View Full Version : Gymnastics and Lice?

03-10-2011, 06:56 PM
Forgive me if this is in the wrong place, but I thought this would be where it belongs. The week before last my daughter started gymnastics and ballet on the same day, but at different locations. She has gymnastics in the morning through a parks and recreation (taught by a studio though), and ballet in the afternoon. In ballet she doesn't make direct contact with the other girls, or share head wear. In gymnastics she rolls all over the mats (as do the other children), and she sits very close to the other children.

So, gymnastics and ballet are on Wednesdays. A few days after the class, almost a week to the day, as I was combing my daughters hair, I noticed a bunch of sesame seed looking things in her hair. I had lice once as a child when I was in the 4th grade, so I don't remember what they look like. I looked it up on the internet, and sure enough, she had nits in her hair. I sent my husband out to buy a lice comb, and combed all of them out. The next day, I found more, so I repeated the combing out. We missed our classes that week, because I felt it was best to make sure they were completely gone before returning.

This week at class, I let the instructor know why we missed, and that I thought it best he notify the parents and clean the mats. He never told the parents! I caught a few of them out in the parking lot, and let them know. This morning as I was combing my daughters hair, I again found a few nits :( So now I'm convinced that my daughter is picking the lice up from rolling on the mats after a child in the class who has lice. I have a friend whose daughter also takes gymnastics through them (on a different day and time), and they haven't found anything in her hair. I also notified ballet, and they did a check of all the girls, and everyone came up clean.

So here's my issue, what should I do? We pay $55 a month for her to participate in gymnastics, and she loves it. It's too much money to just walk away from and say forget it, plus my daughter loves the class. But I can't keep taking her back every week, and bringing her home with lice. I've been having to waste a few days of school for the third week in a row now, washing bedding, vacuuming, and de-lousing my daughter. I treat my hair with a lot of high heat (blow dry and straight iron), as well as my oldest son, my younger son dyes his hair, and I made my husband shave off his hair, but I'm at my wits end here :(

03-10-2011, 07:24 PM
Are you seeing lice or the nits? If you are seeing the nits, she isn't picking up nits at practice. You also have to be very diligent in washing every piece of bedding in hot water, treating the car upholstery, bagging up stuffed animals in plastic bags for at least two weeks. Find out the cycle of lice. I think its something like ten days from nit to new lice, so it takes a while to get rid of the nasty buggers. You can also use a tablespoon of tea tree oil in her shampoo bottle to help as a deterrant. Put her hair in a pony tail and spray it with hairspray to coat it. Lice don't like dirty hair, or hair with lots of product. They want a clean hair shaft to grip onto. That doesn't mean be dirty, it just means its harder for them if there is product.

03-10-2011, 07:25 PM
Oh and Good Luck!

03-10-2011, 10:02 PM
Just went through this with my daughter and it took 2 actual treatments and three additional combings (used a special comb and just put conditioner in her hair so the comb would glide through her hair easier) before I wasn't finding them anymore. And like you, I thought I had got them all each time so I did not know where they were coming from. I also spent a day and a half washing bedding, stuffed animals, hats, scarves anything and everything that would fit in the washer that her head had possibly touched. Plus I threw away every brush, comb or hair accessory and replaced them. It ended up taking just over 3 weeks to not see any more nits--I seriously thought I would never get rid of them! I would comb her hair again and just keep checking, it just takes patience to get rid of them. I can understand if you don't want to put pesticides or harsh chemicals on your dd's head but Rid makes a treatment that does not contain these things, you might want to try it and see if that finally works for you. I will warn you though that it is very oily and will stain clothes/fabrics so make sure clothes and furniture are covered in the area you are working.
Good luck

03-11-2011, 12:39 AM
Our son brought lice home from circus school last year. We used dawn dish soap and got rid of the lice lickety split. I mean in two days. Dawn dissolves the nit coating that allows it to stick to the hair and it suffocates larvae and adult lice. The nits mostly just rinse out, but you still need the fine tooth comb. I would notify the parks and rec department with formal complaint letter. Most schools have policies about lice notification to parents and I imagine that your parks and rec department does as well. I would send a copy of the letter to the gym. Then I would be asking other parents about lice. When my son brought lice home, we notified and it turned out that our son was sharing a locker with a boy that had lice. His parents hadn't notified because they were embrassed and worried people would think they were dirty. Ignorance, lice gets everyone even if you shampoo and bathe everyday. Once it was out in the open, more parents admitted to the problem, we discovered it was widespread and very quickly with all the parents and staff we were able to resolve the issue entirely in a couple weeks. Your coach might be like the parents who don't want to be associated with lice. He doesn't want to admit the problem is orginating in his gym and possibly loose business, especially since its hard to pin down where infestations start. If parents start talking without embarassment you'll get support.

03-15-2011, 02:18 AM
Thanks for the replies! I found an online home remedy of using half vinegar, half water solution on her hair, then combing it out, and it has worked so far.

Cathleen, I think you are right about the dirty hair thing, because I use absolutely no product in my daughters hair (maybe that's why they like it lol). I guess I'll be putting some hairspray on her hair for the next few weeks. I'm hoping this coming Wednesday that the owner will say something to the rest of the parents, but if not I will be sending a formal letter to the parks and recreation. I've continued feverishly washing everything (just to be safe), and am hoping that they don't come back.

higgledypiggledy I can't believe the parents wouldn't say anything! I was terribly embarrassed too, but I can't have my daughter be going through this week after week because other kids are being properly treated or checked for it. I have to admit that I knew nothing about lice, until I saw the specks on my baby's head, and had to look them up online; but with the internet those parents had no reason to not know that it spreads! The gym is a great gym, and the coach/owner is wonderful, so we want to keep going back, but not if he doesn't take care of this problem.

Thanks for the advice everyone, and for sharing your stories, helps me feel like I'm not the only one that has went through this :)

03-15-2011, 08:45 AM
I wouldn't assume it is at practice either. I know a lot of things can live on gym mats, but I don't think of lice as being one of them. I have a friend whose son just got over lice. They got rid of pillows, ran things through the dryer at high heat and did several treatments with Dawn.

Good luck. I know this is a pain.

03-15-2011, 08:55 AM
Sorry you are dealing with this! My oldest had taken gymnastics classes at various locations for the last four years and we have not yet had a problem with lice. I had wondered if it was possible.

04-13-2011, 10:51 AM
Every single time my sister puts her girls back into gymnastics they get lice. The connection is very real to me at this point.

04-13-2011, 10:54 AM
It must depend on the location. My kids have been in gymnastics for 9 years and we have never had lice.