My son came home with a notice from the school nurse -- another case of head lice has been diagnosed. I'm supposed to look for signs in my own children and take all the necessary steps to prevent an infestation.
Okay, so confession: I didn't even know what a head louse looked like before I dug up this really good YouTube video showing one of the critters in action. For some reason I always pictured them as little white bugs, but as you can see, they are just brown ugly with no wings. They don't have hind legs for jumping, they just crawl and scurry all over the place. [Shivers.]
But now that I know I'm going to be paying a lot more attention, and will take some preventative steps I haven't bothered with before, namely ...
- Asking my child not to share combs, brushes or hair decorations.
- Making sure he doesn't try on hats that belong to other children.
- If he's invited on a sleepover, I'll be sure to pack his or her own pillow and towels.
- I'll be on the lookout for lice eggs, also called nits, which look like tiny, oval shaped, white or clear dots. Nits usually stick at an angle on hair shafts.
Apparently, sleepovers are a pretty common place to pick up lice from other children, judging from posts in some of the groups.
I can deal with the constant colds and the occasional stomach bugs, but please please please don't let my son come home with lice. Those pesticide treatments scare me and I've heard they don't work very well. Some moms swear by Listerine -- the alcohol and natural herbs in the mouthwash kill the nits, apparently.
Do you check your child regularly for head lice, or take any preventative steps? How did you deal with your child's infestation?