I searched through many of my old posts and this story seemed to jump out at me, begging me to share once more. Sometimes in our lives we feel over whelmed and burdened down. We feel we cannot help or do for others for the lack of time or energy. Our plates are over flowing at such a rate that if we are asked to do one more thing, we may just lose any sanity we think we have left.
Working as a School Nurse, I witnessed many lice cases. Our school policy was to send them home if they had live lice. The school district had a 'No Live Lice' policy, but the children could attend school if they had nits.
At one time the school did "mass" head checks, but they found through the years this was not productive and demeaning to the children who had lice throughout the year. By having mass head checks this meant going from classroom to classroom and checking heads. The children who had chronic lice were separated from the other children and parents were called to pick up their child.
Sadly, this meant that many of the same children had lice and was targeted time and again. For some parents this was proactive, as they did not want their children to get lice. Most parents who diligently took care of their children's hair were not so understanding of parents who neglected their children over and over. I can see their point, but on the other hand, there was a whole other side to this scenario.
Most children will get lice at least once in their school experience. Children are always hugging, sharing things, and sitting close during story time, in the cafeteria, and on the bus. It is unavoidable.
Most parents are mortified when their child gets lice. They are scared of what others will think of them. I used to receive a phone call at least once a day from a concerned parent stating their child had came home with lice.
The fact that lice love clean hair really disproves the theory that only dirty people get lice. That simply is not true. Lice do not fly or jump. One louse can lay one hundred eggs or more at one time. The best treatment is to pull all the nits out. You may use over the counter lice products, but unless you become a "nitpicker" most likely, they will hatch and the cycle will start again.
Sometimes a parent will treat their child and are horrified to find lice in their child's hair one month later; thinking their child has acquired lice once again. They storm the school swearing their child caught lice once more.
It is very possible that all the nits were not removed, thus starting the cycle again. All nits need to be removed! It is a daunting task, but it is the only sure cure. Some lice are resistant to over the counter treatments.
A natural treatment does not kill the lice, but it does help with the removal of those little pests.
Vinegar and Olive Oil for the Removal of Lice and Nits
Mix one-half Vinegar and one-half water in a spray bottle.
Saturate the hair. This will loosen the nits on the hair shaft.
Separate the hair into little sections, using a wire nit comb.
Start at the base of the scalp and run down the piece of hair.
Wipe the comb on a paper towel each time and go to the next section of hair.
Then spray Olive oil on the hair and start the removal the same way.
This may take a while so do not get discouraged.
You do not have to cut the hair when you remove the nits.
Make sure you run the lice comb through the hair every day for a couple weeks.
Put the hair up for school if you are able.
Instruct your child about sharing hats and combs.
Place all stuffed animals in your child's room in a plastic bag and keep closed for a few days and then wash them.
Vacuum rugs and wash all bedding.
Recently it was on the news about a young child who was left unattended and suffocated from a needless tragedy.
Never leave a young child unattended!
Never place a plastic bag over the child's scalp.
As you know, lice control became part of my nursing duties every day. I can safely say I became an expert in this endeavor. Did I enjoy removing lice? Surely not! That would just be plain weird. However, when I focused on the little one affected by these pesky bugs, I saw a need that had to be met. My heart instantly changed. It no longer was something I dreaded, but almost a calling. Calling one nurse to remove lice...never would I believe "nit picking and lice removing" to be part of my nursing duties until coming into a school environment.
God gave me the Grace to move forward.
There was this little girl in Kindergarten who taught me about love and lice. I will forever remember this sweet angel. She came into the nurse office on a regular basis. She kept lice. I would send her home repeatedly, only for her to return to school with live lice still in her hair.
Her attendance was atrocious and she was failing. She had sores on her head from scratching so badly. Her scalp would bleed. My heart broke for her. I called CPS, after trying to talk with the parents many times, sending her home, and even buying lice supplies for the family. This went on year after year but nothing changed.
Sadly, this is the bottom of the CPS "to do" list. There are a lot more pressing situations involving life and death concerning children.
I usually saw sixty to seventy children a day in the clinic so sending her home was the only thing I felt I could handle at the time. I would tell myself there was no way I can clean this child's hair and run a clinic. I am only one nurse!
She was sent down by her teachers daily, the same little girl, scratching her head in class until it would bleed. One day I looked at her hair to once again see tons of bugs crawling on her bloody scalp. I felt this raging anger building up inside of me. I was tired of watching this baby go through this.
If not me...who?
I said to myself, "This is it! I do not care how busy I am, I am going to help this little one!"
I attempted to call mom, but as usual I could not get an answer. I wanted to get her permission to use the natural hair care method in removing the lice. Without having any choice but to pull the bugs from her hair, I began to do the unthinkable.
I began to comb her hair, saturating her hair with Olive oil. With each stroke, the lice fell out. It took me two long hours of constant combing the first day to remove all the live bugs. The children would come in for other problems and I would wash my hands, take care of them, and then get back to work on removing the lice.
Teachers would peak in and shake their heads in disbelief. Other students would come in and ask questions. Children are naturally curious and do not always have the best tact. They would ask questions concerning why she was in the clinic? What was I doing to her? I would tell them that they should not ask about why other students come in here. Would they like it if I told others about why they came in? Of course, one curious little boy who always urinated in his pants was quick to exit the clinic. He got what I was saying loud and clear.
I could see the shame and the embarrassment on this little girls face, but I continued to comb her hair. I talked about many things, from silly to serious. Anything to get a smile out of her. I pulled the live bugs out daily so she could be in class and then when I had time, we would work on the nits.
I told her how beautiful she was and I reassured her that this happens to many children. I told her I was happy to help her. After a month of pulling nits out, she was lice free. The sores on her head had healed. Each time I combed through her hair, I would braid her hair with colorful rubber bands. I got very creative. She had very long hair so this was a task to say the least.
It did not stop there! For the next three years of school, I cared for her. Her teachers were understanding and always worked around her hair appointment at the nurse office. It was not just about the lice. This child never spoke any words to me for the first year. She would nod her head yes or no. The second year she told me how she had been molested, and was going to counseling. She shared how no one ever hugged her at home.
One day I realized... I was combing love into that child's hair.
Love and Lice, who would have thought the two would go together.
She soon moved to another school, but I will always remember her. Did I enjoy pulling lice out of her hair? Maybe not at first, but after a while, I forgot about the bugs and saw this precious child for who she was. She was a child of God, precious in every way.
You never know how God can use a situation. It changed me on the inside. Not everything in life is as it seems.
Do Love and Lice go together, I believe in this instance they did!
For without the lice, this precious child may not have ever received a loving touch, a connection to someone who could show her she was cared about. Without lice, she may have not opened up about her home life. Without lice, I would have never had the chance to get to know her. Without the lice, my heart would have never been touched in such a dramatic way.
My hope is that no child will have to live with a chronic lice problem and that a parent will take care of it promptly.
To all the School Nurses out there! It is possible you may feel there is no time, but believe me...when you are called to do the unthinkable, the time will be made for you.
Some may feel it is not their responsibility, but I ask you this one very important question.