee might be useful.....

Any takers?

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