Sunday, 9 June 2013

Pestilential Piglet

Of the two, I prefer worms to headlice. 
Worms can be got rid of with one simple tablet.  Well, you can take another one after a couple of weeks to make sure you rid your child of the tiny pests.  They don't look like this cutie with the flower, of course, LOL. Finding out if your child has worms is the worst bit about them. Peering at a kid's bum in the middle of the night with a quick flashlamp to find tiny white threads poking out of it is not on my list of moments of motherhood I mean to treasure in my heart. 

From a Sage journal whose title
will put you off so I won't mention it.
The worms kids get are called threadworms,  because they look like tiny white threads. The NHS offer strong advice on threadworms although for understandable reasons they don't include a picture of the worms on a child's bum, making it a bit hard to know what to look for. Such pictures can be found using Google Images. Another way of diagnosing worms with a young child is to get them to poo in the potty then have a poke through the delicious contents with a small stick you fetched from the garden. Writhing white threads about an inch long? Go and get the tablets/tonic. Worm medicine is available from chemists over the counter. 

From the Carpet &
Uphostelry Cleaning blog
I no longer rush round my house hoovering everywhere and washing surfaces frenetically if there is a worm infestation. (Actually, Piglet has now passed the age where this is common - it mainly happens with younger children who stick their hands in sandpits where other worm-infested children have been playing, then up their nose, then in their mouth.) I wash the bedclothes and towels but that's about it. 

Pests are just part of childhood. I was surprised myself at how agitated I was the first time Piglet had threadworms, since I grew up in West Africa and have had not only jiggers (don't ask! had to get Johnson the steward to dig it out my foot with a sharp stick), but also tapeworms

You can tell if your child has worms if they have an increased appetite (LOL, if your piglet is anything like mine, that means nothing! she always ate like an elephant) and if they complain of an itchy bum at night - especially if it's so itchy the poor kid is waking up crying. If this is happening, don't chastise the child, sit it on a potty and have a poke at the contents. 

Michigan State University webpage
Our current problem, however, is my bête noire (actually a brown colour) the head louse, or nit. Again, the NHS offers a good clear basic account. Although they don't explain that girls are more likely to catch head lice than boys. This is not because head lice like to live on more intelligent heads, but because girls are more likely to have long clean hair and to put their heads together to whisper to each other while the lice leap across from head to head, performing somersaults of glee as they go. Boys are more inclined to have short hair which is not as good for hiding in, and to tonk each other over the head with toys than to stick their heads together whispering. 

The NHS suggest that you comb out nits rather than use a chemical treatment; personally I've found the chemical treatment cumbersome, timeconsuming and useless, whereas the comb is just extremely timeconsuming. You should get the Nitty Gritty comb, designed by mums for mums. You should be able to get it easily from any chemist. 

You plaster your child's wet lousy head in conditioner. The conditioner immobilises the lice which are otherwise very fast moving and will run away laughing as you try to pick them off the head. Sit the child down in front of a DVD which you can bear to hear but not see, as you will be stooped over the head combing away. Comb through first with a wide-toothed comb to get tangles out, then divide off a section of hair (I start at the front), and comb through in chunks with the fine tooth Nitty Gritty comb. Make sure you don't miss any bit of head as you comb through. Wipe the comb off on some tissue paper and inspect for brown things about 2 or 3 mm long with legs. 

Do it again two or three days later. 

And again. 

Until there are no little brown things with legs on the tissue paper. (Ssssno-o-ore.)

From The Telegraph
Apparently tea tree oil, and hair products (shampoo, conditioner) with tea tree oil in them, help keep your child's head free of lice. You should also shave the kid's head like a Buddhist monk's - or at least bind the hair up tightly in ponytail plaits and tell it not to rest it on its BFF (Best Friend Forever)'s head, not that you are accusing that little brat of being the one who infested your little brat.

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