She Says… LICE

There are very few things that I’ve encountered so far since having children that truly gross me out. Vomit is close, but as a mother I’ve been able to handle it so much better than I ever could have when I was younger.

But I just got an email that sends shivers down my spine.


A little buddy who has likely shared dress up hats and hugs with my kid. Who probably sat next to him and itched his or her little bug-infested head right over my kid’s snack.




Little itchy bugs embedding themselves in my kid’s scalp. Or mine. Or my dog’s. (Can dogs get lice?).

Tell me everything you know about lice. What do I do now? How do I check for them? How long are we in danger (his school is taking measures to clean the classroom and obviously the kid has been sent home until he/she is nit free)? What do I do if, God forbid, he actually has lice? Is there any possibility he WON’T?



14 responses to “She Says… LICE

  1. Maybe ask his daycare or your pediatrician what precautions should be taken in this kind of situation to prevent Owen from having it or anyone else in your family. From what I have heard about lice, it’s quite an ordeal to get rid of it if your child has it so I hope for your sake Owen doesn’t catch hold of those nasty little things but I also hope I am wrong with what I have heard.

  2. I hope he doesn’t get it. They’re a real pain and really gross.

    The only thing I remember from when I had them as a child, was my mom putting all my stuffed animals in trash bags. The lice can get in all the fur and putting them in trash bags suffocates them and kills them off. I think she did this with my clothes too. The only bad part is that everything was in trash bags for a few days.

  3. Hi Kate. First, calm down! I understand your worry but its really not a big deal. Second, sit Owen under a bright light, slather on conditioner, and with a pencil or some sort of comb, check the sections of his head (behind each ear, longitudinally across the head and then laterally.) Wash his hair from the conditioner like normal. Buy a tea tree oil or rosemary oil (intense smell but it wards off bugs). Do not buy the wash that “kills” lice- its a scam. If you found a bug, it might have not had any time to lay any eggs yet, which is great. Just buy a lice comb, and repeat the conditioner/lice combing for a week to make sure. If you found an egg, make sure it is an egg and not dandruff by placing it on the nail of your thumb and try to squish it with your other thumb. If it smushes, it was dandruff or keratin. If not, it could be an egg. It takes an egg about a week to hatch, so continue to condition and comb every night checking for eggs for about 1-2 weeks. Even if you didn’t find anything, change his pillowcase. Before sending him to school, spray/spread behind his ears the tea tree or rosemary, and take a deep breath!
    It will all be ok!

  4. I feel icky and it isn’t even my daycare!
    Fingers crossed it hasn’t spread to your household!

  5. I agree with Eden . . . it’s not really that big a deal but it is a pain in the ***. I think we went through it 2 or 3 times when my kids were little. There are a few options . . . I always found the shampoos worked but was not happy using them as I disliked the ingredients. Still, we had to get rid of the lice. Shaving the head is an option but my daughter would not go for that. After the shampoo we used the nit comb, I vacuumed and washed like a crazy person. There are way worse things than lice. Welcome to motherhood!

  6. It’s nasty, there is no denying. But, no. Your dog is safe.

    First, wash his sheets, and set the dryer on high heat, just to be safe.

    Next, check his head. He won’t like this and will have a hard time sitting still so plunk him down in front of the tv and put his favorite show on. That will help.

    You’re looking for not only live bugs, but also for their white eggs which they glue onto the hair shaft. If you find one, you’ll either need a nit comb or two fingers to pull the eggs off, one at a time. They won’t move if you blow on them, unlike fluff or dandruff. Live like warm spots, the side of the head and crown the most.

    Now, your gut reaction might be to throw him in the bath. This is a mistake!!! Lice NEED clean hair, so if you have to bathe him several times a week, seriously, if you want to keep these little blood-sucking devils at bay, only wash his hair twice a week.

    Lastly, the preventative. Tea Tree Oil is your best friend. I personally hate the smell, but it’s natural and lice hate the smell, too. A few drops on his head in prime spots is KEY to keeping them away. That, and a greasy head of hair.

    For you, use product. Hair spray. Mousse. Flat iron! Aaand…tea tree oil. I work in a public school, so I put a few drops directly on my hair before conditioning.

    The best thing you can do is try to prevent them. Otherwise, you need to vacuum everything everyday, and wash and sterilize all his toys. All his studies will also need a trip to the washer & dryer.

    Best if luck, and God speed.

  7. That was STUFFIES, not studies!

    Stupid auto correct!!

  8. 1) check hair for nits. Pull them off hair. Use bright light, go slow.

    2) If you find some or just want to be safe, put a mixture of olive oil and tea tree oil in his hair. 1/2cup oil, 8-10 drops tee tree oil. Leave it on his head under shower cap for 45 – 60 min. It’s gross and slimey but kind of an adventure for them!
    3) rinse out oil.

    The nit picking gets the eggs/nits, the oil treatment gets the live bugs.

    Wash all bedding and dry on high. Dry all stuffies on high as well or just bag up and leave in garage for a few days.

    Keep checking his hair for nits and repeat any of the above if necessary.

    My 2yo daughter had lice in August and this worked for us. I didn’t want to use the chemical treatment and in fact the pharmacist advised against it for her age.

  9. There are 2 things I know to be true. First, as someone mentioned above, lice love clean hair. I only wash my boys hair twice a week or so. Sounds gross, but they are little boys and don’t really sweat and their hair never, ever looks dirty. Plus it’s not nearly as gross as lice. Second, get “Fairy Tales” shampoo. It’s an all natural, organic shampoo for children. The kind I get is “rosemary repel shampoo”. It runs about $13 for a 12 oz. bottle, but worth every penny in my book. This is the only shampoo I use on my kids. I use it myself once or twice a week as well. If these preventative measures fail and he does get lice, I would give him a crew cut. It will grow back in no time and will make getting rid of the lice way easier. Keeping my fingers crossed for you!!

  10. I agree with all the great directions above. But do know that knit combs DO NOT remove the nits. They are great for parting and sectioning off the hair, but do not rely on them to remove the nits. You will literally have to scrape them off the hair with your finger nail and finger tip.
    There are lots of great all natural kits you can buy online that use oils to kill the live bugs and the great scents to ward off any future ones. I especially loved the furniture spray. I sprayed down the couches and mattresses twice a day (morning and evening) and vacuumed daily as well. The natural furniture sprays smell a million times better than the chemical brands you will find at your big box stores. Horrrrrible to have to breath that in at night.
    Lavender oil is another great oil to dilute in water. I sprayed our furniture and unaffected family members with it as lice don’t like the scent of that either (like tee tree oil). Smells a little nicer.
    Do NOT forget the wash wash wash anything that gets touched or used during the day. I think that’s the biggest pain in the but. Every hand towel, bath towel, throw blanket, jacket, coat, article of clothing, blanket, sheets, needs to be washed daily. It. is. a. pain.
    Make sure your hubby checks your hair as well. A lot of families have re-infestations because the moms don’t keep vigilant with their own hair.
    If you want an easy and safe way to have some peace of mind, just slather his head with coconut oil after school each day and then wash it out before bed. Coconut oil will kill any live bugs. You need to leave it on for at least an hour though.
    Good luck!

  11. MAN, this whole comment section has made me itch. My sister had BEAUTIFUL, long blonde hair when we were little. She got lice in kindergarten. Worst part of the ordeal? She went through a phase where she stood on her head all the time. Can you imagine how thrilled my mom was to find she’d gotten it? Ick. I don’t remember it being THAT difficult to get rid of them, just lots of combing and vacuuming, and washing bedding and toys.

  12. I am a kindergarten teacher and lice is something I think I have encountered every school year. As long as you wash everything their head comes in contact with as well as treating the lice in their hair, you should be absolutely fine. I have only had the lice spread from one kid to another once (this is my 7th year teaching), every other time it’s always been within the family or kept to the one specific child. That being said, I am very adamant about not letting my students play with each other’s hair and they can’t put on each other’s hats. I guarantee you this really helps. So if the daycare is cleaning everything I’m sure Owen will be absolutely fine.

    And since he’s a boy, you can always shave his head. My one boy that had it this year shaved his head and they were gone immediately, and crossing my fingers, I haven’t seen any since 🙂

  13. I get these notices from our daycare periodically and my son has yet to get lice so it’s possible for sure that he doesn’t have it. Lotsa good information in the comments. Definitely check him, but rest assured that he’s not doomed quite yet : )

  14. I’m only commenting on here because it’s anonymous, ha ha.

    My beautiful blond 2 year old daughter got sent home with lice earlier this year. It was awful, but not as bad as you imagine. I didn’t see a bug though, thank god. Just the nits/eggs. We washed her hair with the shampoo, although I wouldn’t necessary recommend that now. Basically you just have to comb through and get all the nits out, and then wash EVERYTHING. As a double precaution, I hired a professional. They are out there, and even though they can be pricey, they are so worth the peace of mind of getting the job done right. It’s 2 months later and knock on wood, we haven’t seen anything since.

    More thoughts:
    No one else in her class got it because the teacher found it quickly (thank god). (Also no one else in our family got them. I was very surprised.)
    We are pretty certain that she got it from trying on a hat at Target, so let that be a lesson to you all!

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