Ah, summer camp. Campfires, s’mores, swimming, and…head lice?
“Head lice don’t take the summer off,” said Judy Hayden, owner of Lice Clinics of America® – Lexington. “In fact, summer camps are ‘custom made’ to spread head lice, with kids in close quarters, sleeping and playing together for extended periods of time.”
“No parent wants to get the call that their camper has head lice,” Hayden said. Here are a few things you can do to decrease the odds that your child gets lice at camp:
- First and foremost, get a professional head check before camp. Make sure your child doesn’t already have head lice before camp starts. Many children have lice without knowing it. It can take up to two weeks before symptoms such as itching to start. Check again when your child gets home. A professional check is best because lice can be difficult to accurately diagnose. Our clinic offers head checks for $25 which is waived if lice are found and the child is treated. It’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.
- Know your facts. Lice spread primarily through head-to-head contact. They don’t fly or jump. Head lice can’t live anywhere but on a human scalp (hence the name ‘head’ lice), so encourage your children to avoid head-to-head and hair-to-hair contact, including hugs and selfies.
- Use a lice prevention product such as Lice Clinics of America’s preventive sprays and shampoos. They are non-toxic, easy to apply, and serve as a kind of lice repellent for your child. They can be used daily for an extra layer of protection.
- Make sure your children use their own combs, brushes, clips, and anything else they use on their hair. While it is rare that lice spread through shared personal items, it can happen.
- Lice don’t die in water. They can hold their breath for up to eight hours, so children should only use their own towels to dry themselves after swimming or showering.
Finally, if your child does come home with head lice, don’t panic or punish yourself. “You and your child didn’t do anything wrong,” Hayden said. “Twelve million children under the age of 14 get head lice each year in the United States alone. It’s no different than catching a cold—your child just got lice from someone else.”
Hayden also wants you to know that getting rid of head lice is easier than ever, thanks to Lice Clinics of America’s FDA-cleared, AirAllé® medical device. AirAllé uses heated air to dehydrate lice and eggs and has been clinically proven to kill live lice and more than 99 percent of eggs (nits) in a single treatment. The service takes about an hour and is guaranteed to be effective.
“If you come in for a head check, and we find head lice or nits on your child, we can treat him or her on the spot, and you’ll leave our clinic lice-free in an hour or so, guaranteed,” Hayden said.
With 330 clinics in 35 countries, Lice Clinics of America is the world’s largest network of professional lice treatment centers. AirAllé has treated more than 800,000 cases of head lice around the world with a success rate better than 99 percent.