Summer Camp – A Breeding Ground for Lice Outbreaks
It’s been a long school year.
It is feeling harder and harder to get the lunches packed for school and to get out the door on time.
The line of cars in front of the school seems longer as the bell rings and you hope your children made it to their classrooms without being tardy.
But now it is summer and a new routine needs to be established. The kids are not going to play nicely all day long without some structure. Maybe summer is vacation for the kids, but it can feel like a lot of work for parents!
Enter summer camp.
Something designed especially for the kids that they will love. They will develop some independence, make new friends, and have experiences they would never have had at home.
Summer Camp Worries
Sending your kids off to summer camp can bring up a lot of worries. Will they be safe? Will they be lonely? Will they find some way to only eat candy? And don’t forget about lice.
Head lice spread at schools, but the summer camp set-up with kids in close proximity to each other and bunk beds packed into a room creates a special opportunity for head lice. If one camper arrives with head lice the conditions are perfect for those little creatures to spread like a cafeteria food fight.
However, don’t let worries about lice keep you from sending your children off for a great experience at summer camp. Instead, keep a few things in mind that can help ward off lice altogether or make the treatment quick and painless if an infestation occurs.
What to Know
There are a few things to keep in mind when dealing, or potentially dealing, with lice. These few steps will help keep your mind at ease and give you a plan in case you do need to deal with some head lice.
- First and foremost, remember that head lice do not cause disease. Yes, they are itchy and bothersome, but your worries can stop there. In addition, lice infestations are not related to how sanitary a person is or is not so an infestation of head lice is not a poor reflection on you as a parent!
- Contact the summer camp and find out what their policy is regarding head lice. There should be some sort of a protocol in place to provide structure if or when an infestation is detected. If the camp does not have a head lice policy in place you may refer them to the American Camp Association website that gives tips for a camp when dealing with lice.
- Before your children leave for camp, talk to them about lice and how they spread. Use our website or the CDC as a resource especially their advice on prevention. There are a number of ways that head lice can spread, however, in the vast majority of cases, head lice are spread through direct head to head contact with an infested person. It is possible to get lice from sharing a towel, pillow, hat, brush, etc. and your child should be know to avoid those things, but head lice cannot survive for long off of a human head so they tend to cling onto human hair.
- If your summer camp does not contract with the Lice Clinics of America, consider purchasing the preventative products that make lice less likely to take up residence in your child’s hair.
- Finally, have your own plan in place. Check your children before they leave for camp to be sure that they do not bring lice to the camp. When your children arrive home use a lice comb and screen them before they settle back in. In addition, running their camp clothes and bedding through the laundry on high heat will take care of anything that may have fallen off of their head or come from the friendly camper who slept one bunk over.
In the event that your child or children do end up with lice, there is no need to panic. Even though lice shampoos are becoming less and less effective as lice adapt to deal with the pesticides being used, there is a safe and easy treatment available.
Historically, the trouble has been getting rid of both the hatched lice and the nits (eggs). Many of the treatment options leave the nits viable and once they hatch there is a new infestation. Additionally, the risks associated with pesticide exposure are becoming more clear. The treatment available at the Lice Clinics of America kills both the nits and the hatched lice without the use of any chemicals. The procedure only takes about 90 minutes depending on the infestation and the length of hair, so you can be on your way and back to normal life before you know it.
Before you send your children off to summer camp this year, make a note of where the nearest Lice Clinics of America center is to incorporate into your lice treatment plan. Having a simple plan in place will go a long way toward taking away at least one of your summer camp worries!