Saturday, March 15, 2014

Me vs. The Buggies

I'm on my 39th load of laundry this week (give or take).  My comforter and duvet cover and one fluffy seat cushion are drying on the balcony in the sort of warm sun.  Last weekend it was curtains and the other seat cushions and sheets.  And there's a host of other bed clothes and the couch's slipcover which are in garbage bags tucked away where I can find space and which are awaiting their turn in the spin cycle. 

And everything smells faintly of lavendar as apparently this is repulsive to head lice.

Head lice have become my number one enemy since Juliette has had a few mild cases of them this year. Strangely I never saw one bug or egg until this, her third year of pre-school.  (I will not gross you out with photos of head lice, but feel free to Google it if you're a masochist.)  And to make matters worse, the cat has fleas.  He's an inside cat!  But he had some scabs on his ear and when the vet used her special comb she found a few live fleas and plenty of flea poop (uh, sorry if you were eating).  And that was just from combing one small area of his fur. 

So that's why I have had to go into Extreme Cleaning Mode.  Again.  Thankfully my husband got us a kick-a** Hoover vacuum last summer (don't worry, I told him appliances are cool but not really romantic gifts).  But it was a wise choice considering how many surfaces need to be vacuumed with the double whammy of fleas and lice. 

I haven't even gotten around to mopping the floors or even completely combing poor Catki (but I did buy the brush). 

Meanwhile I'm becoming well-versed on anti-lice and anti-flea techniques.  It seems lice don't like lavendar or tea tree oil so spreading this on scarves and the backs of shirts can repel them from your child's head.  However, for kids under 12 avoid putting essential oils on their skin, since my pharmacist said this can have adverse effects on them if it gets in their bloodstream.  I've been putting it in the laundry though. 

White vinegar kills lice well but try spreading it on your kid's scalp and there will be crying!  The pediatrician said you can comb it in mesh by mesh to avoid the acid getting in their eyes.  But it does work well cleaning hairbrushes and combs.  I tried a lotion called EcoPrioderm that supposedly kills the lice by suffocation as it's very oily.  They say this prevents lice from becoming resistant as it's a physical and not chemical method.

As for fleas, I went ahead and treated the carpet, chair and couch with an anti-flea product that had to stay on 3 hours while we got out of the house.  But I've since read that spreading salt and baking soda on your carpet overnight and rubbing it in with the broom will kill fleas and eggs.  But don't let your cat or kid on the carpet during this time as the salt could get on them.

Meanwhile, I pray I won't see Juliette scratching her head again.  Or me for that matter.  And I am feeling very tired from all this EXTRA cleaning AND a lingering head cold AND a regular work week!  Is it too early to think about a vacation?


Jenenz said...

Head lice was the one thing that I feared the most. E went through elementary and jr. high school and avoided the breakouts that would happen. When she went to High School, I thought, "great, she's past the lice age! Hurrah for high school." Well, she got head lice as a freshman! The choir were sharing santa hats and as luck would have it, one of the girls had head lice and it spread through sharing santa hats. Ho Ho Ho!

Lice aren't prejudice, they love all human beings. I'm sending you lots of lice-repellent power so that J will not get another infestation. I declare this the end of the lice party.

Holly Nelson @ English Girl Canadian Man said...

I feel your pain...not with the head lice, but with the fleas! When we rescued the cat over s=xmas, she somehow had fleas despite the extreme outside temperatures we rescued her from, which she passed to the dog. It was so hard to get rid of them! Soon tick season will be here. Boy, that's always fun!

Michelle said...

I also hate the lice!! We've been free of them for almost a year now, ever since I started using a product the hairdresser recommended. It's based on natural oils and lavender, but safe for children. I put a drop on the scalp and behind the ears every morning before school, and we've had no lice since then!! To get rid of them from the hair, the best method is definitely hair conditioner and a lice comb, they can't grip onto conditioned hair so they slip out with the comb. You need to do it every 2-3 days, to catch the hatching lice and after a couple weeks you should be rid of them.

Mil said...

Thanks for the advice, Michelle! Would love to know the name of that product with lavendar.