the week from hell

Last week was one for the books.
But we made it out alive on the other end.


First Lucy and Clara came down with the flu and had 103 fevers for days in a row.

At one point Lucy started hallucinating.
(which, if your child has ever done that, it’s the freakiest thing).
She gave me a rundown of crazy talk—through a stream of tears—and I asked “do you know who I am??”
She cried again. “Yes! You’re the Galaxy…..”
(Which…I guess I’ll take as a compliment.  I sorta was their Galaxy for the week)
( )

So, the fevers finally broke after 5 days, after a lot of coughing (and continuous Peppa Pig episodes)
But in the middle of it, Clara woke up screaming with an ear infection.
And on Wednesday night right before bed, I discovered that all three kids had lice.

I always knew lice was coming one day.  It’s that dreaded fear in the back of your mind….the quiet worry that inevitably bubbles it’s way to the top.  And in most instances, in the most inconvenient time possible.

I know.
When does lice ever happen at the “right” time?

So I picked bugs and nits from Lucy’s feverish head, listening to “ouch” on repeat.
There were a lot of tears, for hours.
And more picking.
And we shaved Owen’s head.
And I did 15 loads of laundry.

And…I really don’t mean for this to be a complain fest.
Because somehow it all comes to an end and life goes back to normal (which it finally did on Saturday!  Yay!)  And there are always some bright spots in the chaos.

Like warm showers.
And a warm dinner dropped off by your sister-in-law.

A husband who takes time off work to help you.
A basket on your doorstep from a friend, filled with cleaning supplies and chocolate.
And kids who are suddenly happy again.

And there’s always some comfort knowing that someone else is going through a tough week too.
So if you’re having a rough one, hang in there!!  We feel ya!
We promise there’s a light at the end.
And hopefully chocolate.

And please.
Please will someone share their expert tips for keeping lice away??
That whole process has so much room for error.
Cause if I happened to miss one tiny white nit, the color of my kids hair….
We’re in trouble…

Here’s to a better week for everyone!

  1. 1) Amy

    Ack, what a week! We just had lice recently in our family too, such a pain! One thing that has helped is adding tea tree oil to our shampoo since all bugs hate that stuff. You might only want to use that mixture once a week or so though because the oil will start to dry out your scalp if you use it regularly….

  2. 2) Leslie

    tea tree oil in suppose to repel lice, you can put a drop in their shampoo just don’t let it get in their eyes. We dealt with lice last year for the first time and yes such a pain and came at the worst time. I washed my girls hair with the lice shampoo about 3x, now sure if your suppose to do that

    • I’m all for tea tree oil. It’s natural and lice hat it. I have a tea tree anti-lice spray that you spray in their hair before brushing. I also add tea tree oil to their shampoo.

      • 4) Jen

        We do this too!

  3. 5) Frugalmom

    If you haven’t already gotten one, the Licemeister comb. It will get the nits. Also the video tutorials for combing on we did coconut oil mixed with tea tree oil for an hour on the hair before we combed it out. Comb again in 7 days. And again in 7 days. One of my daughters has hair the exact color of the lice and nits so the only thing I could do was comb her hair. She is also tender headed and has very thick hair so I had to divide it into tiny sections with clips. It took a couple hours to do her head. 4 of my kids had it at the same time.

    • 6) Darci

      I also used coconut oil mixed with a little tea tree oil and let it sit for a couple hours. My 6yo and I had lice last year and got it taken care of pretty quickly

  4. We use tea tree oil as well. But I put it in the de-tangle spray we use every morning. I’m crossing my fingers that it works! We’ve been lucky so far.

  5. 8) Lice Veteran

    I found putting a drop or two of the tea tree oil on the crown of the head works best- it’s a place the lice hang out, and you don’t have to worry about getting it in the kids’ eyes!

    Good luck…..

  6. So sorry! Right now it’s me that’s really sick and we’re finding out it’s hard for mom to be sick for days and days too!

    • 10) Dana

      Ugggh. I hope you feel better soon!! That was one of the few blessings last week….that I didn’t get sick. So I hope you’re able to be Mom again!

  7. Wishing you a much happier week this week full of smiles and sunshine. 🙂

  8. 12) Lauren

    Oh man, what a week!!! That is a LOT for one mom to handle. I’m so glad you all survived, and I hope you had a lot of chocolate/coffee/wine/whatever helps you to make it through! xoxo

  9. 13) JennA

    It’s the re-infecting part we’ve struggled with. I have been most successful when I’ve tossed every bow, hair brush, comb, etc and replacing the pillows. I cried bc I had some of those bows for 7 years. But even boiling or throwing in the washing machine didn’t work. Hair in a pony tail at school is important too. My kids are trained to never, ever put anything on their heads that isn’t theirs, too.

    • 14) Tailored

      It was recommended to me to put everything in a plastic garbage bag, tie it up and wait until the eggs have all had time to hatch (6 to 9 days). Once the eggs hatch, the lice have to eat blood right away or they will die and adult lice will die in 1-2 days with no blood supply. I put all our stuff in a plastic bag for about a month and washed everything and it was fine.

    • 15) Cammie

      When I was in elementary school I got lice from the softball helmets! Our whole team had it. It was awful! After that we always wore hats and I was so paranoid about playing softball.

  10. Oh Dana! You are amazing! We got the lice letter from school so I freaked out and put tea tree oil in all our shampoos. Then I made everyone saturate their hair in olive oil and wear a shower cap for the evening. haha. They sat on towels in their underwear and watched TV. I hear mayonnaise, olive oil, and even cetaphil face wash works better than the lice shampoo. You want to suffocate them. They can in a sense hold their breath for hours, so keep the stuff on their heads for as long as possible, overnight if they can stand it. Then repeat the treatment 7 to 10 days later so you can catch any lingering nits/eggs you missed the first time, before they mature and start reproducing. The lice shampoos don’t really work anymore since they are developing immunity to them (!!!) Now, before they go to school I spray their heads, back of back packs and jacket hoods with a mixture of mostly water, tea tree oil, lavender oil, and rosemary. You want to use tea tree oil sparingly, as it can be pretty strong and dry out their skin and scalp, but it seems to help repel them. I have also heard that the terminator comb (I think it’s like $10 on Amazon) is amazing at combing out nits. Put conditioner or oil in their hair to loosen the grip of the nits first. I know…I sound crazy. But I was totally traumatized as a kid. I had looong hair and kept getting it over and over. My parents finally burned some of my stuffed animals <—- trauma. tized. haha…they were desperate as you can imagine.

    • 17) Dana

      Fantastic info! Thanks Delia!
      I just bought the Terminator Fairy Tales comb 🙂

  11. 18) Rebecca

    I rarely use the lice shampoos. Cheap conditioner and a metal nit comb work just as well. Just repeat it every week until you have 2 weeks with no lice or eggs. Its annoying, but nontoxic. I have 3 girls with thick, waist length hair, so I have been known to cry when one of them comes home with the note from school saying someone in their class has nits, and I have to check all 3 of them to be safe.

  12. 19) Ellen

    When it comes to lice, I believe in poison. Lots of lice poison. There is a prescription called sklice that kills the eggs too. After the OTC stuff resulted in a relapse I paid the money for the prescription. Worth every bit of the $75. Only one of my 4 kids got it somehow which is amazing since she’d been itching her head for DAYS before I realized that she did not have a problem rinsing her shampoo. On a funny note, a glittery red cape made it in the washer with the stuffed animals. All those stuffed critters came out covered in red gluey sequins. We like to say they went in with lice and came out with chicken pox LOL.

    • 20) JennA

      Ha! Yes, I believe the same thing. Poison…kill those suckers! We are super ‘organic’ here and those treatments just weren’t working for us. My SIL laughed at the ‘poisons’ I was putting on my kids heads. I could smell the stuff for days. But, it worked. Lice stinks.

    • 21) Tailored

      The nurse at school recommended Dawn dishwashing soap. It desiccates the lice and ended up working better than the poison lice shampoo. It completely washes away all natural oils though so you have to use conditioner afterwards. She also said lice prefer clean heads because it’s easier to lay their eggs on the hair shaft, so I use gel and spray on my kids to discourage lice from infecting them.

  13. Oh, that’s just terrible. We had the flu last week too. It was awful. I am vowing to never get it again. Flu shots, give me two!

    I have heard that tea tree is a good lice repellent. I don’t know how/if it really works but after a scare at preschool I have started using Trader Joes Tea Tree Tingle conditioner mixed into the water spray bottle that we use to do hair before school in the mornings. It works great as a morning detangler/bed head tamer and I hope it’s deterring the lice too.

  14. We went through and incident with lice last year and it totally stressed me out. We went to a salon that specializes in lice and not removal. Their suggestion was to comb out the kids’ hair once a week, every week, we do Sunday nights, until they can pay for the removal themselves. We bought a lice comb and are pretty faithful about combing.

    The logic behind once a week comb outs is that the life cycle of the louse happens in 7-10 day increments so you should be able to catch the next occurrence before a full blown infestation.

    Glad everyone is on the mend!

    • 24) misspegotty

      That’s the best solution. Combing, combing and combing. There’s also another solution for children having continuous relapses (usually caused by someone elese whose parents can’t be bothered to get rid off lice) and that is dyeing their hair. Lice can’t stick on dyed hair. It works like magic!

  15. 25) Ilyse

    Lice – my worst fear. Thankfully my husband got the call from school and not me (so he could break it to me much nicer). We have a lice removal place here that we took the girls too (there are many different ones in different places). They actually remove the nits and eggs all without poison. The place we went to also has a dehydrating process that kills them all. It’s expensive (understatement), but totally worth it. As far as prevention, they sell a spray that I use on the kids heads every morning before school, dance and movie theaters! And now my head itches. Good luck!

  16. You had me at …. HILARIOUS…{now….}

    As for lice, YUCK, YUCK, YUCK! Years ago, I was “that first year teacher” that thought one of her students had fleas, so I proceeded to pick a louse out of a child’s hair and flick it across the classroom. NI-ICE, huh??!?! Worst case the school has ever seen…

    • 27) Dana

      haha. Okay. Wow! That’s the best/craziest/saddest lice moment I’ve heard 🙂 I’m glad you became a better teacher. haha

  17. 28) Cass

    Oy, we’ve done the lice song and dance before. It is not fun! My best tip: flat iron. My middle daughter has white blonde hair that is as fine as silk. We were on the lice treadmill for weeks with her. I couldn’t comb out every egg. It didn’t matter how many times I poured over her head, counting every strand of hair. I was ready to shave her head one day when I thought of the flat iron. I cranked that sucker up and went over every strand of her hair. I wasn’t able to comb out every egg but I could fry the heck out of them. If there were any in her hair they were cooked. After the flat iron we didn’t see any more live bugs and she didn’t have a relapse. I flat ironed my other girl’s hair too…just to be sure. Good luck! I hope you never have to do the lice song and dance again.

    • 29) Mandy

      Yes! the flat Iron!!
      this was almost a reward for us as kids..
      my mother was at the head shaving point as well, and to be honest we had everything from the chemist stuff > tea tree oil > kerosine in our hair over the years…. getting rid of them wasnt the issue it was the reapearing / cross contamination at school.

      a few things worked for us really.. and you need to do ALL kids every time.
      id stop buying the over inflated chemist brands, the tea tree or kerosine idea both work (they sound harsh, but they are not. the smell is actually the worst part & thats what kills them /stops the break out) mum used to reward us with nice conditioner and ironing our hair flat… the ironing of the hair singes the last of them out.

      and finally.. we used to cover everything in aerogard before we went to school. dad would spray our hats & with our eyes closed our hair. and even a shot of hair spray – the idea being that you have a protective coating. & do it every day before heading to school. – trust me.

      • 30) Dana

        Flat iron! Never would have thought of that.
        Fantastic! Thanks 🙂

  18. 31) Tina C.

    I have a friend with girls who have lots of long thick hair and after a huge lice ordeal where they used just about every otc remedy (including oil, cetaphil, etc.), my friend swears by she uses a mint leave in spray from them every day and her girls haven’t had lice since.

  19. 32) Erin

    Oh we’ve been there! So unfun. Treat with an OTC lice treatment and repeat after a week to catch the lice at the end of their life cycle. There is resistance to OTC lice treatments so I recommend wet combing every 2-3 days for 2 weeks. I like the comb from Fairy Tales. They carried them at the cartoon cuts at the mall. Worth the investment, way better than the cheap ones at the drug store. Get those metal hair clips hair dressers use to help separate the hair, cheap condotioner and one of those long tipped combs to help seperate hair, and a squirt bottle. Make very small sections and comb each section in every direction and wipe on a paper towel each time. And get lots of movies. Pretty soon you can do a head of hair in half a movie. Don’t forget to treat yourself! Also, vacuum couches and carpets. We did this a few times a week until we were clear. Anything that can’t be washed gets bagged and put away for at least 2 weeks (we did 3-4 to be safe). Wash anything you can on high and dry on high. Be really aggressive and it won’t haunt you forever. Good luck! It seems awful in the beginning because it is, but it will become a distant memory soon enough!

    P.S. The CDC website is a pretty good resource.

  20. 33) Emily

    Lice is the WORST. My two kids had it last fall, and so did I! Ick!! I missed three days of work and we ended up shaving our son’s head.

    Now we keep our hats and hairbrushes all separate… Hopefully this means we don’t ALL get it next time.

  21. 34) Genifer

    Uuuuuugggghhh! I discovered lice on both of my girls on October 12, 2013. Yes, I was so horrified that I will forever remember the exact day. I was 8 months pregnant with baby #3 and hubby had just left that morning for a weekend hiking trip. Neither one of my girls had had a haircut in ten months so combing through their hair was a nightmare. I did ridiculous amounts of laundry and furiously cleaned my house. When hubby came home I had him check my hair and I had it too. The licemeister comb is definitely a must and now I spray my girls’ hair every morning with diluted tea tree oil and so far we’ve not had any more cases.

  22. 35) Mary

    Haven’t read the other comments so maybe I’m repeating something but the Nita don’t like heat. Blow drying hair can help. Also, there’s a really great metal nit comb (way better than the plastic ones you get in the kit called “Nit Free’ that does a great job at catching the nits. Been there three times–the first time we ALL had it (thank you co-sleeping). Not fun. But then we got BED BUGS and I was longing to just have lice….

  23. 36) Bluedidzy

    Oh man…I’m so sorry to hear that. The main thought running through my head while reading your post was, “nothing like getting it all over with at once!”

    I’m glad to hear they are fever, hallucination, & lice free now!:-) you asked for lice tips:
    1. Treat their heads before cleaning house. Let them watch tv/movies/play on kindle/read book, etc. you’re going to be there for awhile combing.
    2. Don’t let them touch anything until you can clean it. Seriously, I made my kiddo sit in the floor until I could finish vacuuming the couch.
    3. If it can be laundered safely on high heat, go for it! If it can’t be washed (like some stuffed animals), then in the dryer for high heat for at least 30 minutes. If it can’t be in the dryer, then bag it for at least 2-3 (I did 4-5) weeks, then vacuum items when they’re removed from bags.
    4. Invest in a good vacuum. Seriously, mine was just about a goner anyway and I finally said screw it, it was a sign I was due for a good vacuum. Bought the shark rocket and waged war on the lice. Guess who won! 🙂
    5. Use Apple cider vinegar mixed with water in a spray bottle as a conditioner once or twice a week. It helps, especially with combing them out.
    6. Make sure you keep rechecking every couple of days. I combed out my daughter’s and my own hair every couple of days for several weeks.
    7. I vacuumed our beds daily just before making the bed for a couple of weeks. Might seem a little over the top, but my vacuum was really easy to use and it took just a couple of minutes.

    Doing all of this I was able to get rid of them pretty quickly. I’m a single mom and got it as well from her, so had to treat myself. Hard to do, but doable. it was hell, but I was able to finally laugh about it with my kiddo which helped:-)

    I love your site and am so glad you’re all on the mend!!

  24. Eh Lice, we call them Kummaks (koom-ucks) in Eskimo. Everyone has had them and they’re continually going through the school. I have two girls with dirty blond/brown hair, which is naturally curly, and it’s down waaaaay past their lower backs.

    I always wondered why I never ever got lice, especially when I have two girls who got it. Well, I finally asked around, researched a little and found out because I have psoriasis on my scalp, I use tea tree shampoo, and Neutrogena T-Gel shampoo every other day. The doctors said that Lice hate tea tree/peppermint, etc. and naturally they just wouldn’t come on me or my stuff. I immediately dropped tons of tea tree oil into my girls shampoo and peppermint onto the washcloth we use as a fabric softener. 🙂 Hope that helps.

  25. Lice–ug!!! I HATE lice. Each of my kids’ classrooms has had *at least* one round of lice this school year, and–KNOCK WOOD–we haven’t brought it home yet. I swear it’s essential oils. I’ve browsed the other comments and seen tea tree oil mentioned; I use that oil (melaleuca alternifolia) and several others (I make a spray that I keep in the car and I douse the kids before they get out of the car at school and then again when they get back in), and I swear by Young Living oils. I’d love to give you more info if you’re interested. 🙂

  26. 39) Mandy

    We did lice last year and it was the worst I just wanted to burn down the house, shave everyone’s heads and start over. 🙂 My two sons did get shaved but my two daughters have long, very thick hair. My best advice is to continue to “nit-pick” each morning and night until you are positive you don’t see anymore. My next advice is to put the girls hair in braids and ponytails for school. Contrary to popular belief lice do not jump from person to person and having their hair up is a sure fire way to keep from getting it. Then there is no temptation to brush it or play with it or, in my daughters case, braid it together with your friends hair who happens to have lice. Sigh. In any case I love your website!

  27. my kids are off at college now but reading your post and seeing the pictures of your beautiful children brought back so many memories. Yes, there were definitely days like that. My advice: Drink them up. While it may be nerve wracking while you’re in the middle of it, the blessing in all that chaos was that you just got to stay home together and let the world go on by. Sometimes, I’d like to have just one more of those sick days back so I could just hold everyone.

  28. 41) Rachel w

    I’m pretty sure you and I are living the same life!! First my husband had the flu, than my 4 month old and than my 6 year old. Now that we’ve been fever free for 24 hrs we’re battling head lice in my two oldest and it feels like a never ending battle. Thanks for the reassurance I’m not alone! ❤️

  29. 42) Katy Roberson

    Woah sister! Sounds like a terrible whirlwind of a week. So glad you got through it! I got head lice last summer. Yes. Me. An adult. I got it from attending girl’s camp and I thought I’d never get rid of those buggers or stop thinking I was itching. For me it involved lots and lots of combing and follow up treatments. I think most of my follow up treatments and extra combing sessions were just because I was paranoid and lost my brain during the whole ordeal. I hope all of your efforts are rewarded and that it’s gone for good!

  30. 43) Cindy

    I would say to prevent head lice that you shampoo their hair with Paul Mitchell’s tea tree shampoo. It helps prevent dry scalp and repels the lice. Last winter I was around my granddaughter, a friend’s grandson and a student at the school who all had head lice and I had enough contact with each that I might have contacted them too. I believe the tea tree shampoo prevented that from happening. My hairdresser told me the other tea tree shampoos are not as effective as the Paul Mitchell brand. I only shampoo my hair a couple of times a week and it still worked fine.

  31. 44) Schayne

    Chuck a few drops of Tea Tree into a bottle of leave-in conditioner, spray it in their hair every morning when you’re brushing it for school. And do regular checks (weekly or fortnightly work best). Behind the ears and around the neckline are usually the first places they go.
    And don’t forget to treat yourself, hubby, and any pets as well. I had recurrent cases one year as a child because mum forgot to check the cat.

  32. 45) Valerie

    In French we call lice “poux” and we have an expression “Moche comme un poux” (as ugly as lice). Lavender oil is an excellent lice repellent. A few drops on the hairbrush once a week really works. My 3 kids caught lice at school once and never again since I use that tip.

  33. 46) Jessica Jørgensen

    Tough week. With regards to lice, well, following up is key. The first infestation in my family, I went and learned about the life cycle of the head louse: Seriously, really enlightening reading when you need to know your “enemy”. Eggs don’t infect — grown-up lice do, and then they have to actually crawl from one place to another. Lice can only live up to 48 hours away from their host (on pillows, hoods, etc…). They need food/blood to survive. So all this burning/throwing out of bed linens, teddy bears, hair bows is, well, over the top and unnecessary. There is a psychological cleansing, to be sure…And nits don’t infect. They’re just the remains of hatched eggs still attached to your hair, so pose no re-infestation threat at all. Glued on, they can harmlessly be in your hair for 6 months to a year, before they naturally fall off. You can also have dead, unhatched eggs, again without any potential for infestation. They’re dead and just glued onto the hair. Eggs like it warm, so if you’re living in a colder climate like me in Northern Europe, well, that means that lice eggs are close to the scalp, within a centimeter. So, if I’m finding an egg or a nit (I can’t see the difference) and it’s longer down the hair, well, I can be pretty sure that it’s dead. I had dead eggs and nits in my long, thick hair for ages after that first infestation. Did I have a lice infestation? No. Totally harmless.

    And then there’s the viable eggs. Those are taken care of through following up — after they hatch. The non-toxic shampoo I’ve used repeatedely is called Linicin (don’t know if you can get it over there). You put it in dampened hair, let it sit for 10 minutes and wash it out. It suffocates the lice. Comb the hair to get rid of the dead lice. And comb daily for the next 9-10 days when you shampoo once again. Any viable eggs that have hatched in the meantime will then be suffocated. I’ve never had to go for a third run. Harmless nits and dead eggs still attached to the hair? Yup, but not an active infestation…

    I’m much more relaxed about lice these days (-: Although, I would suggest that if all 3 kids had/have lice that you and Casey should also be treated, just to be on the safe side.

  34. 47) Eve

    if you can’t wash it or put it in the dryer, put it in a bag in the freezer for a week. This will work for hair bows etc. and stuffed animals!

  35. 48) Joke Vermanen

    My daughter had lice last weekend… I combed 40 of those nasty animals out of her 60 cm long hair… and I guess just as much nits…
    She now has braided hair since I was already dividing her hair in small sections..
    40 braids for 40 lice… sounds fair right?

    And washing her hair once a weak with shampoo did not help keep the lice away.
    What will help is keep her hair braided in the week next to vacations. So the lice won’t jump as easy on her hair. I forgot it and let her wear loose hair the first school week of January.. and I’ve learned my lesson.

    But you can only try to prevent…

  36. 49) Jo

    when it comes down to it head to head contact us what spreads lice. They don’t hang out on stuffed animals and headbands for days on end just waiting for the right opportunity. It’s a good plan to put anything like that in the drier, or freeze it if you like, but when it comes down to it a live head louse can only live 3 days when it’s not in someone’s head. Eggs don’t just fall off your head either – they’re stuck to hair, so if you clean your brushes, vacuum the toys and furniture and maybe go away for a long weekend your house should be ok. As others have noted, if you wet comb once a week until you get nothing that works as you can break the life-cycle. Also, head lice are male and female, so I’m presuming if you do miss ‘just one’ egg, there shouldn’t be a problem, as that one louse can’t do much without a mate, also they take 10 days after hatching before they can lay eggs. A lot of conditioner, and a lot of combing, is all you really need…

  37. 50) Sofie

    Dear Dana,
    I don’t know if it is available in the US but in Belgium a product is on the market called Silicon Once. The silicons suffocate eggs, nits and lice. For us it worked only applying once.
    Prevention should also happen at school by keeping bonnets etc separately.
    Truly hope for you that they do not come back!

  38. 51) Marianne

    Oh, poor you! All of a mother’s worst nightmares- AT ONCE! I’m glad that you’ve gotten through it. I love that you keep it honest on your blog- thanks for doing that,
    From one mom to another,

  39. 52) Stacey

    Because the flu wasn’t enough just on its own….

    Sorry about your horrible week. Sounds truly awful. But like you said, life does get back to normal…and then we appreciate the normal so much more!

  40. 53) Holly

    Knock on wood, our family has escaped lice so far, but I have kept this blog post in my back pocket just in case…

    Warning! There is a good amount of profanity, so either cover your ears or eyes and enjoy your post lice victory with a glass of wine.

  41. Oh, what a terrible week you had! I’m happy for you it’s over and you’re all well again. About the lices, here in the Netherlands we parents get the advise to just comb the hairs of our childs everyday (with a lice comb). By doing this, the eggs will not stay in the hair, so lices don’t come out. Washing the beds and stuffed animals isn’t necessary, becouse the lices don’t survive there, they live on blood…

    I hope they’re gone foregood 😉

  42. 55) deeanna

    We used the lice shampoo and then sat around with coconut oil in our hair for hours, before more combing, combing, combing! Loved the coconut oil as a follow up because it smells good, suffocates the lice and the eggs, and it’s a great treatment for hair anyway! Even though I had only seen lice in one kids hair, we treated everyone.

  43. 56) Diana

    We had the same plague! And then I got it too (I guess!) but instead of fever for 6 days I got vertigo which pretty much complicated doing anything 🙂 So glad we didn’t have lice on top of that!

    Cute kiddos as always 🙂

    • 57) Dana

      ugggh. Vertigo! I’m so so sorry. I’ve had that before and it’s horrible.
      I hope you’re feeling better!

  44. oh you poor thing!!! That sounds like The. Worst.

    For some reason I feel like those weeks are hitting me waaaay more frequently now that I have three kids…I had one of those weeks two weeks ago, and again a couple months ago…it just feels like you start to get the hang of things and life becomes a shit-storm again.

    Anyway, hang in there Momma…YOU ARE AMAZING and you are doing AN AWESOME JOB!!! For realz.

  45. 59) Ashley

    That sounds miserable, Dana! We have had a miserable week this week. I have been up at night with coughing kids and 4/5 of us have flu! Just reading this post made me look forward the the light at the end of this short tunnel. I used to work at the Children’s Hospital and so many families were habitual patients. In times like this, I am so grateful that the weeks like this are very few and far between.

    • 60) Dana

      I’m glad you’re almost through it all! And yes, it always makes you appreciate the “simplicity” of being healthy.

  46. 61) Linda

    It sounds like a tough week and I’m so sorry about that. My best suggestion for the future is to keep their hair pulled back at school. Lice get transferred from head to head contact, so keeping their hair pulled back reduces the chance of them getting lice from someone else. While my girls love to have their hair down, they know that they can’t at school – it’s just the family rule. And when they hear about other kids getting lice and they don’t get it, the hair back reasons get reinforced. (Our school is notoriously bad for lice – I get the letter about lice in the classrooms at least once a month…) Good luck!

  47. 62) Cindy

    Mint shampoo and spray for my kids hair!! I have two girls with crazy thick and long hair and we never want to get it again!! I’ve been told lice don’t like mint and for 3 years we’ve used it and so far so good!

  48. 63) Paige W

    I have 4 sisters and we all got lice one year and had it for a long time before finding it eventually because I used to wash and blow dry my hair everyday which kept them at bay enough to not get detected. Girls camp?

    My mom called a girl that was doing her Master’s degree on LICE?! What? haha, and she gave my mom the run through on their life cycles and all the stuff you can probably just find online now.

    It was so expensive to keep going back to the store for the stuff after a while my sister and I bought the super cheap hair dye because it’s some serious chemicals and cheaper than the lice shampoo and we tried to match everyone’s hair color with an inpermanent color job. It made our hair really smooth so it was easier to pull all the eggs out. It was so crazy. I just remember getting no sleep and our sweet neighbor coming over and picking through hair all night long and wondering what could make someone do that? She’s an angel.

    It never came back. Maybe we were just super lucky?

  49. 64) Emily

    I second mayonnaise! It worked when I was a kid. And plus their hair will be super soft afterwards. 🙂 My mom just glopped it on in the shower then covered our hair with caps for a few hours – we sat around with towels on our shoulders and that was that.

    I write this on the couch with possibly the flu, and two sick kids, too… ’tis the season. Hang in there!!

  50. 65) Katharine Wright

    I’ll echo the tea tree comments. My 1st grader had an experience with lice earlier this year. We used Trader Joe’s Tea Tree shampoo (after the chemical shampoo) and they stayed away. Good Luck!!

  51. 66) Mark Suman

    So happy that week is over. In this world of where we self-select things we post online, it’s nice to see a post that keeps things real.

    • 67) Dana

      haha. Thanks Mark

  52. 68) Diana H

    What a week indeed! Parenthood is such fun. And I saw last week that school districts are starting to adopt the idea of not sending the kids home with lice. I hated them as a kid. I knew I was a clean kid… why did I keep getting them?! Each time I had to chop all my hair off. definitely some great ideas here. Glad you survived to tell the tale. Let’s hope for no more bugs or illness for you and the family for a while!

  53. 69) Annalena

    Never. Ever. the right time for lice – we had it last year in summer, when we had JUST torn both of our bathrooms down (still from the 60’s) for a total makeover. We had NO shower, NO washing machine, lots of dust and the best neighbours ever. I still don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I see the pics of the shaven heads of the boys….haha. Keep posting the real life.

    • 70) Dana

      OH wow! That’s a total nightmare! What wonderful neighbors indeed 🙂

  54. 71) Fotini

    All that BUT lice (thank GOD!!!!) is what I am going through this week as well. Plus a husband away on business!! It was encouraging to read this post and now I am hoping for the chocolate!!
    Wish you all well!!

  55. 72) Charlotte

    I did wonder about your atypical silence! Sorry it was such a hard week for all of you, but glad things are going well again. A little Borax on the mattresses, couches and pillows help to kill any creepers left in the unwashables.

  56. As a kid, my mom tried putting all of our stuffed animals in a plastic bag to kill the lice. It seemed to work, but I lost my beloved teddy bear until it was discovered YEARS later (like I was now in high school) still tied up in a plastic bag in a dark corner of our basement laundry room! Glad you all made it through!

    • 74) Dana

      haha. that’s hilarious!…and sad. I’m glad you find him eventually. It’s like a time capsule!

  57. 75) sharlyn

    Oh lice. I’ve read dome of the above comments, and they are all good. I went through that with 4 of my five kids, and I even got it. So gross. I vacuumed, steamed and washed anything that wasn’t nailed to the floor, and i was exhausted,but my kids didn’t have the flu at the same time, you poor momma. Glad you’re alive 😉

  58. 76) Mikea

    Oh Dana! Just reading that makes me want to drive to and splurge on my very favorite chocolate in solvang! Which i just may do because you made it through the week!! (Yesterday i bought a cookie pizza in celebration of rain haha i like to celebrate). No lice tips but i am glad to know that tea tree oil helps. I just happen to spray my kids hair with a mixure of water, coconut oil and a drop of tea tree oil everyday. Hope your weeks to come are much better!!

    • 77) Dana

      haha. You are so sweet Mikea :). I appreciate the virtual chocolate treat! 🙂

  59. 78) Sarah

    So sorry – what a week! We’ve used Fairy Tales enzyme wash together with the Terminator (metal) comb. The enzyme wash doesn’t kill them, it just breaks down the glue that holds the nits on the shaft of hair and acts as a conditioner to help with the combing. Highly effective and quite gentle to the kids. The nits are important, so keep combing if you have doubts. After a treatment with enzyme wash, we just follow up with light conditioner and combing in subsequent days. A surefire way to know they’re gone is to take your kids to a salon and get them checked before a haircut. They are experts and won’t cut hair if they see evidence of lice. It’ll probably come back some day via another kid’s hat, etc, but just be glad it’s not bed bugs. My parents had to deal with that one and it have me a new perspective on lice. Ugh!

  60. 79) Marcy Gamba

    You poor poor baby… that really sucks..

    TEA TREE OIL… what Leslie said for sure….
    Buy the shampoo from TRADER JOE’S.. it works wonders. Use it every time you wash their hair…
    Also.. when kids hallucinate… it is diff from a high temp. Major time to call or take them in.
    Good Luck and Hugs to All..

  61. 80) lauren

    a friend from church just told me the other day that she put original Listerine in a spray bottle and every day before school she would “spray and pray” with her four kids. (they are in their late teens and twenties now.) She said that it worked great… and also made their hair surprisingly soft and static free!

  62. When it rains, it pours. As if dealing with hallucinating kids with super high temperatures and ear infections wasn’t enough, you had to go through LICE too? Ugh. I wonder if there is some sort of lice epidemic going through TX because my daughter’s school is also rampant with lice. I didn’t even know what to look for and treated her anyway this past weekend. She’s fair skinned and blond like yours…. Nightmare. Now I itch from head to toe just thinking about it. Then I think, is it ON my head, or just IN my head, and I freak out some more. So I sat down with these comments on your blog and took notes for the next time!! I am currently spraying her with spray made with peppermint extract and water before she goes to school. She loves it because she smells like candy cane. I love it because it gives me a tiny piece of mind…. So glad you survived your week of hell. Good lord. You need a large glass of wine and maybe a spa retreat after that one!

    • 82) Dana

      haha. Thanks Sharron 🙂
      I hear ya….I didn’t get it, but I keep itching my head….
      I hope your daughter can steer clear!

  63. 83) Nicole J.

    We had a very similar week over here with the flu. My husband and I jacked up on vitamin C and every homeopathic option to keep from catching it. For lice (from my teaching years) we used baby oil to isolate the nits and lice shampoo as a treatment. Your friend is bleach and high temperatures for water and heat to wash blankets, etc.

  64. 85) Susan Png

    What a scary and tiring week! Glad everything is good for you now. Have a good rest. 🙂

  65. 87) Patti

    My youngest daughter, who is 20, had lice when she was 6 years old. She has strawberry blond hair that was super fine. We did everything! Lice shampoos, combs, tea tree oil, mayonnaise, olive oil, nothing worked for long. She had lice for 6 months! After countless phone calls, I even visited the pediatricians office and the associate I saw did nothing for her. He examined her pony tail and informed me that they were gone and if they reappeared then I was to give her another treatment! Lice are found near the scalp, not in a ponytail! Needless to say, I never saw him again. Finally, 6 months later, I questioned another pediatrician when I took another child for a physical. She gave me a prescription for an antibiotic that they discovered repels lice. Finally, lice free! Hope this helps someone.

  66. 88) Cherie C

    Lice Ladies (all natural) saved us. Daughter has crazy long hair and worth every penny to not worry about novice ‘ol me missing something! You can even buy online at Amazon if a branch store not near you. Also, putting hair accessories in the freezer in a ziplock kills them after 48 hours. It’s not about the washer either. It’s the super high heat that kills them. Dryer everything!

  67. Oh, Dana…. That is awful, I’m so sorry! You’re right, lice never hits at the right time, but in the middle of the flu is pretty nightmarish timing. Glad the week is overrrr.

  68. 90) Diana

    I feel for you .. when my kids were little try all of that with chicken pox .. I swear I was going insane with Dr appts and moms wanting me to watch their kids so they would get the chicken pox .

    I hope you truly have a much better week !

    • 91) Dana

      ahhhhh! For reals?? Crazy!…mostly the moms wanting to bring over their kids so they could get chicken pox 🙂 I remember those days.

  69. 92) Tiffany

    So sorry about your very hard week! We have had lice too and it is beyond horrible and frustrating! I bought a little battery-operated device called the Robi Comb from Wal-greens and it worked great, especially for myself since I had it too and didn’t have anyone to pick through my hair! You run it through your hair and it zaps all the adult bugs. Sure hope you get them gone for good 🙂 Thanks for your awesome blog.. love it!

  70. 93) Crystal

    Wow! Simply Amazing! That is a seriously gnarly week and the blog post was both funny and left me feeling very sympathetic! I feel like I should make you some of my most favorite cookies! Way to persevere!

  71. 95) Amy

    That is one bummer of a week!

    There is a shampoo that is sold at Walmart that deters louse from the hair. Not sure of the brand but I think it had a mint smell to it. And I know a lot of people recommended tree oil to shampoo, never tried it though. My daughter had lice this past summer. Her hair is past her shoulders. I spent several hours combing through it and would take what seemed to be about 20 strands of hair to look for nits and cut out any strand that had a nit.

    I also put pillows and the clothes from the day on high heat for 25 minutes to kill anything that may have strayed from the head. I’ve read a lot that says the chances are low but it helped me feel better.

    Really, nit picking and checking for the next few days is the best thing you can do.


  72. Agree with tea tree oil, but i’m deathly allergic. Sooo.. when kidlet’s school had the lice outbreak way back when, our health department told me to soak his head in vinegar. The lice hate THAT also, and the vinegar helps to break down the gummy glue they make to stick to the hairs. so they race right up to the top to breathe and the gluey stuff from the nits is breaking down.

    then a hair dryer… they hate that, also.

    kidlet didn’t actually HATE lice, but he had that white blonde hair back then, so we were desperate.

  73. sorry. he didn’t HAVE not hate. I mean, I’m sure he hated them, also… but he didn’t HAVE them.

  74. Holy moly, week from hell!! I’ve been lucky enough that we haven’t had to deal with lice yet (knock on wood), but I’m bookmarking this just so that, if we ever have to, I can re-read all the comments with lice remedies here!! 🙂 Lisa

  75. 99) Ditte

    Hi Dana.

    My kids have had lice a few times over the terra and i have tried a lot of different things. The last time we had a lice visit I boughtan electrical lice Combe and it’s the best. It even gets the nits and is really not that time consuming. You just come through and that’s it. I love it. Well… You know what I mean. Remember too Combe again after 7 – 10 days

  76. 100) Michelle Rackley

    I have 7 kids. I live in Hawaii. Ukus are about as common as geckos and ants here. I could. not. get .rid. of them . . . . I tried it ALLLLLL. I am serious! For three years. My oldest daughter has thick, LONG hair and I never could get every.nit.out! But then I researched some more and finally decided to blow dry all my kids hair 10-15 min. to 20 min. for the thick and long (med. heat on high flow). No More Nits. No joke! The nits die after just a few seconds. You do not have to pick them out. I did this for three to four days in a row and for the first time in 3 years, my oldest is lice free. Google it! Blow drying is the only thing that kills nits without picking.

  77. 101) Jennie

    Urgh those weeks are vile, I feel your pain, we have four girls who hug all their friends (I mean hugging is really just nit transferring wrapped up nicely!) tea tree shampoo and plaiting/braiding hair for school really helps, for temps and crazy talk we keep ice lollies in stock, replenishing liquid, blood sugar and bringing down temp in one easy step. For the continuous Peppa just blank it out, do not listen you will be crazy too x

  78. 103) Jules

    Oh, rough week! Fevers are the worst because you are so helpless to change the situation. For lice, buy cheap conditioner and a long metal toothed lice comb. My daughter has hair down to her waist, and got lice, I could never have combed through it without saturating it in conditioner. The conditioner coats the lice so they can’t run and hide, and eventually will suffocate. Once I combed out the lice and nits the first day, I would saturate her hair with the conditioner and comb through it every other day, for the first week and then twice a week after that, for a month. It may have been excessive, but I did not want it to come back!

  79. Some say that all the things, good or bad, usually come in threes. In that case – congratulations, you have survived 3 awful things, so better get ready for the 3 fantastic ones. I’d say that three healthy kids is a decent start, but the best is yet to come, I’m sure 🙂 Fingers crossed.

  80. Dana, I am so sorry! What a horrible week! We got live this summer and it was a nightmare! I still get recurring dreams about combing through hair and finding bugs. I can’t imagine that on top of the flu! Bless your heart. Thank goodness you are over the worst of it. Hugs!

  81. 106) Mélissa

    I have 3 girls, and I use lavender oil in hers shampoo. You can put beloved things you can’t wash in the freezer ( 3 days). Cold kill lice and eggs. The only time my oldest daughter have lice, I wrap her head with kitchen oil, stay 3 hours, and wash and use metal comb. With lavender oil in the shampoo, not anymore lice ! ( sorry for the mistakes, I’m french…)

  82. 107) Amanda

    I had lice once. I used the commerical nasty stuff (RID, NIX? unsure) but it didn’t work so I slathered my scalp in mayonnaise, wrapped it in cling wrap and left it for a long time (don’t remember how long. A few hours? I’m sure you can google it) to suffocate the lice. It worked perfectly and mayo is great for the hair. There is still the combing afterwards, unfortunately. I don’t think there’s a way to escape that part. 😛

  83. 108) Cami

    After 3 days sick in bed, this was just the perspective changer I needed today. Thanks for helping change my self-pity to gratitude. So glad you guys made it out alive and happy on the other end!

  84. Sorry to hear you have had all this trouble. I have not read every comment thoroughly, but it looks as if there are two good tips missing:
    1)Nitty-Gritty comb. Brilliant thing. Expensive, but so worth it. No chemicals needed and it even takes the eggs, so mostly we don’t need more than one treatment.
    2) If you cannot wash, a tried and tested and guaranteed thing to kill the eggs and the beasts is to freeze them! So cuddly toys and hair bobbles etc. can be thrown into a freezer for 24h. Done!
    There is actually no way of preventing the lice. Your children will bring them home froom their schools etc. When someone doesn’t get them, it is not about what they do, but the lice don’t like certain hair(smell,pheromones, who knows?)
    I am one of them and have never had them despite working with kids and having my son infested with them. One of those things in life, I guess.
    Good luck keeping the beasts in check!

  85. 110) adrienne

    i’m from killeen, tx, just north of you! are you sure the kids don’t have cedar allergies? look up cedar fever. every year my kids have the exact same symptoms as your kids (minus the lice :)), and i finally remembered it is cedar allergies.they had bad fevers 102+ for 2.5 weeks and then coughing fits all through the day and night. it really started to worry me because they weren’t getting better, so i took them to the doctor. i had allergy meds in my pantry dated to the exact day last year and the year before!! allergies can mask itself as flu, especially in tx. this year is especially bad!! kids have to have meds everyday. 🙁 i hate it. one more month and it will be over!

  86. 111) Samantha

    I didn’t read all through the rest of the comments, but my daughter’s school nurse recommended Sauve for Kids Coconut scent shampoo! Lots of others in her class got it, but we managed to avoid it. Luckily, I love the coconut smell, so it’s what I was already using on her hair (and didn’t even know about the lice issue!).

  87. Damn lice!
    Here we use this medicated cream called Permite (it was advised by my daughter’s pediatrician) One application on the scalp in the night and wash off the next morning. repeat cycle two weeks later. Lice are boomed out.

    To be on the safer side, I apply the cream on my scalp too so that the lice don’t just jump from her head to mine.

  88. 113) Rachael

    Dana, the comb you bought is great. I once took my four kids to a business that removes lice and that is the com they used. They do not use any chemicals. They gave me “homework” after they finished. I had to recheck and use the nit comb three days later and a week later to get any lice that may have been missed the first time. During nit removal, the hair should be clean, damp and untangled.

  89. 114) Nicole L.

    Make sure you vacuum your car seats really well too! Headrests!

  90. 115) Sharon Rushworth

    Wowie wow wow! I hope you have survived and are recovering from lice-a-palooza. After trying all the home remedies we sought a professional. We used the fairy lice mothers they are awesome and their products are great we still use their mint shampoo once a month.

  91. I feel for you! Getting lice is horrible!!

    We delt with is last summer, & talk about bad timing. My husband deployed 8 days after baby #3 got here mid June. A week later we went to stay with family for a few weeks. I ended up in the hospital with complications from the birth. While in the hospital, my kids picked up lice from my cousin. We finally get back home (on my own with 3 kids, 2 dogs, & still recovering), & realize we all have lice! I callled a service that comes to your house & uses natural remedies to remove the lice. I was so grateful for them! I thought I was going to lose my mind.

    I’m glad you guys are on the mend now! 🙂

  92. 117) Chyn

    Aloha Dana, I just saw this post and I am so sorry that you had to deal with sickness + Lice. I have three girls under 7 years old and they are with long hair. Lice is the worst thing that could happen to a family with young kids. I was traumatized by lice when my kids got them from the preschool. We spent 3 weeks fighting them without having a dryer to dry our clothes. THank you for this post and the comments because I definitely will get back to spraying the tea tree oil mix with water in the morning. Keep the lice out!!!

  93. 118) nicole

    Listerine (original) and a shower cap! Spray all hair and scalp put shower cap on go to sleep wake up wash hair. Seriously thats it no rid no combing. Trust me, me and my 2 girls got lice. We all have waste length hair! We tried everything else this is the only thing that worked and it was soooo easy!

  94. 119) Mary

    I have heard that covering your scalp with Vaseline and then putting a towel or shower cap on over the whole head smothers them!
    Not personally done that, but have known others who say this works! I am itching all over as I write this! Yeeks.

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