As a parent, a lice infestation in your home is nothing short of stressful. Between treatment , cleaning household items, and having your kids home from school, a lice infestation is enough to drive anyone bonkers. For weeks afterwards, moms often turn into itchy moms: the caretaker than keeps scratching even though her child’s lice is gone. We understand that you want your lice infestation gone and a piece of your past. That's why we’ve broken down possible sources of your Itchy Mom Syndrome and suggestions on ways to calm your lice-related anxieties.
Why am I Still Itchy Even Though My Child’s Lice is Gone?
It’s likely that you are experiencing psychosomatic itching if you are still itching after a lice infestation. It’s just like watching a movie where a character has bugs on them or finding an ant on your hand; psychosomatic itching makes your skin crawl all over the place without actually experiencing the stimuli. Since the mere thought of head lice is enough to make anyone’s head itch, it’s important to consider that your itching may not have a physical cause, and is likely just the manifestation of your continued lice-related anxiety.
For some people, itching and tingling skin is a stress response. Medical professionals often suggest that stress - in this case, related to the life changes stemming from a lice infestation - can aggravate underlying conditions such as eczema and dermatitis by activating nerve fibers that were previously relaxed and unactivated. In other words, stress or anxiety alone can cause hives or itchiness. If this is a persistent problem for you, it’s a good idea to contact a doctor or use a low-dose OTC antihistamine to control the itching.
Healing Louse Bites or Scratch Marks
If you found a few lice on your head during your child’s treatment, you likely experienced a good amount of itching yourself. Once you and your child’s lice are gone, both of you are likely to experience residual itching from any of the following sources:
Healing Louse Bites: Much like a mosquito bite, a louse bite will likely be more itchy as it heals --- and that means it IS healing! Power through!
Deep Scratch Marks: If you were an aggressive scratcher during your infestation, you may have cut the skin on your scalp. Much like cuts and scrapes elsewhere on the body, the healing process for this cut may cause some itching.
Dry Scalp: If you used a lice shampoo or chemical treatment, it’s likely that the chemicals caused drying or irritation to your scalp. Though the lice are gone, it may take time to replenish moisture to your scalp.
Don’t panic -- but there’s a chance you still have lice. Since lice has developed an immunity to many OTC treatments, it’s possible that you may have missed a louse or nit along the way. Because these chemical treatments are sometimes insufficient at treating lice, we recommend lice treatment by hand, preferably from a proffesional technician at Larger Than Lice.
What Can I Do to Calm My Nerves?
Since the majority of cases of Itchy Mom Syndrome stem from anxiety surrounding a previous infestation or residual feelings from treatment, there are many ways you can sort through this itching --- most of which are free and easy. We look to cure itchy moms with common anxiety-relieving techniques, peace of mind, and thorough, professional advice.
Tips for Stopping the Post-Lice Infestation Itch
Take a Shower: A good cure for psychosomatic itching in particular is taking a shower. By showering, you’ll rid yourself of the dirty feeling that lice can cast upon your body. Also, if you think dry skin or anxiety scratching may be the source of your itch, taking a shower will (quite literally) calm those nerves and moisturize your itchy skin.
Utilize Grounding Techniques: People with anxiety often use grounding techniques to distract themselves from distressing stimuli. If you’re feeling anxious about lice and think that could be the source of your itching, use all five senses to identify what you body is smelling, feeling, hearing, and so on. When you identify real stimuli and acknowledge them, you will often feel relief from anxiety-induced itching.
Have a Glass… Or Two: After dealing with a lice infestation, you probably deserve a glass of wine. So let’s be real here; if your nerves are up and you can’t seem to relax, a glass of wine may help calm you down.
Contact Hair Whisperers: We get it -- after a lice infestation, you have this ongoing anxiety that every speck in your hair is a louse or a nit. That’s why we work with post-treatment moms to provide them with answers.