Help! That itchy issue when grandkids have head lice

May 13, 2019
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What do you do when your grandchildren have nits and they are in your care? Source: Getty Images

In these modern times, in many families the adult children are busy working, leaving grandmas and grandpas to take up the slack. All credit to those who collect their grandkids after school, drive them home, feed them afternoon tea, supervise their homework, often cook the kids’ tea and provide appropriate activities until the children’s’ parents arrive. All done with love, of course.

Then the grandchildren can present their grandparents with a note from school. “This child has head lice.” This is now the grandparent’s problem. It does not matter what school the grandkids attend or what age they are, nits have no borders. Once I was at the pharmacist collecting scripts and there was a lovely young lady from the best grammar school in the district, in her uniform. Her harassed grandma was desperately seeking a cure for head lice.

Where I live is in the leafy eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. This area is regarded as the nit capital of the entire world, with annual ever-worsening nit epidemics. The ladies in my friendship circle are all grandmas. They’ve shared countless tales about how they had to buy nit treatment and wide steel combs to eradicate their grandkids’ nits. This seems to be a grandma’s problem, all right.

That little incident reminded me of a lovely lady I knew, the grandma residing with her cute prep granddaughter. The grandkid came home with the nits. As well as treating her head to eradicate the head lice, my pal discovered that the nits and head lice had infested her granddaughter’s mattress, her pillow, her bedding and her carpet! She had to replace the mattress, boil all the bed linen in really hot water and even boil all the soft toys. She hung the toys on the washing line to dry in the blazing sunshine. Her little granddaughter promptly burst into tears and refused to play with her toys ever again. More expense, she had to buy her new toys.

I was once a primary school teacher in a parish school. Once a term, we had public communal nit inspections, managed by two brave ladies, hired by the local council. The hierarchy of this school was all nuns. Nearly 400 pupils, nuns, teachers and ancillary staff sat around an asphalt quadrangle for the nit inspections. The principal nun was first cab off the rank. Off with the veil! These nuns were terrified of having nits in front of all those schoolchildren, dear little popes. They prayed a twice daily novena that they would never get nits. So they didn’t! Their negative/positive prayers worked.

You don’t have to believe in God, of course, but the Bible tells us that Noah took two nits sailing on his wooden Ark. A boy nit and a girl nit. “Go forth and multiply!” The tiny mother truckers exist, so you can believe in nits.

In Melbourne the nit infestation has been pronounced to be the worst epidemic of nits and head lice ever. It could, indeed, very well be your grandkids next. Off to the pharmacist. The latest American treatment is to pour full strength Coca-Cola on infested heads. Coca-Cola can strip paint. After rinsing, do not give your grandkids the Coca-Cola to drink. They may get intestinal nits!

To conclude, nits have no borders. Be scared, grandmas, be very scared. (But it won’t be the end of the universe!)

Are you a grandparent who looks after his/her grandchildren? Have you ever had to deal with your grandchild’s health-related issues?

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