Wednesday, October 4, 2023
HomeLIFESTYLEPARENTINGMy Child Contracted Head Lice and She's Black

My Child Contracted Head Lice and She’s Black

There is this common misconception that black people cannot get lice, and up until my recent experience, I was one of those people that believed this to be true. I was wrong and very unprepared. I have two daughters; at the time they were seven and three. Please understand that my daughters are literally human hairballs. We commonly call our children names like; Cousin It, Chaka Khan, Diana Ross, Afrolicious, etc. Their hair is beautiful to look at, but it is absolutely a full-time job. My oldest daughter, Amor; has a fine texture yet extremely thick and springy curls. While my youngest daughter, Amelia; has a more coarse texture with super spongy coils. I think it is also important for you to know that my hair is course, thick, and spongey. During this time, I had just begun my loc journey so the lice was hell in our home.

I was lying in the bed relaxing, spending some quality time with my husband when the phone rang. My cell phone display screen showed it was my kids’ school calling. I hurried and answered because I thought why is the school is calling in the middle of the school day, I hope everything is okay. “Hi Mrs. Vargas, there’s no emergency however we need you to pick up Amor from school, she has lice” … Silence. “What?! Are you sure? I don’t think she has lice; black people don’t get lice,” I responded before I could even process my thoughts and words. “Yes, we are sure, several of the kids have it”. The call ended and I was left sitting on my bed confused and trying to process. Lice were unthreaded territory. All I knew about lice was that in elementary school in the nineties, kids who had lice after a lice check at school, returned either bald or with a buzzcut. OMG was I going to have to cut my daughter’s beautiful curly locs off her head.

I got into the car and headed to the school. I called my mom, my Aunt, sister-in-law that is a stylist as well as my best friend who is a stylist. We were all baffled, but the stylists in my family helped by providing a clear definition of what lice are and how common it is. They let me know that it’s not a cleanliness issue. As a matter of fact, Amor’s hair had been washed and detangled two days before the school caught the lice. Lice are so common, you can go to the movie theater and if the person who sat in the chair before you had lice, that same lice can jump on you and survive. Amor had gotten her hair washed and detangled two days prior to the lice infecting her hair and because her hair was so clean, the lice survived.

I finally arrived at the school; there she was with her hair in two space buns looking super cute. How could they see lice in her hair, if they didn’t even take her buns down? I began to think this was a mistake. I was wrong. One of the lice inspectors walked over to me and pointed out the lice in Amor’s hair. That’s just one, I thought to myself. Maybe it’s not as bad as they think. I was given what I like to call The Lice Care Sheet; which had suggestions as to how to rid the lice, what to look for, and the number to Lice Buster’s (Yes, there is a place that you can take a lice infected person and the cosmetologist will rid the lice for you in an all-white room for the small fee of an arm and a leg).

This was a very new and a bit overwhelming, luckily, my Aunt sent me an article about black children and lice to help me along the way. This was VERY beneficial. The article explained how oil smothers lice and their eggs, called nits. It also suggested heat to rid the lice. I spoke to a friend of mine who experienced lice with her biracial child and how the lice poison from the pharmacy ruined her child’s curls. Instead, she recommended a hair line called “Fairy Tales” which was new at Ulta and that this was the hair care line that cosmetologists use in Lice Busters! I hurried to Ulta to purchase the “Fairy Tales” bundle. I bought it all, the leave-in daily lice spray, the foam shampoo, the tiny metal comb made to comb out the lice eggs. After I left Ulta, I headed over to GNC. There I purchased garlic oil and tea tree oil, both suggestions from friends and the article.

Once we got home, I grabbed a trash bag and bagged her pillows, sheets, and anything else that may have been exposed to the lice. I took a chair outside on the porch and began the process of saving my daughter’s hair from lice. I had to take tiny sections, spray them with the lice spray and take the tiny metal comb and comb down from the root to tip. Curls were pulling and popping as I combed through each microscopic section of Amor’s hair. It took about three hours outside before I finished her entire head. I then doused her hair in olive oil, bordering her scalp with the garlic and tea tree oils. She slept with two shower caps on her head as the oil had to smother her scalp overnight. She woke up the next day, still not able to return to school. I then rinsed the oil out in warm water, blow-dried her hair and flat ironed it. My daughter very seldom is allowed to flat iron her hair as we love and embrace our natural curls but this didn’t stop her from falling in love with the press.

After sanitizing the house, trashing bedding and hair tools, and being cautious so that no one else in our home got lice; it was finally time for Amor to return to school. Two days after the initial sighting of the lice I was sure it was all gone and time to go back. The first week back to school was crazy. The school my kids attend is fairly small. During drop off, there was a separate line for kids who had lice. Every day for a week, we stood with half the school for a lice check to make sure it was all gone… and it was! Finally, the nightmare had come to an end. More importantly, I felt like a Lice Pro when it was all over (Not that I plan on needing this newfound expert information). The moral of the story is this… As a community, people of color are still getting back to our roots and navigating through the process of how best to care for our natural hair. There are no set rules. Don’t be ignorant as I was, and know, Black people CAN get lice. Lol.








Anyea Coleman Vargas is a 30-year-old Creative residing in Miami, Florida. Born and raised in Baton
Rouge, Louisiana with roots as far as New Bern North Carolina. Anyea is the owner of Melanin No.5 “A
Good Vibes Company” selling handmade goods such as lavender sage wands and lavender Milk Baths.
Anyea is the wife of her high school sweetheart, Carlos, and together they are the parents of two
imagination experts; Demi and Violet. Anyea briefly studied at Southern University before relocating to
Miami, where she now attends Miami Dade College. Anyea has been writing since the age of eight
mostly focusing on poetry. Anyea has a children’s book “Nice to Meet You”, making its debut in May
2020. For more information on Anyea and upcoming work, follow her on Instagram @melanin_no.5 or



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