Tuesday, 1 September 2009

We've had visitors for over a month and they won't leave

Nits. Crawlies. Biddies. Head lice. Whatever you want to call them, those 'orrible little critters first appeared on Tall Daughter's* head while we were on holiday. We were actually sitting on a beach on a lovely sunny day, not a care in the world, and she was scratching away at her head. I had a look and.....oh my god....she was infested with the little buggers!

We left the beach early and headed for the nearest pharmacy to stock up on the necessary arsenal to blast the biddies into infinity. Only it didn't work. So a few days later, I bought a different type of lotion. And then when we got home I bought a different brand again. When the girls went on holiday to France, I handed nit duty over to my ex-husband who, impressively, looked up the words for head lice in French (les poux de tĂȘte) to use during pharmacy visits, but he also reported new outbreaks while they were away.

So far, all three of us have had them at different times over the summer break. We've all got really thick hair too, so it's quite timeconsuming to comb through everyday. I'm currently clear, but I found some new ones on Tall Daughter's head again last night. The Teenager-in-Waiting is also clear at the moment, but I keep combing her hair through every couple of days just in case. I've used lotions, mousses, sprays. I've also made sure everyone uses tea tree shampoo to wash their hair as it's a natural lice deterrent. I've bought a new, recommended nit comb and use it regularly. But we're still not clear.

I'm not prepared to admit defeat, but you're reading the blog of a desperate mother. Desperate I tell you! Take pity, I'd be very grateful for any sure-fire tips on exterminating these visitors. I'm back at work tomorrow, and the girls are back at school later this week but I want to get rid of the buggers (the nits, not my daughters) before then.
*Tall Daughter is the child formerly known as Small Daughter!

23 comments:

Looking Fab in your forties said...

Its been about 10 years now since the last outbreak in my house as obviously daughters are older. The only thing I found to work was really thick conditioner, I used to get a boots own brand one in a tub and because all 3 of them used to have long thick hair, I didn't do it in the bath otherwise they would have froze to death! so I used to do it before bathtime, every 2 days, conditioner applied to dry hair and then combed through. It took a while but I never found any lotions that worked. The only thing I ever remembered from my own childhood, was that I never had them and my Nan used to put vinegar in the water used for the final rinse of my hair, as I was brunette it used to make it shine. I have often worndered if the vinegar made the scalp acidic? might be worth a try also.

Anonymous said...

I was going to offer the same idea- my sisters and daughter all have thick curly hair. LOTS of conditioner left in hair. My other half is a pharmacist and gives the same advice- says prevents te buggers clutching to the hair. Maureen Waterford-Ireland

Kelloggsville said...

lotions etc do not work (they are, the only way is hard work combing. This site: http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/theliceprogram/theprogram.html

has a 21 day combing diary to follow based around the lifecycle of the lice and the hatch rate. It also has good advise on what else you need to do, you do not have to pay money to follow his advise it is free. I have done it twice and we were nit free in both cases after 21 days.

It's a pain that so mamy people have to go through, you are not alone in the battle. Good luck.

Dan said...

yup, combing the only way to go unfortunatly

Nicola said...

I haven't had to deal with an outbreak of nits yet...but I am dreading the day. So sorry, no foolproof remedies to pass on. I hope other people can help. There is actually a salon in Chicago that specialises in nit removal. That is all that it does. I thought it was a bit mad when I first came across it. But now I know I will be beating its door down if those little critters decide to take up residence in my little boy's hair...

Kelloggsville said...

Kelloggsville has just re-read her appalling spelling and grammer. So sorry, I dashed it off in a rush before we went out for the afternoon as you sounded desperate! The site I mention is basically a use conditioner and comb advice but it also covers the type of comb to use and the method. Also, it is hard to diligently comb every single day, so the diary has RED days when it is really important to do it absolutely properly and days when a quicker comb through will do. I sat my girl down on a small stool in front of a film on the "red" days, sectioned off her 'covered in condioner hair' and combed for England. Actually it was a nice 'together' time, it forced us to sit down and be together which we rarely do. Good Luck and apologies for the dreadful mess of a message before!

see you there! said...

EEP! No experience with this at all and I thank my lucky stars. Here's hoping you rid yourselves of them quickly.

Darla

martine frampton said...

Being Home educators protected us for years, then oldest DD went in to school and picked them up. Had them in our house on and off for years, finally got rid, then DD2 picked them up at *secondary* school last year, I was furious, I thought only the under 10's got such things. We used Nitty Gritty, which although you need to comb thoroughly as well was so much nicer than any of the chemical things and was a lovely conditioner for your hair (made with essential oils).
We put one under the microscope, fascinating stuff, and they will live for 24 hours off the head too!!! I totally lost any squeamishness about them, as far as I'm concerned the thread worms are far far worse!!!
much love Martine

lunarossa said...

I agree, thick conditioner and a lot of combing. Tea-tree shampoo or spray lotion seem to keep the hottor beasts away as well. Wish you luck! Ciao. A.

lunarossa said...

P.S. How is your dad doing? Hope he's better. All the best. Ciao. A.

Kathryn said...

I so understand - we have had huge problems over the years with my youngest - one of the joys of boys is that you can shave their heads!!! - a sure fire way of getting rid of them!! but no help to you I know - so sorry!!)

Martini Mummy said...

Oh no! Absolutely no wisdom to pass on here - but good luck!

Caroline said...

we ended up using conditioner on our hair every night for about 3 days, combing it all through with the nit comb. Breaks their legs you see and they can't hold on either! Repeat again once a week after that and hey presto - should at least do the job. I found using teatree shampoo and conditioner a great combo! hope it helps. otherwise send them round - I love that job!

Caroline said...

what about the new puppy dawg?

La Belette Rouge said...

I have friends this just happened to. I went to their house after their outbreak and they had completed all the shampoos and treatments and I was highly paranoid that the lice were still alive and one might jump on me. But, my friend told me that lice don't like coloured hair. Whatever the reason the lice didn't follow me home.

Maternal Tales said...

Oh darling - I go away on holiday - and this is what I come back to find!! Your poor lamb. What a total pain. Am now feeling just a wee bit itchy as I write. Is it sorted yet? I have no advice really. We've had nits but I wouldn't say it was an outbreak - I sat and picked the eggs out of my daughter's hair one by one and I swear i got the lot because we never actually found any crawly creatures. But yuck for you. Hope they've finally gone! xxx

Hot Cross Mum said...

Oh you poor thing. We haven't had these guests yet so no advice I'm afraid but I do have an award for you over at mine which will hopefully cheer you up a little and take your mind off them for a while. Enjoy and Happy Friday! :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi,

for prevention after treatment you can use a spray-on leave-in tea-tree conditioner. (Sorry, went hyphen crazy there!) Some of them are suitable for daily use. Then tie the hair up (if poss). Have you tried the electronic nit comb? Boots has them, I don't use it but my friend swears by it.

Don't let them get you down. Good luck!

Moda

BNM said...

Just to let you know in same boat and glad not only one whose suffering too.
We are in the middle of an infestation in our house and as I'm reading this I'm sure I can feel them on my head.
Tried non chemicals didn't work, tried Hedrin (not sure if its working or not) and at the moment combing through Bel's(dd1)nice thin hair every other night!!
Mine on the other hand is thick and a pain to get the small comb through but will perservere.

rosiescribble said...

Oh no! How awful. I'd dreading the time we first get them. Friends has success with LyClear recently. I've heard that after a while they become immune to these products though and then it's just conditioner and lots of combing as everyone else has said I think.

sallymandy said...

Gack!! I know I'm very late and I read your most recent post about the visitors finally having moved out. Wanted to add my encouragement to you in a frustrating situation. It must have taken a lot of time to get rid of the buggers. Sorry.

That Girl39 said...

Eeek... These things are pests! think I might bookmark this as everyone has warned me that we'll get infested once SC starts school! she says... scratching her head!

Sero said...

The last outbreak I dealt with was my sister's, lice on Easter morning! My mom still made us go to church :) Anyway, it lasted for well over a month, none of the shampoos worked, finally we stumbled upon a miracle cure: Mayonnaise. I know it sounds sick, but it is actually good for your hair and the mayo suffocates the lice. Cover the hair with a thick layer (use real mayo, not light) and then with a shower cap and leave in for a day. You can comb out the eggs afterwords and your hair will be really soft to boot!