Every kid loves to go away to summer camp. There is nothing like the experience of canoeing, cooking dinner around the campfire, and hiking with friends in the great outdoors. As parents, you are certainly preparing your child with bug spray and sunscreen for their next big adventure. There’s another area of protection you should definitely take the time to speak to your child about. Did you know that summer camp is one of the top times of year that children are most susceptible to head lice?
Every year in the United States alone, up to 12 million children catch a case of head lice. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Head lice are spread by direct contact with the hair of an infected person. Anyone who comes in head-to-head contact with someone who already has head lice is at greatest risk. Personal hygiene or cleanliness in the home or school has nothing to do with getting head lice.”
Why Summer Camp?
Two major factors play a role in the significant spread of head lice during summer camp situations. First of all, the warmer weather makes head lice more prominent. Secondly, with summer camp comes loads of children playing together, living in close proximity, sharing clothes, sleeping with the same blankets and pillows and ultimately, sharing head lice. Nothing really special happens, just more of the same normal ways head lice are commonly spread.
How to Prevent Lice at Summer Camp?
Talk to your local Lice Clinics of America professionals about preventive sprays, conditioners, or other deterrents that your child could use while at summer camp. These products are specially formulated to repel head lice and keep your child from becoming a host.
Talk to your camp about any measures they will take. Many camps offer head lice screenings and products for their campers if they contract head lice. Often, Lice Clinics of America is even asked to provide screenings and bring their innovative technology, the FDA-cleared AirAllé device, to eliminate the problem. If your summer camp doesn’t have a plan or a policy, suggest that they develop one. Lice Clinics of America is an excellent source for head lice prevention and treatment.
Remember, head lice is more easily caught in girls who have long hair, left down. Remind them to pull hair back into braids, pigtails, ponytails, or even wear a hat. Keep boys’ hair short and trimmed. Always talk to kids about not sharing brushes, combs, hats, helmets, clothing, towels, or pillows. Even some electronic devices can pass head lice, such as headphones or earbuds.
What Do I Do When My Child Comes Home From Camp?
Usually, head lice symptoms take weeks to manifest. The best way to detect head lice quickly is to perform head lice checks. These can be done at home with a nitpicking comb, a paper towel, and a lot of patience. Simply sift through your child’s hair, looking for traces of head lice, irritated markings on the scalp, or signs of nits (lice eggs around the base of the hair shaft). Wipe the nit-comb off onto the paper towel after every swipe to look for traces. Lice Clinics of America offers head lice screening at our clinics if you are unsure what to look for.
Wash all clothing and belongings with hot water and dry on high heat. If you are unable to wash any particular items, place them in the dryer for 30 minutes on a high-heat setting. There is no need to throw away items, washing and drying them eliminates any live lice and their eggs.