Published on September 22nd, 2015 | by Richard Black0
Let There Be Lice: How to Not Treat Lice in Four Easy Steps (Part II of II)
Treating lice with an over the counter kit involves three distinct steps which doesn’t sound that bad. Nothing that takes three steps could be all that hard right? The answer is “yes” unless of course those three steps involve Congress, my extended family or, more pertinently, a lice kit.
The first step involves washing your child’s hair to remove any conditioner or adulterants that would protect the lice which is great. Who doesn’t like a shower or a nice soothing bath? If you answered a five year old at ten in the evening then ding ding ding! You’re our winner! Prisoners in Guantanamo bay have shown greater aplomb while being water boarded than my daughter displayed upon learning that she needed to take another bath two hours after her bedtime.
The second step involves spreading the Agent Orange version of an insecticidal goop over the child’s scalp before washing the toxic mess out in no less than, but also no more than, ten minutes. This is a…challenging task to say the least and one made exponentially more so when one is treating himself, his wife and a surly five year old who has just been told that she needs to take, yet another, bath.
The third and most tedious step involves pouring more goop into the child’s hair and then combing through it with a device that looks like White Trash Barbie’s mouth harp. The comb is meant to cull out both the adult vermin and their eggs or nits, a step can take anywhere from thirty minutes to a few years depending upon the level of infection.
The fourth, and unmentioned, step in the process is to make an appointment with a professional service to remove both the lice and their nits from your child’s hair because lice kits don’t work. Instead of blowing twenty five bucks on a lice kit I’d suggest you use your funds for a more worthwhile cause like donating the money to the Moonies or setting the bills on fire for heat.
It turns our that our little slice of heaven in the middle of the country is infected with a variety of lice that are…wait for it…immune to the active ingredient in lice treatment kits. They powers that be have called them, inventively enough, Super Lice and while they don’t wear capes or fly they are remarkably resilient to over the counter treatments, prescription medications and anything short of a tactical nuclear blast.
The Agent Orange goop really just knocks the adult bugs out for a while. They might look dead but just give them a chance. Put one on the windowsill and wait for a few minutes. Sooner or later the little fucker will start moving.
The adults however are the easy ones to find and kill but that’s a relative term. I’d have a better chance at convincing Anne Coulter to host a “Lesbians for Bernie Sanders” fundraiser than I would at finding all of the lice in someone’s hair. The little bastards are the size of a small gnat and can hide under just a few strands of hair. They also , apparently, possess some sixth sense and scurry for cover like little Kardashians except lice, unlike Kim and her ilk, tend avoid public attention.
As tough as the adults are to remove the nits are almost infinitely more so. Imagine combing through a young girl’s curly brown hair for little brown dots smaller than a period. Actually don’t. Take my word for it. The endeavor is akin to looking for a needle in a haystack if the needle were a small dot a millimeter in diameter and the haystack was…well a giant pile of hair the size of a haystack.
To say that nits are tiny is a gross understatement and one akin to claiming that Donald Trump is slightly misinformed or that Chernobyl was a little bit of an oopsy. That’s not, however, where the bad news ends. It’s easier to take a lit pipe out of a crack head’s hand than it is to find or even remove a nit. They are tenacious little buggers with the ability to cling to a human hair with an adhesive strong enough to suspend an elephant from a steel girder forty floors above street level.
But wait there’s more! The bad news doesn’t stop with a nit’s superhuman ability to stick to a human hair tighter than a toddler to a parent’s leg on the first day of preschool. In order to be certain one’s household isn’t blessed by a return visit every single nit needs to be removed. I’d like to repeat that. Every. Single. One.
Of course over the counter kits claim their product kills nits. This is a blatant and bald faced lie. Nothing other than removal from their host kills nits. The makers of Nix a Nit, Lice be Gone, Lice Away or whatever kit you choose are aware of this fact. If they weren’t then they wouldn’t need to emphasize the importance of the third step in the regimen in which you and your loved one spend fifteen hundred hours coming through each others hair like a bunch of gibbons.
Given the fact that the product claims to kill nits this step should be entirely superfluous. It isn’t. It’s incredibly necessary. In addition to taking up an extraordinary amount of time and patience the odds that an untrained person will find all of the nits in anyone’s hair are on par with Mike Huckabee giving Jon Stewart a hand job.
Unfortunately neither my wife nor I were aware of that fact. We both plowed methodically through our daughter’s hair for a good two and a half hours and then we went back for another hour. We found a few more bugs and many more nits before tossing in the towel, the bed sheets and any piece of fabric that had some into contact with our heads in the past 24 hours. We put our daughter to bed and then gave each others scalps a once over, an act that was precisely as erotic as it sounds.
I woke the next morning in typcial fashion with joy in my heart and a song on my lips. Actually there was no joy in my heart and the song on my lips was “I Wanna be Sedated”. Due to the massive amount of sleep deprivation I’d accrued from the previous night I’d just finished brushing my hair with my daughter’s toothbrush when I heard Laura announce with grim finality “I found another bug in Darcy’s hair.”
Clearly it was time to seek the advice and service of professionals. Delousing is apparently something of an industry and one I have never been so grateful to discover. In scope of the advances made in medicine over the past century,the contributions of Lice Busters deserve to be mentioned with Jonas Salk and Alexander Fleming in the annals of medical history.
The treatment wasn’t cheap. It cost $130 to remove all of the lice and nits from Darcy’s hair. Considering that I’d blown a hundred bucks on lice removal kits to treat my daughter, my wife and myself the night before it was the best money I’ve ever spent. Actually that’s not entirely true. As a stay at home dad and I don’t have an income so it was the best money my wife has made that I’d ever spent.
For another fifty bucks the crew at Lice Busters checked my hair as well as Laura’s. I had one nit. Laura was clean and I spent the next 72 hours, the amount of time it takes nits to die without a host, running everything with a cloth surface through the dryer on high heat. The few items that didn’t end up in the dryer (the couch, the mattress, area carpets, myself, my daughter, my wife) were bagged up for three days or vigorously vacuumed and hosed down with enough insecticidal spray to render our home essentially uninhabitable for the next three days.
I’m reasonably certain that after taking these measures my home is at least 70% lice free. Then again that figure may be a bit optimistic. It turns out that over 30% of the population in our country may currently be walking around with a head full of lice. Isn’t that something! If that doesn’t make you want to bathe in chlorine at the end of every day then I’m not sure what will.
Feel free to do so but know that lice, at least the version that lives around these parts, are only slightly inconvenienced by chlorine. Removal and heat are the only means proven to kill the beasties and with that I’m going to take a really long hot shower. Of course it won’t do any good as far as killing lice which can live without oxygen for almost twelve hours and survive temperatures up to 170 degrees Fahrenheit. I feel dirty but not 170 degrees-scald-the-skin-off-my-bones-dirty.
Good night and good luck.