Friday, January 11, 2008


I totally understand that it's true that lice don't only go to dirty heads. Lice, like most parasites, are complete opportunists, absolute respecters of no person. However, I think most people still feel a healthy amount of shame when they discover a nit, or worse, a full-grown louse (yes, that's the singular form of lice).

Over ten years ago, I picked up lice while doing volunteer work at an elementary school in England. In England, the lice is some kind of super parasite, making the rounds in elementary schools everywhere, and if you work with kids, I have no idea how you avoid lice. Especially if you are naive to the problem, as I was, and let the children do your hair during recess. This is not smart. Ever.

I noticed the itching first, but I have to be honest, I didn't worry too much about it. I moved to a new area, with new companions (this was on my LDS mission) and two or three nights later, one of my companions told me how she had gotten lice earlier in her mission.

"Oh!" I said, still thinking it was funny. "Can you check my head? I've been itching something fierce!"

She whipped out her nit comb faster than a cowboy and his six-shooter. Not really, but she did have one handy, and she pulled it out to give my hair a quick run-through.

It didn't take long. Nits, nits, and more nits. And then, a full-grown louse--alive, crawling across the yellow napkin that we set it on, wondering, I am sure, where its lovely food supply had gone. Have I grossed you out enough, or should I continue?

It took me nearly TWO months to get rid of the lice completely. I had hair past my waist at the time, and lice in England are quite resistant to lice shampoo. Eventually, I had to slather my hair with conditioner EVERY DAY for two weeks and comb through my hair with a nit comb. Apparently, the conditioner makes the lice and nits slide right off. It took about FOUR hours.

I've never had my hair that long again. However, some nights when I'm laying in bed, I swear I can feel a phantom louse strolling through my hair follicles. It's a shameful sensation.


bill, katie, and co. said...

Oh, WOW! I will seriously die if I ever get lice. It's funny what you said about Phantom lice. In the fall, I saw these little white specks in Betsy's hair and I said, "OH NO YOU DON'T! This CAN'T be lice!" We examined her hair carefully, had our dr. friend examine it carefully and we never completely got a definitive answer. After a week we concluded it was just dandruff...THANK GOODNESS! But I swear I thought I had lice for about the next month. Scary what those little bugs can do for your sanity.

Leisha said...

Lice is currently my number one fear in life. If you have a child who has 'partial african american' hair that is super curly and takes forever to grow, lice quickly becomes enemy number one. A notice came home from Jacob's school about lice. I was nit-picking every head in my house. Fortunately, we were nit free....but I too feel their phantom crawl. Wait, my head is itching RIGHT now. Thanks.

D said...

I had lice as a kid. My cousin gave it to me. She got it from summer camp. It is Terrible! I still remember getting shampooed with the lice shampoo. I didn't understand why my mom was scrubbing soooooo hard! It hurt!

Valerie said...

I have heard that putting mayonnaise in your hair for a few hours will kill them, but I haven't ever needed to try it myself (thank heavens!)

marisa said...

I had the same problem on my mission in Argentina. At first I thought that may be it was the new shampoo I had bought that was making my hair it was crawling with lice! I used some "argentine concontion" (sp?) that a member had given the sisters before I arrived and it worked like a charm, I wonder what was really in it?

Tiger Lamb Girl said...

I can totally vouch for the English Super Lice. Those suckers do NOT want to give it UP. It took us weeks to get rid of the lice and nits in my children's hair.

Apparently? I'm not a tasty host. I wash my hair everyday - but they never got in my hair (despite hugging my children everyday).

Texas Mommy said...

I remember getting lice when i was a kid and my mom taking away all our toys and disinfecting them for like a month and by the time she pulled them out it was like Christmas all over again! I hugged every toy so that each one knew how much I missed it.

JustRandi said...

Ugghh. We have done the lice rounds several times since my kids were little. At least they seemed to be gone after only 2 weeks each time.
I'll be grateful for small blessings...

Brooke S said...

Yikes my sister Mindy got like on her mission to Uruguay. She is not a bug person AT ALL. She also had very long hair and has never had it as long sence. I think I would have phantom lice for every if it was me. I remember seeing lice in a little girl in Andrew's class when we lived in SLC she would go home to the Indian Reservation and come home with it almost every time. Her sweet mother was blind so she had know idea. It was also a way of life it never bothered either one of them. I hope we never get lice (knock on very hard wood).

I would love to see a picture of all the family I haven't seen you all it seems like for ever.. I will check back soon. Say hi to boy hadley. hope all is well.

Brooke S

Chus said...

This is what I think: Super Lice