There it was, the two words that I had been dreading since my daughter started school: HEAD LICE. Big, bold and sent home in a letter of notification that she had squeezed into her tiny little zip-up dress pocket. My daughter had head lice.
I remember when I was a kid and was sent home a number of times from primary school after it was discovered in the assembly line that I had head lice. The teacher who was marching up and down the rows of fidgety kids lightly tapped me on the shoulder, motioned for me to follow her, and told me that I had bugs in my hair and had to go home. I was humiliated and horrified, in equal measures.
Since becoming a mum myself, my memories of these itchy little buggers have come flowing right back. But what I’ve learnt is how not to hit the panic button – in my daughter’s latest head lice encounter, I simply looked at the situation at hand and rolled out my plan of attack.
The process, which I now swear by, went a little like this.
Step one: Get educated.
I consulted the experts. I went to the website of the best head lice busters I know, MOOV, and learned the following about head lice:
- Head lice is super common among children. In fact, 50 percent of Australians are affected by head lice in their lifetime.
- Although it may feel like a task ahead, it’s easily treated and there are many great pharmacy products available.
- One treatment is not enough! You need to treat the hair THREE times to effectively kill all lice and their eggs.
- Prevention is better than a cure - MOOV has a preventative spray to protect your children when they’re back in the playground (the MOOV Defence Spray).
- The truth is, head lice won’t make you or anyone else sick. They’re not deadly or infectious, they’re just uncomfortable.
Step two: Pre-treatment prep.
OK, I might've gone a bit overboard here. I washed all linen, hats and other items that could've come into contact with an infected head. I felt better in myself knowing that she would have new sheets and pillowcase and that her hat, if it accidentally ended up on someone else’s head at school, wouldn’t share the itches and scratches.
Until I found out that lice doesn't spread through pillowcases...so I didn't have to bother with all of that. Can't blame a mama for trying!
Step three: Apply treatment one.
If there is one time that I am a huge advocate for planting my daughter smack-bang in front of the TV, it is when I am treating her for head lice. I feel no shame about this whatsoever, I would much rather her be singing along with Barbie than her combing her fingers through the cool, wet solution that eases the itchiness on her scalp.