Thursday, March 5, 2015

Skool Nerse Time

This is Mrs. Grumpy.

Due to the number of cases of head lice that crop up over the course of the school year, I'd like to make some recommendations based on my experiences.

1. There are several reputable products that remove lice. Gasoline, wood varnish, and Draino are not among them. While I'm sure Draino did get rid of them, you now have a meeting with a state agency.

2. Chiropractic manipulation will not make the lice go away, regardless of what Dr. Cracker may have told you.

3. Rubbing garlic on your child's head will not harm the lice, though it may protect them from vampires, werewolves, and pretty much anything with a nose.

4. Having your kid drink Red Bull, hoping she'll run around more and make the lice fall off, will not get you anything but sleep-deprived. And I will call you to come take your moth home until she reverts to a child.

5. Bringing kids to my office and demanding I "do something" will only get you a list of products. I don't carry them here. The district doesn't even cover bandages, FFS (yes, I have to buy those myself, thanks, Governor). I don't have a magic wand.

6. Local Pharmacy is not going to give you lice-removal products for free. Saying your kid caught them at a public school, their store, or on a school bus will not change that. Neither will asking them to call me to try and bill the school district for them.

7. Screaming, yelling, and blaming the school, the teachers, other parents, other kids, "those Arab people near the bus stop," the President, and society in general will not change the fact that your precious has lice, and you have to deal with it. In spite of this, I'd have to say it appears to be the most common method of dealing with the situation.

8. Threatening to scare lice off by shooting firearms near junior will only result in me calling the state. And the lice won't care.

9. If you choose to shave them bald, the school is not responsible for other kids making fun of them.

10. Calling your pediatrician for Amoxicillin will not help. They may laugh at you.

This has been a public service announcement.

For an even better PSA involving lice, read this, by the Skeptical OB.


Don said...

What on Earth was the person who treated head lice with Draino thinking? Draino has several applications, and I've specified the use of it on a few projects I've worked on in the past.

When I was in the USAF far too many years ago, one of the other people in my shop, which used a lot of harsh chemicals to remove gun powder from 20 mm cannon barrels, had kids who picked up head lice. That Saturday, he brought the kids into the shop, and rinsed their hair with carbon tetra-chloride. That cured the problem, and the father was a lot more careful with the stuff than most of us were during the work time. Anothher person used Methyl-Ethyl-Ketone to remove his daughter's head lice.

Powers said...

The pediatrician may laugh, or they may acquiesce and give the Amoxicillin. Such is the state of parenting today.

bobbie said...

Love the "Dr. Cracker"...

gloriap said...

Every time I think mankind has reached the ultimate level of stupidity, something new pops up, like Whack-a-mole. About 10 years ago in Denver a woman tried to get rid of head lice for her pre-teen neighbor using gasoline. Yes, there was a fire and yes, the child was burned.

TIP: for a solution for head ice, go to the pharmacist, not the gas station.

a.generic doc said...

Thanks to Mrs. G for this lousy posting. (Because Lice-y just ain't the right word.)

Packer said...

@Don---You must be old,nobody under 50 knows what carbon tet
We used to use that for everything.

I guess this means that Hat Trade Day is off the calendar for this year again.

Anonymous said...

Using gasoline isn't new. It's actually a "traditional" way of dealing with lice. Which is not to say that it isn't stupid. It's just a fairly old stupid.

My mother used to use kerosene lamp oil on us. Never set anybody on fire, though, luckily for me.

Anonymous said...

Actually a crewcut is a good idea. Whem my son was little he brought home lice more than once.

My haridresser reasured me lice actually prefer clean hair!

A 1/8 inch crew cut solved the problem, since lice like to live 1/4 inch away from the scalp and only climb down the hair to feed. So for a few years as soon as the weather got warm he got a very short haircut.

Anonymous said...

Amox for lice. I guess Amox CAN cure everything.

Ms. Donna said...

my daughter was MORTIFIED when she came up with the critters. And Anonymous, my daughter's pediatrician said the same thing about clean hair.

I suggested, tongue in cheek, that we shave off her hair.

THAT got me a look .Dr. G, imagine shaving off Frank's hair.

Went to drugstore got the lousy stuff, combed religiously and they came back. Washed EVERYONE's bedding in HOT water and replaced ALL pillowcases. scrubbed the chairs and couch with upholstery cleaner. Inspected my son and myself carefully.

Informed ex-husband of problem Got lecture on how I was a bad mother. Informed him when he shut up of the precautions he needed to take. He decided not to take the kids for the weekend, so he could "tend to the situation you have caused."

Was told by a friend about home remedy, soaking the scalp in olive oil. Didn't think that would work, (I REALLY wanted carbon tet, Don)

Figured the olive oil would do no harm, and would condition the hair after the harsh lousy shampoo. So I warmed some olive oil and rubbed it into daughter's scalp after treatments. A lot of work, and the lice disappeared.

But IF that ever happened again, I would not be asking for Amoxicillin, I would want major tranquilizers. TID.


Rita said...

Wasn't there a recent study on using a blow dryer on low setting?

Anonymous said...

Gasoline is a universal cure-all, according to some segments of society. I adopted a kitten from my vet last year that had been abandoned on their doorstep in the snow, missing half his fur. He smelled strongly of gas. The vet said it's an inner city flea treatment.

Gus Portokalos said...

What about Windex?

pfongk said...

I find the el cheapo white conditioner works the best for lice. If the parents are willing to smother the kids hair in it and then comb it all out with a fine tooth comb and do that every couple of days. It's cheap, can be done in front of cartoons after school, not many kids react to it and it works.

Anonymous said...

Windex only works if you're Greek, Gus.

Anonymous said...

The good news is that thanks to Bikini Waxing and the fashionable Shaved Look, pubic lice are becoming an endangered species.

Anonymous said...

I haven't had to deal with it since my kids were in grade school, but lice have become immune to many of the drug store treatments. I imagine it's even more so now. They kill the live ones but not the eggs, so they come right back.

Bedbugs are becoming immune too.

Don said...

Packer, this was in the late 1970s when I was young, skinny and a little more naive. As I recall, the two kids were thrilled to see where their father worked. We had to hide the girlie stuff, and instead of studying X-rated "training" films(p*rn flicks) we watched Bugs Bunny cartoons that morning while we waited for the F4s to have their usual problems.
Normally when we worked Saturdays, with little activity, some of us would have spray gun fights with the stuff; range of about 30 feet. That's the main reason I don't have much of a sense of smell anymore...
The drawback of gasoline is the volatility of the stuff, especially the fumes. Carbon Tet, while a strong cleaner, wasn't so volatile. We had a large tub filled with several gallons of the stuff, a pump keeping it circulating vigorously. I think that the father used a sponge on the kids's hair; as I said, he(and the rest of us) were very careful.

Amy said...

I shook my head at the 'if measles were lice' link. My kids' school DOES treat lice like the measles, they kick you out until you can prove you don't have them. You need both a head check (by a nurse tech that often has no clue) and you have to bring in an empty bottle of the mostly useless lice shampoo.

My boys are mostly immune since they like their hair super short on sides and back. Never got them. Luckily the one time my daughter got them, I found them and she was not kicked out and shamed at school.

I looked at the life cycle of the little suckers. Decided to smother her hair in olive oil (with a few drops of tea tree oil in it) three times, five days apart. Washed and combed after each hour long treatment. Was more labor intensive than the poison shampoo, but had the benefits of both not making my kid break out and actually working. The oil seriously helped her itchy scalp too.

Rita said...

My grandmother had a story about a neighbor woman who was using gasoline to remove oil from her husbands work clothes. She didn't like the cold gas on her hands and decided to heat it on her kitchen range. Fortunately she stepped outside to gossip with my great grandmother over the back fence just before her kitchen exploded. On the other hand, my grandmother used mange medicine to treat my dandruff as a child. What an awful smell.

mal said...

Good Lord! what people do. I'd go for lice shampoo, and if it didn't work, 1/8 inch hair cut, boy or girl.
Life's too short to fuss with these things.

I remember having lice as a kid. Three different types of lice shampoo that stank, had to stay on 20min, and burned my scalp, but didn't work, and made combing or brushing painful. I was left with scabs and a life-long phobia of lice, fleas, and having my hair combed.

With five kids, my mum must have been going thru hell, especially when our scalps started bleeding when she combed us. She finally clipped the three pre-schoolers bare, and fine combed my sister and me twice a day for about 4 weeks to get rid of them.

Candi said...

Olive oil works because it smothers the little bastards; I used it on my infant daughter after my ex's sister infest her and her brother. (He got the shaved head.) It meant making sure she was clean, fed, and then sitting her in a high chair for forty minutes. And it worked. (I've heard mayonnaise works too.) I also learned how many ways a kid can get olive oil in their toys, even in a high chair.

For adults, hair dyes murder the little pests and make them easier to see. Don't use the "herbal" things; if you can use them, you want the ones with the smelly chemicals.

Jen in Cincy said...

When the OTC remedies and Cetaphil treatment recommended by our school nurse didn't work, I got creative. "They" always say to clean hair implements in rubbing alcohol after use in lice removal so I thought, OK, rubbing alcohol kills lice. Home treatment: afflicted individual kneels and hangs his/her head over the tub, towel around shoulders & washcloth over eyes. Adult very carefully pours alcohol over the head until entire scalp is soaked. Bundle the hair into a shower cap, sit around for an hour or so (the amount of time has not been scientifically validated), remove cap, allow hair to air dry. When dry, lean over a surface like the kitchen counter and SHAKE. Watch in astonishment and disgust as you see what falls off the head...

Repeat weekly for 2-3 weeks to break the breeding cycle. Not recommended for small children or pissy adults who can't follow directions to protect their eyes. I invented this technique for my own case, caught from my daughter, because my thick hair was very long (mid-back) and the thought of the nit comb was enough to make me consider taking it all off. The rubbing alcohol approach worked like a charm & I later used it successfully on the child (age 9 or 10) too.

Anonymous said...

A thousand years ago, my daughter with Rapunzel-like hair got lice.

It took THREE bottles of RID, and 6 HOURS of nit-combing to get rid of the little bastards.

About 2 hours into the process I was sorely tempted to shave her bald. Laughing peers be damned.

Anonymous said...

I can only imagine what these people would try if they knew their kids had pin worms!! (More common than lice, creepier, and definitely not discussed as much.)

girl said...

OMG. Skip the expensive lice removal products (does RID ever work on the first try?) -- and the Draino!!! (wtf!) -- and just use mayonnaise.

Locations of visitors to this page