Inlaws Reinfecting Us with Lice Every Time They Come Over! How Do I Address This

Updated on July 14, 2015
K.R. asks from Durant, OK
18 answers

i cant take this anymore.
I like my niece and nephew (13 and 15) and want to do things with them, but they have been battling head lice for MONTHS!! and MONTHS! we have even bought enough for their whole house hold a time or two. but what ever they are doing, it ain't working. and short of coming over and treating their heads and clearing their house myself, i do not know what else to do. and i wouldn't even MIND doing that as well, but there is no way to do that with out embarrassing the kids and really offending the adults.

they just left and i asked my mother in law, who is exceedingly capable and helps to raise them if they finally had the lice under control. She frowns at me and says "well, we just treated again and will treat again before they go to school Aug 20th"

ok, how many of you knowingly go to other peoples homes when you are battling head lice!???? they come over at least once a week to use the wifi or borrow movies.

so, the moment they were out the door i strip my daughters bed that my nephew sat on. and am treated my 5 year olds head again for at Least the 5th time in 6 months.

this may sound extreme for an 3 min visit, but I CANT TAKE IT ANY MORE!!
what do I do?? how do i tell these lovely kids they cant come over till they do "XYZ" and have tested negative for 2 weeks? or just keep dumping poison on my 5 year olds once a week!??

i have educated my self both on the life cycle and on methods of clearing my home. i take it very seriously and am exceedingly thorough. part of why this is such a headache. and i have checked routinely since the first time. each time since then i have caught it so early that there was ever only one generation of lice and very few nits. (almost no bugs) so my home is not infested. it is being re infested.

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answers from Norfolk on

Well the nephew can shave his head or get a brush cut and get done with it fairly quickly.
A shorter haircut will make treating the niece a little easier.
But if they are not aggressively on top of the situation they might be dealing with lice for years.
There's nothing you can do to get them to take it more seriously.
I'd consider banning them from my home until they are louse/nit free for several months.
I would not be allowing them to infect my kid/home.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

I have to agree that you ask them to get the lice under control before coming to the house. To be polite, ask them if there is anything you can do to help and if they ask, start making suggestions for them to clean thoroghly, get hair cuts, shave, treat, and tie up that little girls hair once it is under control.

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answers from Washington DC on

There are businesses that go to people's homes and do a full and thorough de-lousing. They nitpick and wash the kids' hair; strip and wash bedding etc.; and do other de-lousing treatment. Many guarantee their work so if lice turn up again they will return to treat again. I would find such a business in your area and give the family a gift certificate to get this done (or just pay the company in advance). You'll have to get grandma's and/or parents' go-ahead and you say they will be "offended." Is there any chance that you can talk with them and say frankly that lice are nothing to be ashamed of -- they can happen to the cleanest of people -- and you and your husband would like to give them this gift so they don't have to put a ton of labor over and over into their kids' heads and their house?

A friend's three kids all got lice and she called in one of these firms, and said it was a total godsend. It took hours and hours when she tried to nitpick her kids' long hair herself, but this firm sent two women over and they, not she, spent those hours working on heads, and then cleaned and laundered with special detergents they brought with them. I would really call in a firm like that if your in-laws would be open to it. That way you are not in their house doing it yourself (though it's nice you'd be willing to do so, they might see your presence as scolding them, even though of course you're not).

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answers from Austin on

Lice is insidious.
People do not realize they not only need to treat the hair, but also their homes and cars. The sofas, the car seats, the bedding.. Any cloth pillows and furniture.

Lice can make the children ill, they could end up with skin problems over time.

You will have to put your foot down and not allow them over again until they have been lice free for a period of time.

FYI, lice tends to attract to light colored hair, thin hair and super clean hair.
They suggest you not wash your child's hair every day, the oils can help keep the lice at bay.

Is this your husbands family? If so HE needs to speak with them.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

I'd tell them they can't come over. Sorry if that's harsh, but you shouldn't have to treat your kids because your in laws can't control the lice. Also, instead of using the lice treatment on your kids, if they don't have it, use a lice prevention spray. They are a mix of different oils and repel lice. I guess I don't understand how people "can't get rid of lice". If you're cleaning thoroughly and correctly and treating correctly, that should do the trick.

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answers from Washington DC on

We had lice come around again and again when SD was 11. My SIL was quite frank that until we got it truly handled, NO visits, NO sleepovers, etc. She has 3 kids of her own. We got it back every time my SD visited her mom that year. It was a mess, with her screaming at us and then returning infected children...oy.

Turned out that the vector was their mother's stepdaughter so until SHE got treated, it was just coming back again when she visited. Her father had to pick her up, take her to a hotel, and wash her hair with lice treatment and bring her a change of clothes and bag what she brought til it could be washed before it ended. If they keep having lice, then they need to find out the vector. If it is them, because they don't treat it or she won't properly treat them/the house, then you should tell them/her that you are sorry, but you can't have them visit til they are lice-free for x time. At this point, you are going to crack some eggs, but better you than they be sent home via the school nurse, right?

They are 13 and 15. Can you take them aside and explain what needs to be done to ensure they are lice-free? That everything needs to be washed, for example? Maybe they (esp. the older one) can be a part of the solution.

Your kids shouldn't have to fear being deloused all the time or worry about their friends getting lice (want to talk embarrassing - how about finding out AFTER the fact that the kid had lice and you allowed a sleepover?).

If MIL won't get her act together, then you don't have to allow them to visit.

ETA: We didn't trust that SD was lice free til several weeks of DAILY brushing and braiding and inspection. We put tea tree oil in her shampoo. They might try that.

I also agree that your DH needs to talk to his mom.

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answers from Chicago on

they may not know that to treat lice you have to do not just their hair but also

their bedding
the backs of the car seats
the backs of the couch and chairs
all their clothing
all stuffed animals
all combs and brushes should just be tossed and new ones bought
all towels and washclothes should be done in hot water with bleach

and they need to do the treatment not once but do it, comb out the nits and then in a week do it again to make sure that all eggs are taken care of also. and as a previous poster mentioned they need to shave the sons head and then cut the daughter's hair super short.

if they refuse then no more visits at your house

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answers from Columbia on

Stop allowing them over.

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answers from Washington DC on

well, you can be 'nice' or you can be firm. i know what i'd pick.
naturally i wouldn't put it on the kids, but i'd say very courteously to both MIL and SIL 'i'm so sorry you're having to deal with this. i know how difficult it can be to really rid the home of the little devils. but we can't risk re-infestation. no visits over here until everyone's clear and has been for at least two weeks. sucks, doesn't it?'
i can see where it might be difficult if you've got super-sensitive relatives, but the discomfort of a conversation beats treating lice, right?

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answers from Boston on

Lice can be tough, and even the most responsible parents often have to treat more than once. Assuming that you are doing everything at your end to take care of nits and eggs, the problem is at the other end.

That said, I think perhaps the in-laws think they use a shampoo now and then and it takes care of it. It's not enough for you, and it's not enough for them. There's no way they are sitting there and combing their teens' hair with a nit comb to get the eggs, nor are they treating the bedding and towels and so on. It would help if the kids themselves cared enough to be grossed out and willing to undertake the treatment. But that's not happening.

So you have no choice to but say that NONE of them can come over, even for 1 minute, until the infestation is totally under control and they are cleared by the school nurses and their pediatrician. In fact, you can contact your pediatrician for advice, and then say (truthfully) that you are relaying your children's doctor's firm instructions that further infections of your kids is a bad idea and detrimental to their health.

Frankly, I'd let the school nurse know a day or so before the start of school, and have her check the kids. I don't know how that is undertaken, but the teachers can be on alert for scratching and so on. But I'm sure the school would want to know.

You can also get a handout from the pharmacist and/or the pediatrician and give it to the kids as well as their parents. Maybe if the kids knew that they have little critters crawling on them and a shower doesn't do it, they'll care. Maybe they are being raised by laissez faire parents and don't care either.

You can't do much more for them - but you can, and must, keep them out of your home and car, and stop going over there.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

You know what, years ago I had to tell a mom her little angel couldn't come over anymore bc she kept making my little angel ill. Her mom would always say, oh she just has a runny nose. But it was much more than that bc all of her little runny noses kept making my child sick with fever and a cold that would last for a week or so. Basically, you have to stop them from coming over and just explain to them and your MIL the affects it's having on your kids. For some reason, ppl ignore the fact that their very relaxed attitude towards situations really do affect others. It's unfair and you shouldn't have to feel bad because you have to address something that should have been addressed before coming to our home.

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answers from Miami on

Ok. Here's my answer. NO MORE letting them come over for 6 months whether it hurts their feelings or not. Just tell them on the phone that you love them, but your kids keep getting lice from them and you can't take it anymore.

This would actually be good for you to do in order to make sure that they are actually where the lice is coming from. If your kids get lice regardless, then you know that you have a different problem...

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answers from Chicago on

I would let them know. Being in your home for a few minutes should not be a problem but really, you are getting exposed. If they want to borrow something, and you want to borrow it to them, give it at the door. For your own family, I would not treat unless you see them. Add some tea tree oil to shampoo or buy a spray containing it. It is supposed to be very good for this.

I once worked at a lobby store that the manager's son got them, passed them on to her and dad. Then someone else in the store had them. I never did but she was paranoid and bought everyone that worked there RID. I did not use it. My older girls had it, one really bad, a few years ago. It was my first time dealing with it. Never EVER want to again. None of the others in our home got them.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

Go to headlice,org.

One thing I did when we had kids that were infested and sharing it in the classroom was to make a tea tree spritz bottle.

Go buy some Tea Tree Oil from the Ethnic Hair section at Walmart. I bought a small, 8 ounce or less, spray bottle from Walmart too. I filled it with filtered water from the fridge, we have hard water, and then I added several drops of Tea Tree Oil, maybe even a half teaspoon. Put a few drops in every bottle of shampoo you own too and it will be "in" the hair shaft even deeper.

Each morning when you go to fix their hair for school shake the spritz bottle up very well. Then when you spray their hair to dampen it to brush it and style it you are putting on a layer of protection against head lice. It's also good for people so it can't hurt.

You are poisoning your family. Don't let them come over anymore unless you sit down with the mom and grandma and let them know what you're going through.

Their car could be re-infesting them, their dining room table, they may not be getting all the live bugs out, the white nits don't mean anything. They are empty egg shells. They come out easily if you simply wash the kids hair then condition it very well. Rinse it then leave it drippy wet. The water stuns the bugs, they breathe air just like we do and the water and cold from the hair being wet slow them way down.

Go through that child's hair in about 1 inch sections, root to end. Use a magnifying glass so powerful you can almost count the hairs on their heads.
Have a cup of water next to you. Any living bugs get pinched out with either tweezers or your fingernails and into the cup of water. They drown. Then if you see any egg shells or eggs with a black center, an unborn baby, they slide down the hair shaft when you use your fingernails. If you don't have nails you can use a tiny pair of scissors and clip that single hair. You don't want to make the child bald, it's better to slide them off.

I have dealt with lice a few times. I have used a lice shampoo one time. I never had any time when I couldn't have them gone in a couple of days and I NEVER tore up my house or did anything drastic like some of the people on here do. It's not necessary. Vacuuming takes care of 99% of them. Washing sheets and pillow cases and couches and carpet and car seats and carpet should take care of any living bugs.

The bugs are slow and do not jump. They can fall on another person if they're playing, on monkey bars. One kid is hanging upside down swinging and another child is below them.

It's hard to share lice. Using each other's brushes, wearing each others winter hats or coats or scarves, dress up clothes in a classroom or play area, laying side by side with their hair touching for extended periods of time so the bug can crawl for one head to the other.....

Clean all the hair brushes and combs in hot soapy water, let them soak a bit. Spritz them with the tea tree spray bottle of water.

One thing you can also do is report this to their school. Tell the school that you've had the kids over a few times and you've looked in their hair and found bugs and seen nits. Tell them the evidence, proof they have it.

Just "I get lice every time they come over" isn't proof of anything except that you have lice. Lice could be coming from your house to them actually. Your house could be reinfesting them if you're not getting rid of them. Lice shampoo doesn't do much of anything.

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answers from Portland on

I am SO SO sorry you are going through this. My daughter had them 5 times in a row. I was in the shower while daddy sprayed her toddler mattress (plastic sealed) with RID spray, and I did her hair with the rid hair treatment. Then, while dried her off with a towel fresh from the dryer, daddy made her bed with clean sheets and blankets, pillow, etc all from the dryer as well. She laid in her bed for 2 minutes before they started crawling on her pillow.

After that, I finally permed her hair. It worked, for 2 months. Until she had about a quarter inch growth. I was so upset. I cried! I didn't want to dye my 3 year old's hair again. But, I did a lot of research online and looked here, and someone recommended Fairy Tales. I found it at ULTA and it works so great! I did the lice treatment, and bought the terminator comb, and the leave in spray to keep the lice away. I will admit that it is expensive, but it works!

The lice were gone, I redid the beds again, I didn't do her carseat, and I didn't do the toys. I didn't do the couch, floors, anything else. She and I used the treatment because I had gotten them from her. Daddy and brother never got them. Since then, we use the spray when they go to school, it uses tea tree, rosemary, and citronella. The lice don't like the smell, so they don't go to that person. So much easier! And the bottle lasts a long time.

Great Clips also has a house like called Ladybugs and it is supposed to do the same thing. I am not sure which price is better. Your niece and nephew might really appreciate it if you got the foam killer and comb. They could even spray their pillowcases and bed and then if they can't get them washed well enough, they can get rid of the lice.

I feel so much better about these products, and, no expensive companies are needed. Then, if the adults keep getting them, the kids won't, and YOU won't!

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answers from Phoenix on

Yes, you don't have them over. If they can't take it seriously enough to get under control then you need to protect your family. Good luck.

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answers from Portland on

Sorry if I sound a bit confused.

The way I am reading this is your niece and nephew have infected your family with lice in the past, which you treated. Since then, they keep coming over and you are concerned they still have lice, so they may re-infect your family again. So that's why you are cleaning your house and treating your kids hair. To be preventative.

So can you just not invite them over? Are they just showing up?

When my friends' kids are sick I don't say "We won't have you over because you're sick". We just don't invite them over.

For the time being, couldn't you just do that?

Then if they seriously don't get this under control, talk to the parents.

But don't go to all this fuss in your house every time. I wouldn't.

I really like the idea of passing along the info to the company that does the nit/lice removal service. You could use that as a way to approach the subject - just be kind and say "Sorry, I just am really concerned about our kids getting lice again, so I have to be preventative."

Good luck :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I had a friend that just finished. 5 month long battle with head live. My friend is on top of things, and her house is lovely and clean. All I can conclude is that it's hard to get rid of those buggers once you get them.

Maybe suggest a shampoo with tree oil for their hair? Or just use it in your own child.

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