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All school-related drama are the most discussed topics amongst moms nowadays. At Rahet Bally’s community Facebook group, we receive daily questions about lunchboxes, curriculums, and bullying at schools. Yet, on top of my list comes head lice and the high possibility of my child getting infected during the school season. This goes back to a nightmare I experienced last year.
My own personal pandemic
In February 2020, everyone started talking about COVID-19 and the mothers started to panic and wondered whether to keep the kids at home or not. I was experiencing another personal pandemic.
My five-year-old daughter got a head lice infection. At first, I took it lightly as I knew it’s something common in schools and I bought her Licid head lice treatment. Then, I started taking the normal procedures of washing her hairbrush and all bed and pillow sheets. I made sure to wash all the icecaps and headbands she recently wore. I used Licid once and made sure to comb her hair with a fine-tooth comb as advised. I thought I’m on the safe side. Unfortunately, it didn’t stop there.
Fear of stigma
The infection didn’t go away, but it only got worse. Instead of just seeing the lice eggs, I started noticing the insect itself and Licid didn’t work. This was the turning point in my life with no exaggeration.
Thankfully, it was not a serious illness; however, it was an irritating condition. It’s way more difficult when it comes to a young child who can’t stop itching her hair. Before the schools and sports training were suspended due to the COVID-19 lockdown, I started keeping my little one at home. I didn’t want to give it to anyone else. I also didn’t want to stigmatize her since lice infection is mistakenly linked to hygiene which is totally a wrong myth. I caught hair lice from her too and started looking for a double solution while I was on the edge.
I used tens of imported and local brands like Areej No More Lice Oil Treatment and Nitolic Head Lice Treatment. To my amazement, neither of them had an effective result. It was too disappointing for both of us.
I spent sleepless nights trying to figure out a solution and soothing her to sleep while she woke up every hour because of itching. I could not ask on any social media community because I was embarrassed when I shouldn’t have been. At that time, coronavirus was on peak, and the lockdown was everywhere. It was not a smart decision to go to a clinic during a wave.
A real nightmare
A friend of a friend advised me to use a scab medicine that might be effective, and I did without thinking twice as I was literally hopeless. It was during Ramadan and I had to tolerate the tantrums while convincing her to keep the treatment on for 8 hours without touching or itching her hair.
The same applied to me while I was fasting and preparing the iftar. I was ready to take on all this and more just to see this nightmare end. However, it didn’t! It made the problem much worse because the treatment caused her a skin allergy.
I even also ordered online an electric lice comb because getting rid of the eggs with an ordinary comb became a “mission impossible”. Although it eased the process, it was very painful and she kept screaming during the whole process. In an attempt to eliminate all sources of infection, I washed all the sofas’ cushions and vacuumed the parts that can’t be washed.
Promise me this will never happen again
At last, when all solutions were useless, I visited a dermatologist. He prescribed a new treatment and advised me to throw out all the hairbrushes and combs she used recently. He asked me to spray her hair with white vinegar every 2 days then wash it after an hour. Although the treatment was effective, it was very difficult to convince her to leave it overnight for two consecutive days then repeat the process after 10 days.
Finally, after four months of exhaustion, suffering, and stress, I did it! It felt like a dream to wake up and find no lice in her head. “Promise me this will never happen again, “my little one anxiously said.
While I can never promise her this, I can always promise to support her whatever happens.
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