No matter when you travel, you are at risk of contracting head lice. Each season may bring a different set of risks, but the bottom line is as long as you are around people you are at risk of getting lice. LiceDoctors’ tech, Jesse, explains why and what you can do.
As the climate changes you may have questions about the seasonal effect on lice and travel. Are there any places or environments where there is a higher risk of getting lice? Does weather affect lice? What travel conditions put us at risk for lice exposure? How do I decrease the risk of contracting lice for myself and my family?
In most communities, when it is the fall season and kids return to school, back from family vacations, there is an uptick in the occurrence of head lice. The play and sharing habits of children during family vacation and then in school can have a direct effect on the spread and transmission of head lice. This typically results in a spike in school reported cases of head lice.
Unlike other creatures, like bed bugs, lice can not hibernate in winter. They remain as active as opportunity will allow. Head lice require direct head to head transfer or may occasionally be passed through a shared object. When the temperature drops in winter and you and your kids are on a ski vacation or playing outside, you might find yourselves sharing blankets, cuddling, sleeping close...all of which may expose you to lice.
As spring and summer approach, and the temperature warms, lice will take advantage of opportunities to overcome their limits in mobility. Head lice prefer warmer regions and will tend to cluster behind the ears and at the hair/neckline, where it is warmer on the head. Travel and vacation put us into more potential areas of head to head contact. Crowded forms of transportation, like planes and buses, put us into close proximity to direct and indirect contact. Summer camps for children may have even more issues than schools in dealing with lice as kids are literally on top of each other. Like summer camps, family travel means living and sleeping in close proximity to others in locations away from home...more opportunity for lice to spread.
Lice are obligate parasites. They must have a host to continue their life cycle. They cannot jump, fly, or swim. They can, however, hold their breath for 30 minutes or more. Lice can endure long exposures to water that often accompany warmer weather.
The key to avoiding lice for you and your family during travel is to prepare and be aware. Simply by being consciously aware of potential risks raises one's defense against head lice. Learn all you can about head lice and take quick action if lice are contracted.
Instead of over the counter products available at drug stores, consider the more thorough and effective method of oil, a high quality nit comb, and going through each section of hair strand by strand. Although time-consuming, this method assures a more effective, and safer means to completely remove all lice, nymphs, and their eggs. LiceDoctors can certainly help you with that.
Preventative care can include the use of pre-treatment oils, sprays, and shampoos that contain peppermint in the ingredients (a repellent to lice). As an overall means of preventive care, doing a bit of research as well as being mindful to make time to physically inspect those you care for, will give you the ability to deal with lice at the lowest possible level where it can be less complex and more manageable.
It is important to remember that should you or your family get lice while on vacation or traveling, all is not lost. Having contracted head lice within your traveling party does not mean that your trip is over. Knowing what is happening and how to treat these occurrences can save you from a sudden change in plans. Head lice do not spread disease. Also, the stigma of lice associated with being dirty or having poor hygiene is inaccurate as lice actually prefer cleaner heads. You and your family can know that if you do contract lice, it is a random occurrence that has no bearing on your cleanliness or value. With some hands-on commitment to prevention and treatment, lice can be removed and destroyed leaving you to enjoy the rest of your time and destinations during the changing seasons
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