Lice are every mom's worst nightmare. Tiny bugs infesting your child's (and eventually everyone else in your family's) head? No thank you. But, like the common cold or a sore throat, sometimes the infestation happens and there's nothing you can do about it. Many parents credit themselves with having pretty thick skin when it comes to the gross, nasty, and unsightly things that raising a child is chock-full of. But even the most common nuisance can take a dark turn and this video of a lice infestation is scarier than any horror movie we've ever seen.
A little bit of lice, while gross, isn't nightmare-inducing or life-altering. But this video, that has since gone viral, features way, way more than a little bit of lice. Needless to say, it makes my skin crawl just looking at it.
The video features a child getting his hair combed by a woman with a tiny comb that rakes up literally thousands of tiny bugs and eggs from his scalp — and that's not even his whole head! If that sounds nauseating, just wait until you see the video. But don't say I didn't warn you.
Since its upload date in 2014, the video has garnered more than 9 million views from disgusted parents and thrill seekers alike, all of whom are wondering how in the world did a lice infestation get THAT BAD. Lice, as you probably know, are tiny, light in color, and hard to see in daylight, making a normal infestation easy to miss until symptoms like itchiness or difficulty sleeping present themselves. But in this case, the head lice can be clearly seen on camera, a testimony to just how insane this infestation is.
Although this video is extreme, the CDC noted that it is possible for lice to spread quickly and, when not treated promptly, multiply just as fast. It should be noted that the parasites, while unsightly and itchy, don't typically carry diseases or other threats to a person's health.
Videos of this extremity can cause a parent to worry. What if your child encounters lice at school and comes home with an infestation that you can't contain?
Well, according to Kids Health, a single louse (even the word alone is gross, isn't it?) can live up to four weeks on a person or animal's skin, laying 10 eggs per day. Now I'm no mathematician, but at that rate, it's plausible to see how an infestation could turn out as bad as it did in the video above. Lice eggs, called "nits," are easier to spot on the scalp than the grey-ish, tan, fast-moving adults, but louse or nit, you want them gone sooner rather than later.
Luckily, lice are completely curable.
According to the aforementioned Kids Health piece, the most effective treatments for lice are medicated shampoos, over the counter prescriptions, or lotions. All of the treatments are essentially a form of insecticide, designed to kill parasites, so limited exposure for adults and children is recommended.
Another alternative to rid a scalp of lice is a treatment called wet combing. As demonstrated in the video, you'll comb through the affected hair and scalp (that has been previously wet down with water or oil) with a fine tooth comb ($10, Amazon) and remove the lice as they stick to the comb. This method doesn't kill the lice though, so you'll need to dispose of them properly, sending them back to the hell from whence they came. One method is to boil them, and to wash all your clothes and the comb in hot water they cannot survive in temperatures over 130 degrees Farenheit, according to the Centers of Disease Control And Prevention.
Also, it's worth noting that in most cases, there's nothing you can do to prevent a lice infestation. They love even the cleanest of kids. However, you can take steps as soon as you notice your child itching their scalp or having trouble sleeping, so that the infestation doesn't progress to viral, nightmare-inducing heights.