When it Comes to Blood-Sucking Parasites, I’ll Take all the Hope I can Get

I tend to think I am an intelligent person who does not fall easy prey to snake oil sales pitches, but when it comes to lice, all rational thought goes out the window. I first wrote about my lice paranoia in 2013, and I have to say it has not dwindled since then. My oldest son still sports a lice-proof buzz cut, but my youngest has given in to the lure of Mohawks, faux-hawks and fun hair. That means our family is now susceptible to parasitic infestation. I can hardly type that sentence without shuddering.

Now, I do understand that buzz cuts do not completely eliminate the possibility of lice, but they either help or at least they make me feel better. I am completely in favor of lice placebos. Which brings me to my latest probably useless purchase: lice prevention spray.

Yes, that's a chicken behind it. It's an accurate representation of my feelings. 


Normally I don’t buy into essential oils and purification rituals and other new age type things (though I believe the term “new age” went out in the 80s and it’s probably called something cleverer now). I’m inherently skeptical. It’s my nature. But when I saw “Pesticide-Free Mint Spray” that is “formulated with products that lice find offensive” I had to buy it. We’ve gotten two lice letters from school in the last month. Not buying such an amazing product is tantamount to inviting lice in, right? 

I bought the spray, and while my eight-year-old’s back was turned, I sprayed his neck. He felt that warning him first would have been appropriate, but I hadn’t had my coffee yet, and I have to admit it was kind of fun to make him jump and squeal. It was retaliation for all the times he surprised me in my sleep. The smell was odd, but not unpleasant. Sort of refreshing.  

Here’s the problem. There’s really no way to know if it works. If he gets lice, it is possible that he already had them. Lice are sneaky as well as sinister.  It can take months before symptoms alert you to their presence. If he doesn’t get lice, he might not have anyway. But I view it as a bottle of hope, and when it comes to blood-sucking parasites, I’ll take all the hope I can get. 

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Copyright © 2023 Lara Lillibridge

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