Thursday, December 20, 2007

Green Lice. Twice As Nice?

Ah yes. Egg nog, stockings hung by the chimney with care, warm evenings by the fire, lice, a reading of Dickens' Christmas... Wait a second, wait a second. Say that fourth one again? Lice?

Fortunately, I am not writing from direct experience. Yet. The Wanna-Greenies have so far been spared those nasty nits, but I suppose it's only a matter of time before When Lice Strike, the movie, comes to a head near us.

Why, then, do I have lice on the brain? The Washington Post just had a recent article profiling a professional nit-picker, who, using simple equipment and oodles of time, removes those offending buggers by hand. Although the concept of a professional nit-picker is by no means new, it got me thinking about how the standard treatments for treating lice are not very green at all. The active ingredients are, after all, insecticides and although some hardcore greenies may find me to be a green abomination, what with my use of ziploc bags and plastic bottle liners, I think I might have to draw the line at malathion.

There are a host of suggested alternatives from hair dryers (it's the heat, baby, the heat) to olive oil to tons and tons and tons and tons of cream conditioner. What has been your experience with those lousey louses and were you driven to use the big guns when all else failed?


Anonymous said...

Oh sweetie. This was my life -- a hillarious escapade of the lice who kept showing up in the classroom and passing it from kid to kid. They were leaping from kid to kid -- and Moms were checking each other's hair (the Mom's hair). You know you've reached a new level of intimacy.

In desperation, I gave into the chemicals -- they BARELY worked. The heat, would have scalded their head from the hair dryer. THey are fiesty and are almost resistant to the chemical. I went the aromatherapy route as a back-up.

Shaving the head is the best natural solution. And lots of laundry.

Yes, you do need a professional checker. They are impossible to see! Get magnifying glass and bifocals.

Jody said...

Been there. Only with one child, thank goodness. She was in daycare and got them from her best friend. We did the shampoo, which killed the live lice, then sat in the bathroom with a spotlight and combed and picked the nits out. Night after night, she was such a trooper. We did lots of laundry, lots of cleaning, lots of attempting to delice belongings. She and her friend passed them back and forth. It was a pain in the rear. But after a bit it worked.

At my store we used to carry tea tree shampoo, which is supposed to deter lice. Not sure if it worked, but I hear tea tree oil is good for that. (

elisabeth said...

Child #2 had it in August just about 10 days after we hosted a "hair, nail & make-up" themed 6th birthday. My life changed dramatically that August. I became very good friends with Jim Beam for a couple months. I was on top of the delicing and combed twice a day, each of my three kids. They were fantastic and each sat there for upwards of 2 hours. After 3 weeks of live lice, I called my pediatrician crying. He called in a prescription (no, sassy, not Zanax).

I never worried about my kids (or me) catching lice until #2 got them -- they come from someone -- then I worried about passing them along to others. Now I worry about our family getting them again.

My advise is this: screw the Whole Foods green remedies and the brand-name lice products you buy at CVS. Get a prescription for Ovide from Bassam. The prescription lice shampoo will save your SANITY.

Mary Beth said...

We've never gotten it--amazingly. Even as a school nurse, I've only seen a few cases (because it is high school). I live in fear--so far we've been very lucky. The idea of having a professional pick out the nits is a very good one. Otherwise, I visualize watching lots of movies . . .

Lynn from said...

I'm with you on the lice treatments. Ick. A few weeks back we had a scare at my son's school, and I wrote a post listing lice treatments as "one of the top ten organic and eco-friendly products Moms really need." Ick.
-- Lynn

intergalacticrose said...

Nice to see everyone's comments. We haven't had it in our house, but we did have a school scare a few weeks ago. I regularly shampoo with tea tree soap, and after *the scare* I've been dousing my daughter with tea tree oil everyday before school. Honestly, I don't know how well it really works, but at least it gives me some peace of mind (with dreadlocks down to my behind, lice is one of the dirtiest 4 letter words I know, and I pray we get spared from any infestations...)