As parents start planning to send their children to summer camp, Lice Clinics of Canada® – Ontario, has several tips for how parents can avoid welcoming head lice into their homes when their children return from camp.
“Camps are a peak time for head lice because campers are together 24 hours a day eating, drinking, playing, and sleeping in close quarters,” said Ben Silva, owner of Lice Clinics of Canada – Ontario. “Our network sees an uptick every summer. The old saying that ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ is very true in this case.”
“Head lice spread almost entirely through head-to-head contact or, more precisely, through hair-to-hair contact,” Ben said. “ Summer camp creates lots of opportunities for hair-to-hair contact: sleeping with heads close together, hugging, huddling over phones to look at photos, crowding together for selfies—all the things that kids do naturally when in groups.”
What can you do to make sure your child doesn’t bring lice home from summer camp? Here are a few tips:
- Encourage children to avoid head to head contact with other kids. If they have had head lice in the past, they’ll know what having head lice is like and want to prevent it from happening again.
- Keep long hair pulled back in braids or buns. Short or tightly bound hair reduces the risk of hair-to-hair contact.
- Discourage kids from sharing combs, brushes, jackets, and backpacks. Though rare, lice can spread when a hair shaft they are attached to falls onto a hair accessory or clothing that someone else puts on their own head. This can also happen with hair that falls on pillowcases and sleeping bags.
- Schedule a head lice screening for your child by a head lice professional before and after camp. First, make sure your child isn’t bringing head lice to camp in the first place. Lice can be difficult to detect by the untrained eye. After camp, a head check is important because early detection can make treatment faster and easier and prevent the spread of head lice at home.
- Use a preventive product before and during camp. Once you know your child doesn’t have head lice, using a product can provide protection when used as a lice repellant. If your child is going to camp longer than one week, make sure there’s enough product to last.
- Check with your child’s camp to see if they have a lice policy. Some check all campers upon arrival while others send kids home when they are found to have head lice. Make sure you know what you’re getting into!
If your child does come home with head lice, don’t worry. There are treatments available that are fast and easy. Lice Clinics of Canada, the world’s largest network of professional lice treatment centers, offers a breakthrough treatment that uses a Health Canada-cleared medical device, using warm air to dehydrate lice and eggs in about an hour. The device, called the AirAllé®, is clinically proven to kill live lice and more than 99 percent of eggs (nits), and is guaranteed to be effective. Lice Clinics of Canada also offers home treatment products.
There are more than 300 Lice Clinic treatment centers in more than 30 countries in our network, and the AirAllé® device has successfully treated close to 500,000 people with a success rate better than 99 percent. To learn more or to find a clinic, visit www.liceclinicsontario.ca.