Internets, I need to ask you a question. Would you let your child play with another child- outside- when that other child had head lice as recently as this morning?

Actually, there’s a little more to the story… Yesterday after school, our two little neighbor girls (roughly the same age as my twins) came over after school for a couple of hours. They do this occasionally on Tuesdays, because they have a lapse in childcare on this particular weekday.
It was rainy and gloomy yesterday, so the girls played inside the entire time. And they played dress-up. As in, putting on dresses and such that are now hanging in my daughters’ room. And they laid on the couch and watched tv. Like, with their heads on my couch arms.
This morning, the mom found head lice on one of the girls. She kept her home from school. She didn’t call me to let me know, even though those kids had been here for a little over 2 hours yesterday.
After school today- a beautiful, sunny, 50-some degree day- the girls were knocking on our door minutes after school let out. BOTH girls. I’d heard that one of them was home sick today, so I asked her if she was feeling better and she said “Oh, yeah. I wasn’t sick… I just had head lice! I used the shampoo, so I’m fine now.”
So now I’m sitting here- kinda pissed if I’m being honest. I sent the girls home. I got out a comb and checked over my girls’ heads… no sign of lice.
I am terrified of head lice. I’ve never had it, and I rilly rilly don’t want my kids to get it. All that washing of bedding, freezing of stuffed animals, shampooing and combing and itching of heads… all of it sounds miserable. It sounds like exactly how I DON’T want to spend these beautiful spring days.
I don’t want to sound all prissy, as in “my precious children can’t play with you because you have lice“… In actuality, my being a stickler on this issue is incongruent with the rest of my personality. I’m not a germ-a-phobe, like, AT ALL. In fact, if that child HAD been sick (mild fever or whatever) but was now better, I wouldn’t have any issue of her playing here.
(As long as she hasn’t been puking.) (Or had head lice!)
I guess I just figure that germs are everywhere, and if my kids were going to get exposed, they’re going to get exposed. Colds, fevers, runny noses, coughing, sore throats… I can handle it. Puking? Keep you kid home, please.
And if they have BUGS? On their HEADS? I kinda don’t want them coming over here to play either. And a phone call would also have been nice.
I kinda really REALLY don’t want it. Loads upon loads of laundry? Night after night of bathing and combing? Sitting on the edge of my seat, just waiting to find out we’ve re-infected ourselves? Thanks, but NO THANKS.
Ya know?
(And now I’m scratching my head.)
If any of you have experience head lice I have a couple of questions:
1. Should I do anything to prevent getting it? The dresses they were wearing weren’t washable, and… how do I wash my couch?
2. How long after a delousing should a child be kept away from other children? If she had lice this morning, is she now safely free of them?
3. How do I KNOW if my kids have it? I’ve never even seen them, and frankly googling it is about the LAST thing I want to do right now. And how long after exposure do they get it?
Also? They should have not allowed her to come over to my house this afternoon. Right?

11 thoughts on “Amiright?

  1. I have no experience, so I have no practical help, BUT…

    I’d feel exactly as you do. I know lice are common but that doesn’t mean I want them. I would avoid them like the plague. I would also be PISSED that the mom didn’t call to you since her kids had been at your house for 2 hours the day before. If it was any illness at all, I would have called you if I were that mom, and I think lice counts.

  2. Man. Lice suuuuuuuck. I would take everything they wore and put it in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer or whatever you do to kill lice. I might even do a wash with that special shampoo. And she should NOT have let her come over. I believe you have to wash their hair more than once because they lay eggs and all…

  3. Delurking, I just went through this at my childrens school. A little girl in the morning class had it and was sent home. My kids go in the afternoon and my son shared the same classroom as her. So our chances were small but I still washed everything in hot water and things that couldn’t be washed I threw in the dryer on high for an hour. Also, the nurse sent home a letter telling us to vacuum often (I did the couch,arms and all) and blow drying their hair after washing (extreme heat or cold destroys the louse). I got that straight from the letter school sent home. Head lice freaks me out. I am itchy just reading about it. We were told to check them daily for two weeks and of course, watch for them scratching that is the major symptom.
    I feel for you and good luck!
    I hope some of this helps.
    Love your stuff,
    Mary Stewart

  4. I’m still freaking out about this, b/c the girls (while playing dress-up) were also wearing headbands and stuff, which were then thrown into our “hair supplies” drawer by my husband (instead of back in w/ the dress-up stuff). And the brushes that we ALL use are in there too…


    Also, to clarify, I’m not mad that she had head lice yesterday… they didn’t know it yet, could happen to anyone etc. But TODAY they should have kept her home. I think.

    (Am I being too grouchy about this???)

  5. Uh, no. Not being too grouchy. In fact, I would list lice as one of the reasons I’ve even considered home schooling. No joke. It just sounds like the biggest PITA I’ve ever heard of to try and get totally rid of them. I know my SIl’s kids got them, and she had to buzz cut the boys’ hair, wash in hot water every single piece of all the kids’ clothes and all their bedding, all the towels, etc. And of course do the shampoo stuff. And then they got them again the week later from another kid at school. Shoot me now.
    So yeah, I’d be pissed too. And I’d also vacuum the hell out of the sofas, throw those headbands away, put all the dress up stuff in a hot dryer (if it gets ruined, oh well) and soak the hairbrushes in boiling water.

  6. Totally agree. She should have called and you have every right to be paranoid/annoyed. You do NOT want lice. My personal experience is that my sister went to camp at age 11 and got it, we went on family vacation and she and I shared a bed for a week, and then I came home and left for my sophomore year of COLLEGE. Second night in the dorm I had to have my roommate check my hair for nits and yep. You guessed it. I cried some serious tears at the humiliation of having to do those smelly shampoos in the shared bathroom of my new floormates during the first week. Sucked.

    Anyway, all the practical advice I have has already been mentioned above. Good luck…hopefully she didn’t have very many.

  7. WOW. I would be a bit paranoid, too. Is it inevitable that all kids get lice at some point? I had it in grade school and I remember being sent home from school to use that charcoal shampoo (please tell me there’s something better now?).

    I’ve always drawn the line at barfing and fevers (mostly because they often precede barfing). To that list I now add: BUGS. (EW.)

  8. I don’t blame you, lice is a pain. Bag everything up in a plastic garbage bag that can’t be washed in VERY (130 degrees) hot water(the dresses, brushes, etc) and leave for a week. If it were me I’d buy a cheap-o brush to use for a week while the others were de-lousing). If there were lice they’d be dead in a week for sure. (Usually 48 hours is long enough, but if you really want to be sure…) Things you can’t wash, vacuum, there is also a spray you can get for furniture. They have it at Walmart in Tiny Town 🙂 You could do a shampoo (there’s a lot of chemicals in the shampoo though) just to be sure on your girls, or the local Public Health Nurse recommends mayo on their head and then put a shower cap on. Leave the mayo on for a couple hours it’s supposed to suffocate them.

    Good luck. And I’d be mad if I were you, that she didn’t have the decency to CALL and tell you, and then that she sends them back over the same day. Rude! And if the girls got one, it would take 5-10 days for any eggs they laid to hatch. So keep checking.

    If you have any questions let me know, thanks to my illusterous career I am quite familiar. Plus I had it once in elementary school. I had very, very few when it was caught and treated (took them forever to find), so if they have just 1 or 2 now, it may take awhile for it to show up. I was told my way-too-sensitive head was how they caught mine early 🙂

  9. Or for the brushes you can treat them by soaking for 1 hour in one of the medicated shampoos or by soaking them for 5 to 10 minutes in a pan of water heated on the stove to 130 degrees F.

  10. I know I am late to the party, but I don’t have any advice anyway… I do, however, want to say that it was highly irresponsible for the other mom to send her kids over to play on Wed. And very inconsiderate that she didn’t call you right away to tell you about finding lice. Yikes. I really hope you escape the nastiness.

  11. OH HEAVENS. This is totally out of line. While I feel for the other mom, having to deal with lice, you absolutely KEEP IT TO YOURSELF. Sheesh. I’m getting irritated just thinking about it.

    Hope you guys are parasite free!

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