I was asked about dealing with lice in the “Ask Mike” section of my website, but I would like to share it here also for those that might not read my “Ask Mike” Section. Lice are kind of a pain, but they are not that hard to deal with.
Although we have been lice free for about 3.5 years there was a 1 year period before that when we were having to deal with lice every month. We had one group of children that would come back with lice every time they went home on a visit. So we got pretty good at treating it.
We would use the commercially available lice shampoo to wash their hair. Then I would comb out their hair with a lice comb every day for 10 days and wash it again one final time. We purchased the metal lice combs and reused them over and over again.
My wife would wash all the clothing they took with them on the visit. She would also wash their bedding and their clothes everyday during that 10 day period we were treating them. Anything that couldn’t be washed, we would spray with lice killer and store in a plastic bag for a week or two. That was usually enough to do away with the lice.
I found that the most effective part of that for us was combing their hair daily with the lice comb. It seems that you can never get all the eggs out with just one combing and the shampoo doesn’t kill all the eggs. Combing daily removes any newly hatched lice before they have a chance to lay more eggs.
We also have some very hard and fast rules to keep lice from spreading to all the children and staff. My wife has gotten lice, twice from the children since we have been houseparents, I don’t have enough hair.
Rule #1: Everybody has their own comb or brush and nobody shares, ever!!!!
Rule #2: Bedding is washed weekly and nobody shares personal pillows, ever!!!
I would also like to add that you never, ever shame the child for having lice and try not to get all creepy around any child that has lice. They don’t need the blow to their self-esteem and it’s just not nice. Considering the environments that many of our children come from it’s amazing that more don’t have lice.