Last week, Ute brought home from school a letter informing us that someone in her class reported to have Pediculus humanus capitis. I checked her over several times during the week - not thoroughly mind you, just a look see for anything squirming about in there and nada. Zip. Zilch.Then on Friday, after our dear house guests from Redlands departed from their week of Itty Bitty farm camp (more on the visit later), I found a load of the nasty buggers in various stages of development roaming around Ute's scalp. Having never had lice before, I was aghast at their relatively large size compared to goat lice and almost transparent coloring. If they hadn't been moving, I would have never noticed them amongst our blond hairs.
Ugh! For the last three days, I have done nothing but vacuum, bag clothing and anything else that has touched a head (if left for two weeks, any louse or nit left will die from starvation as the babies need a blood meal within 24 hours of hatching and the adults can't go longer than two days sans sangre), and obsessively comb hair. We are trying to stay away from the nasty poisonous stuff as I am sensitive to chemicals and I would rather not expose my daughter to it either. We've gone with a head dressing consisting of massive amounts of olive oil, therefore suffocating the little bastards, and LOTS of combing and inspecting for nits to stop the cycle. I believe on the day of discovery, I spent somewhere near nine hours dealing with the eradication and preventative measures. Poor Ute was passed out cold for the final comb through.
The olive oil did kill the live lice, leaving only two barely breathing ones that I murdered with my razor sharp finger nails. We are now on a daily regimen of inspecting and combing for the next seven days as that is how long it should take for any remaining nits to hatch. We are being very thorough in our daily combing rituals, taking at least an hour or more to inspect each strand of hair. We are also leaving our hair really oily so that no freeloaders can cling on (worked for the husband - with all of his hair goop that he uses he has avoided infestation) and rubbing in tea tree, rosemary, peppermint, and lavender oils since lice reportedly don't like pungent smells. With all of these measures, we should be good. Good lord, I hope so! All this bugginess is really beginning to bug me. Really.
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