Get the creme rinse, not the shampoo. They both do the same thing, but the creme rinse is way easier to apply and covers more uniformly.
You still have to do that fine-tooth comb thing. The box says it will kill everything in just one application, but then it says after that you still need to comb through the hair and get all the nits (eggs) and bugs. Huh? I called them up and asked them why I had to if they were already dead - couldn't I just wash them all out? Well, the bugs will probably be gone at that point. At least WG's were, I think there were a total of 3. But the eggs are still there GLUED TO THE STRAND, though if they are close to hatching, are more permeable and have probably been killed. But the NEWER eggs aren't as permeable and the creme rinse probably didn't get to them. THAT'S why they insist you do one more treatment with the creme rinse 7 days after that - to kill those buggers because by then, they'll be able to be killed.
Those egg things are almost invisible. They stick like glue to the hair and won't come off. I read somewhere that they may seem like teeny flecks of dandruff, but won't move, unlike dandruff. So just washing and scrubbing the hair won't get rid of them. The husband got that fine toothed comb - a metal one, the plastic ones don't work - and went through the hair for 2 hours the first night with a huge flood light on her head. I sat next to the husband with a pair of scissors and cut each strand he found with an egg thing. Her hair is so fine that brushing with the comb doesn't shake 'em loose - we wondered if maybe that happens with people with thicker hair? I think the kids must have watched at least 87 episodes of Cyberchase while we looked and cut (it felt like it!). It took a long time to find the eggs because we didn't know what we were looking for. They are BARELY visible to the naked eye, just these tiny bumps a few millimeters from the scalp that do NOT come off. No picture on the internet helped us find them, because they seemed so much smaller on her head.
The next night we had cous cous at dinner and the Dude got it all stuck up in his hair. I WISH those egg things were that visible. That'd be awesome. And easier.
Don't just look where the child says it itches. You have to look everywhere. The back of WG head was where we'd found all the irritation from the little buggers, but the eggs were mostly on other parts of her head.
You do not need to boil your entire house. The clothes, linens and brushes are the most important part. This website was super helpful. The best part was this tidbit:
We searched the floors of 118 primary school classroom carpets for head lice while the pupils were out of the classroom. We also checked the children's heads. We found no lice (ZERO!) on the floors and 14,033 lice on the heads of the 2000 or so children using those classrooms. To treat head lice concentrate on the head!So I washed all the linens and dirty clothes I could find in the hottest water we had - plus her car seat cover, and vacuumed and such, but I remembered this part and it made me a little less psycho. Although my skin still crawls a bit at the thought of it all. We got lucky - no one else in the house got them except for poor WG - we all share brushes too! Not anymore - I bought new ones today.
It did feel good to tidy and vacuum, though, as if I had some power over THAT at least. It was my mental healing, I think.
They can't jump. They can't live very long without a host. They can only be gotten by touching an infected person's head with your head, or something they wear that touches their head. So I realized all those tiny dots jumping off Pigpen from Peanuts must have been fleas, not lice. Who knew?
You are going to feel like the worst mother on the planet. If you're anything like me, anyway. If you are healthy and well-adjusted, you'd understand that this is not your fault, that lice are actually attracted to CLEAN hair and those darn bugs don't care if you are wealthy, poor, neat or messy. They just care if you have a scalp. When the school called me to tell me, I almost yelled into the phone - "I'm sorry, you must be mistaken - I have a GOOD kid. She plays the violin and piano and my kitchen is spotless right now!" But at some point, she tried on some other kid's hat and voila!
Prevention? Aside from getting my insane kids to listen to what I say, I've also heard lots of ideas on how to prevent getting it. The ones I'm going to try are: 1. Leave in conditioner 2. Hairspray 3. Some lice prevention spray I snagged at the grocery store that has lots of essential oils in it and is essentially a detangler. The reasoning behind these is that since the buggers dislike dirty hair and it makes it harder for them to stick to the hair shaft, have some kind of product on there to make it less hospitable. We'll try it and see if it does anything. Her hair will smell great, anyway!
Also, have some good girlfriends to call and whine to. That really helped! And I hope this is never ever helpful to any of my dear readers!!