When your child comes home from summer camp, the last thing you want is them to track lice back into the house. The American Camp Association reports that head lice are among the most common camp problems. However, even though your child comes home with lice, don’t assume you can never send them back to that camp.
In fact, even the cleanest summer camps have lice problems! Unfortunately, lice have been common for hundreds of years, with over 12 million cases per year. Plus, lice is extremely contagious, making it easier for kids to get them.
Lice Basic Facts
Here’s what you should know about lice:
– Lice are parasites that are nearly invisible to the naked eye. They are a clear color but turn a reddish color once they start consuming their host’s blood.
– Female lice can lay up to six eggs a day, called nits, which stick to hair and resemble dandruff.
– Although lice don’t fly or jump, they can crawl deep into hair to avoid light. Often, they are much harder to find than the eggs they lay.
– Lice can make the scalp itchy but often reside on the neck and behind the ears. Scratching can cause a scalp infection, even though lice do not actually cause the disease themselves.
– There are a variety of treatment plans for lice such as over-the-counter and prescription lotions, shampoos, and creams. Unfortunately, ordinary shampoo will not get rid of lice and fully treating lice can take up to two different treatments.
– Luckily, lice only live in hair, so there’s no need to disinfect your home. Although, it’s suggested to wash clothing and bedding that may have lice on it.
Get Informed on Camp Lice Policies
Although most camps perform checks before dropping off your child at summer camp, you should get familiar with camp policies on lice checks, such as how often they perform them. Plus, since staff members can just as easily get lice, these checks are common to de done throughout the day.
However, what happens if the camp your child goes to doesn’t know what to do during a lice infestation? Upon dropping your child off at camp, make sure that the staff knows how to deal with lice, as well as a treatment location on-site. Additionally, it’s also important that no staff member tries spraying harmful chemicals on your child as a lice treatment.
Perform Pre-Camp Head Lice Checks
So you know how to perform a pre-camp lice check? If you don’t here’s how:
– Examine your child’s hair under a bright light and be on the look for movement
– Since lice can move quickly, make sure you have a comb on hand to separate them from your child’s hair
– Lice eggs, otherwise called nits, often look like dandruff but need to be fully separated from hair
– Make sure you use a proper lice comb to separate all lice from your child’s hair
– Always be on the lookout on your child’s neck, behind their ears, crown of their head, and under their bangs for lice or nits.
Discuss Lice With Your Child
It’s important that you have a talk with your child about the importance of checking for head lice. This can be done with a simple lice identification lesson or a common reminder to not have hair on hair contact or sharing clothing. A simple motto that you can integrate is, “No shame, no blame.” After all, there’s no reason to be embarrassed if you have lice.
Perform Post-Camp Lice Checks
A great way to prevent any lice infestations at home is to perform a quick post-camp lice check once your child returns from camp. Aside from that, you should also make sure you wash all your kid’s clothes and bedding to kill any lice that may be residing on them. If you do find lice, there are measures you can take to remove them. Lice treatment consists of prescription shampoos and lotions.
Keep Lice in Perspective
Lice are not as dangerous as other parasites and do not carry any sort of disease. If anything, they’re more of an annoyance and hygiene issue. Plus, they are incredibly common and head lice removal is relatively simple. So, always keep an eye out, but don’t let your child tease anyone who has lice or make a big deal out of it. No shame, no blame!