Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Attachment Parenting a Child with Lice - Part III

Preface: This post is filled with links and information rather than my personal story. I hope you find the info helpful and interesting.
The Licemeister Comb
I am on the edge of my seat, waiting for my LiceMeister® Comb to arrive! I think I may have to brave the 19° weather out there to get to the mail box. The tracking doesn't say it was delivered and I thought it would come to my door, but it is well past noon and it isn't here. The roads are awful, though!

Meanwhile, I've been checking out the links that Deborah Altschuler, the President of The National Pediculosis Association®, sent to me in an email. Some great listening and reading, though some of it is irritating. Let me share and explain.

The first few links are to WBUR - an NPR affiliate in Boston. More specifically, to Common Health, one of their segments.

To start, Carey Goldberg wrote a multi-part (I keep finding more parts) piece on Head Lice Etiquette: All The Questions You’re Afraid To Ask. In this first article, Carey talks about the note she got from school that there had been lice discovered. She wasn't familiar with how to check her children and later found they both did have an infestation. Schools in that area don't generally have a "no nit" policy, though schools here in Oklahoma do. There are a few guests in the series:

Mimi Stamer is and answers pretty much as I would expect from a school nurse, based on my own experiences. I like Deborah Altschuler and her "no chemicals" approach to fighting lice. I could not stand Richard Pollack. He says pretty much outright that you should follow your intuition on fighting lice, it is no big deal, and you shouldn't tell anyone else you will face the stigma that is lice. You and your children will be shunned, yadda, yadda, yadda. I agree with Deborah that it is important to let everyone know so that parents can be vigilant. Then Helen Hadley takes a humble approach. She doesn't claim to be an expert (though clearly she is!), but rather defers to all the information she has gathered from families faced with resistant lice.

The article continues in Head Lice Questions, Part Two: Fear Of Reinfestation, And More. The one thing with which I disagree in this article is that yeah, you can ask a playmate's parent to put their kid's hair UP (pinned back) to help avoid the spread of lice.

The series wraps up in Final Head Lice Questions: What If A Kid ‘Flunks’ Inspection, And More where the questions really focus on the stigma and negative feelings children face when they have lice. As I'm sure my regular readers would guess, I believe in still hugging my child even though she is infested. I keep my hair up more than usual to help reduce the chance of it spreading to me. Dealing with the lice for seemingly-forever, my head itches all the times and I've made my scalp sore at times. It is really hard to not scratch my head when I'm in the middle of a combing session.

Carey Goldberg closed the series with Twelve Most Comforting Things To Tell A Family Fighting Head Lice. There are some nice responses, but I especially like the last two added (the article was originally going to include ten) at the end by Helen Hadley of The Nit-Picker.

Carey Goldberg reviewed / compiled the series with The Ultimate Head Lice Codex: Expert Opinions On Ethics And Etiquette. I feel like the entire series is amazingly timely since it was all written at the beginning of February (right along with my own battle). And more timely stories, Prime Minister David Cameron's two children came home with head lice. He warned journalists about it! How is that for setting an example and fighting the stigma! Carey mentions their upcoming radio show that afternoon, which I will also get to shortly. Once we get past that, this article is quite literally the wrap-up. It has the other articles all put together into one. So, if you managed to read my entire post before clicking all the links, now you know that you can skip all those other articles and just read this one. If, however, you read each article as you went through this post, you now know to skip the final article.

You can listen to all of these experts (actually, I think Mimi Stamer may be missing) on WBUR's Radio Boston show from February 4th here. You can skip forward to 20:00 to get right to the Lice bit. The lice part of the discussion lasts about 20 minutes. You get to hear Richard Pollack say that treating lice in his way may be counter-intuitive but it works. I disagree. And we crunchy mamas know better than to go against our intuition anyway, right?

Evidence shows that children are having reactions to shampoos and lice are more and more resistant to the chemicals anyway. We're creating super-lice. It is so important not to poison our children with pesticides. We avoid it on our foods, why would we put it on their skin?

"We can't remove every potentially harmful chemical exposure from a child's life, making it imperative to remove those that we can." - Deborah Z. Altschuler, NPA President

I think all crunchy moms can relate to Deborah's sentiment here. There is more information on The National Pediculosis Association® website, The irritating part of all of the above was Richard Pollack. While he is certainly an expert on... bugs, I guess, he is not an expert on children. I just did not respond to him well at all.

My most important advice: Do not purchase chemicals (prescription or OTC) to fight lice!

After finishing this post, I bundled up with Sasha and we walked to the mailboxes. My LiceMeister® Comb is here! Stay tuned for Part IV!

For more history on our personal battle with lice, check out Attachment Parenting a Child with Lice - Part I and Attachment Parenting a Child with Lice - Part II.

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