Is it just me or does the word LICE immediately have you scratching your head and thinking to yourself, “oh God no! Please don’t let it be my kid!” while you start recounting all the encounters with friends your child has had in the last couple of weeks? You immediately begin to formulate a plan, thinking of all you may have to clean, the moms you may need to call and the plans you may need to cancel. All of this is done while you are trying to keep a fair distance from your child as you peer down upon her head. And, if your body begins to show signs of anxiety at the mere uttering of the word, you could be suffering from pediculophobia – the fear of lice.
Pediculophobia. Yep, that’s what I have. The extreme fear of lice seems to be pretty common. Many people suffer from a fear of head lice whether it’s from having it ourselves or experiencing it with our children. Once we are exposed, it’s difficult to not have some aversion to the word because the word carries with it such weight and work.
1. Lice are not a sign of uncleanliness. Lice don’t really care whether your hair is clean or dirty. I have even read that lice prefer clean hair because it’s easier to grab on to, less slippery with oils. I’m sure lice don’t really care who the host is, they just want a place to get their next meal.
2. Lice cannot jump or fly. So, if you sit next to someone who has it, you are not going to get it unless you touch heads and probably longer than a couple of seconds. There is some conflicting info on whether you can contract it by combs and brushes. Some say yes, others say no. It’s always good to err on the side of caution and clean all brushes and combs.
3. Some believe that lice is transferred through pillows and bedding, others say it’s unlikely that lice would voluntarily leave the head, therefore the need to clean bedding is more to clean any lice excrement (ewww!) that may be on the bedding. But, I would cover all my basis and clean them in extra hot water.
4. Head lice can only survive 24 -36 hours without a host. So, your couch, pillows, carpet, etc. won’t need to be deep cleaned. Still, I would bag the things you can for 36 hours just in case. Especially stuffed animals your kids come in contact with, blankets, etc. Again, it’s better to err on the side of caution.
5. Here’s an interesting one. I read that it’s not necessary to remove nits from the hair after it’s treated. I’m not an expert, but I think this should be done. If those eggs hatch, you will be kicking yourself as you go through the whole process all over again. The one thing that saved me from complete insanity was going through my daughter’s hair day after day and taking every nit out. I owe my success in getting rid of the buggers by being diligent for a week after treatment – checking every day and removing nits that I may have missed the day before.
6. Home remedies such a mayo, oil or Vaseline don’t necessarily work. I guess the concept of suffocating the little bastards while leaving your kids hair looking like a greasy mess is not the best route to take. But, if that is all you have, then it’s better than nothing!
#lice #licephobia #pediculophobia