Thursday, October 7, 2010

Listerine and lice

The girls' stupid doctor wouldn't give us ivermectin on Tuesday. And my family doctor hasn't called me back yet to go over how he would handle the problem. So, I took it upon myself to use my Google Degree to combat the chronic lice issue plaguing my girls.

After extensive research, I decided on the Listerine method.

First you douse the hair with Listerine, taking great care to avoid getting it in their eyes. Then you cover the hair with a shower cap and let it sit for about an hour. I tucked two washcloths in around their forehead and the back of their neck to catch the drips. Then we rinsed it out.

I decided that the nit comb is the part we all hate the most. I know it's important and all. But spending over an hour combing through tiny sections of their hair piece by piece is just about the worst way to spend an evening ever. The girls can't stand it. And after three hours of monotonous combing, and fussing, and whining, and complaining, I'm usually just about insane. (FYI: all parties involved fuss, whine and complain...even me.)

So our deal was that tonight, I would just use the nit comb to groom their hair like normal. As long as I was pulling bugs out with it, I'd keep combing. But I wouldn't be as meticulous as I had been all the other times.

This time we groomed with the nit comb while in the tub. Before tonight I had tried sitting on the floor and using tissues to wipe off the comb (as suggested on the Rx box). I had also tried sitting next to the sink using running water (as suggested on the OTC gel). We decided that a plop in the bathtub would be the fastest way tonight. By the time I was done with MissArguePants, she had somewhere around 40-50 bugs floating around her. (Keep in mind I did the permethrin treatment just 9 days ago and pulled tons of bugs that night too.) TurtleTurtle didn't get as many bugs but I think it might be because I had her wash the hair spray out of her hair before I put the Listerine in. I'm wondering if starting with dry hair might be more effective.

The cool science part of this is that the FDA just recently approved the use of benzyl alcohol for the treatment of drug resistant lice. From everything I can gather, the alcohol in Listerine works in the same way. Benzyl alcohol lotion inhibits lice from closing their respiratory spiracles which allows the product to penetrate lice, causing them to asphyxiate. It appears the same thing happens with Listerine. I'm not sure how well known the benzyl alcohol lotion is to most doctors. And from what I could tell out on the web, it's quite expensive.

The Listerine was cheap and was way easier than spending hours in the doctor's office and then the pharmacy. Sure, it smells pretty strong. The girls complained! But even they could see all the dead lice and were pleased with the results. And because there's no harm to the girls (unlike repeated applications of pesticides) we can do this treatment as frequently as we want. So, we agreed that we'll do this every other day for a week or so. By doing this treatment frequently over the course of at least 8 days, we should catch the full cycle of live lice on their heads and kill all those blasted things.

I'll keep you posted.


Cheryl said...

Eww and awesome all at the same time! =) I am hoping they can get rid of the lice for good!!!

Leah W said...

i hope it works!!!

jendoop said...

Thanks for sharing your great tip. I will file it away for the future, but I really hope I never need it!

Your fierceness has got to be a comfort to the girls. Not only that you are willing to stand up for them to other adults, but also that you won't give up on ridding them of lice. The fights you have aren't easy, but they may play a part in the girls' healing.