Head lice tend to be more prevalent during warmer months, so it’s not uncommon for a child to get head lice in summer, especially when attending summer camps, which is why there is often a summer camp lice policy in place. With the increasing prevalence of “super lice”, which are resistant to many common treatments, many families may struggle to get rid of them. So what is lice and can you prevent them?
What Is Lice?
Head lice are parasites that live on the human head. While anyone can get head lice, it is especially common in school-aged children and their families. Head lice are spread through direct head-to-head contact with another person who has head lice.
Tips on How to Prevent Lice in Camps
Much like schools, many camps have a camp lice policy surrounding lice. Some have no-nit policies, others have no active lice policies. There are even some that will not admit a child unless they pass a check for head lice. Inevitably, however, children can still get head lice from camp, or a family may get a lice letter to parents from camp advising that there is an outbreak.
If you are sending your child to camp, there are a few practical things you can do to ensure the head lice spread does not affect your family, and that your child stays as protected as possible from contracting head lice from another camper. Here are tips on how to avoid getting lice and prevent lice from spreading at camp:
- Educate your child on head lice - explain how head lice is transmitted so they can avoid direct head-to-head contact with others during camp activities. The most common way that lice are spread is via hair to hair contact with a person who already has a case of lice.
- Keep their hair artificially dirty. When the strands of hair have a coating around them, it is more difficult for lice to grab onto to infest a new host. This is why lice prefer clean hair over dirty hair. As a suggestion, add some mousse, hair spray, or a lice repellent spray.
- For longer hair, use hair accessories to keep the hair up in a bun or a braid, or some other style that keeps the hair close to the head. Doing this will minimize the contact area that is readily available for a louse to cling to.
- Perform regular head lice checks on all of the family members in the home. Inspect the hair in a well-lit area - sunlight is the best - looking for eggs or bugs on the strands of hair. Doing this, you will find head lice quickly - the sooner an infestation is caught, the easier it is to treat.
- Advise your child not to share towels or other vectors. While it is not a very common way for children to contract lice, using something that belongs to someone else who happens to have an active lice infestation increases the chances your child will get it too.
- For overnight camps, we recommend that all campers receive a head lice screening by a professional lice service, like LiceDoctors; camp staff should be checked as well upon arrival at camp. This will ensure that everyone your child comes into contact with at camp is lice-free.
Be Informed About Camp Lice Policy
Much like school head lice, policies, the camp lice policy regarding head lice will vary from camp to camp. In most cases, children with an active case of head lice, with the presence of bugs and eggs, are not permitted, but children with just nits can remain. However, some camps have adopted no-nit lice policies, which means even if there are only eggs in the hair, the child must stay away from camp. It’s important to research this before arriving so your child is not turned away. In addition to in-home head lice checks, LiceDoctors offers head lice screenings at camps to detect cases of lice at any stage, and we can provide treatment at that time.
Educate Your Child About Head Lice
Included in the tips on how to prevent lice in summer camps, we recommend educating your child about lice. Educating your child on head lice and how they are transmitted will help them to understand, and be alert to, situations they can avoid where the risk of getting lice is higher. In addition, this will help them to understand those head lice is common, and nothing anyone should be embarrassed about.
Warn Your Child About Lice Precautions at Camp
Often, when lice outbreaks are identified at camp, the family and campers are made aware. When this occurs, ensure that your child knows what to do. Remind them to avoid sharing accessories or clothing that may come into contact with another person’s head. While the temptation to share hairbrushes may be high, it’s important they understand that now especially it is not a good idea. Also, let them know that, at least until the outbreak is gone, they should not hug or put their head near another child’s head.
Think of Appropriate Hairstyle For Summer Camp
During the summer months, ensuring your child’s hair is tied up may not be a challenge, however, as children run around, their hair could fall down and they may even lose the scrunchie or hair clip that is holding their hair in place. When getting ready, keep this in mind and be sure to pick out a style that will not only keep them comfortable but will remain up and in place throughout the day. Many children are partial to buns, ponytails, pigtails, and french braids.
Perform Regular Head Lice Checks at Home
If a lice infestation is caught early, the time and monetary investment to get rid of the case of lice will be lower. Lice happen, so don’t be surprised if you do find an infestation, but by checking everyone’s hair regularly, and identifying cases of lice early, you will save yourself from the stress of trying to eradicate a severe case of lice, and having to do treatments on more members of the family.
Children often count the days until their beloved summer camp experience. The last thing you want is for your child to spend the summer in the infirmary with head lice that won’t go away. Summer lice at camp? Give LiceDoctors a call at 800-224-2537, and we can help you out!