Sunday, October 16, 2005

I Hates Leeses to Pieces

So, we're having a head lice scare around our neck of the woods. Oh. So. Dull.

Three weeks ago, Sprout's caregiver learned that her friend (who also takes care of children in her home) had a child in her daycare with head lice. So, for two weeks, they didn't allow their charges to fraternize and it seemed like all had cleared up. Late last week, they all got together for a day of play, and then 3 hours after our group returned to Sue's house, she got a call from the other woman - "Check all your kids - now the sister of the girl who had it first has it!"

We love our caregiver, especially because she is always straight with us about the tough stuff. (Like "Sprout was hitting people today, and spent some time standing in the corner for it.")(Proud parental moment.)

So, we heard all about the lice threat when we went to pick up our little man that evening. We have been checking his head anxiously for days now, and if something is going to happen, it will be within the next few days. I have also been reading health care articles on head lice (is horrifying to read articles sometimes) and have learned the following fact: the active ingredient in most medicated head lice shampoos is a central nervous system toxin. Somehow this appalls me. But what did I think kills all those little critters? Liquid marshmallows??

Sprout has eczema, and although he hasn't had an outbreak in about 5 months, we did put steriodal creams on his head for about a year to combat it. If I remember correctly, steroidal creams can thin the skin. This fact, and the fact that he has sensitive skin/eczema in the first place, makes me really, really, REALLY not want to put a central nervous system toxin on his head.

On the 'bright' side, the good thing about reading health care articles is that now I know that you shouldn't do the lice shampoo treatment as a preventative measure because it doesn't work that way. It only kills live, hatched bugs. It doesn't keep them from getting there. And because the shampoo is so toxic, you can only use it every 7-10 days anyway. Why use up one of your chances on nothing.

The selfish id part of myself, of course, is also worried about getting lice myself. I have been itchy ever since I heard the news, and nothing has happened yet. Sprout still sleeps with us, so if he gets it, we get it. Can't cope with that idea. Especially since Jim reminded me that lice don't just live in the hair on your head but on any hair on your body. Omigod. A doctor we know has seen people have lice so bad that they have lice on their eyelashes. It's not my EYELASHES that are giving me the heebies.

And once I finally get over the ickies and greeblies of thinking about having lice, the boring reality sets in. If we get lice, then we have to wash every item of clothing, towel, sheet, rug, and pillow we've had contact with recently, and stop sitting on couches and chairs for at least two days. Am not happy about this.

Need kick in pants. Must remind myself that I am not homeless and bereaved in Pakistan. What's a few prospective bugs in a life that has a family, a house, a bed, fresh water, and a full refrigerator. It is shamefully hard to keep it all in perspective.


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