On Monday, very early in the morning, Maylin was scratching her head with much gusto in bed, while still asleep. I immediately got my antennae up -- another parent had just been talking to me the other day about washing her kids' hair and scalps like crazy in hopes of preventing the occurrence of head lice. (She told me this even though she was the one who also said that head lice prefer clean hair. I was a bit confused.)
When Maylin awoke, I immediately checked her head out. Wow. I saw two little light-colored flecks that could have easily been mistaken for dandruff or lint. But they were moving! Eeww! I called Maylin's school to inform them of the situation and that we might not be coming in that day and sent John out to the pharmacy to buy some head lice treatment.
The treatment that we used is a two-step process. The first involves massaging about a tablespoon of this clear solution (an insecticide basically) into the scalp and hair. It really stinks. Reminded me a lot of Leo's flea medication. The bad news was that we had to leave the nasty stuff in for about eight hours! No, I wasn't going to let Maylin go back to school that day to stink up her entire classroom. But since I had her with me for the day, I had to take her to my scheduled voice lesson in the eleventh arrondissement. No easy task with stroller and hardly any escalators. We made it and she slept for most of my lesson, in a hooded jacket which protected us from the smell.
Eight hours after the application of the medication, we used a special shampoo to wash out the dead lice, and used a fine-toothed comb after that to continue the removal process. I found a few more dead ones this morning. Hopefully, we won't have a reoccurence. You have to be sure you wash all bed linens, clothing, and stuffed animals that the lice might have come in contact with in very hot water -- about 60 degrees Celcius (which we don't have -- I'm counting on the dryer's heat) or put it all in an airtight bag for two weeks. I think I spotted this problem pretty early so we've got better chances of getting rid of the little guys quickly and preventing the rest of us from getting them, too. Highly contagious!