Parents know that when they send their kids off to summer camp there are certain precautions they should always remind them to take: bug spray, sunscreen, and lifejackets to name a few. Have you thought about the risks of head lice? The American Camp Association tells us that most summer camps report head lice are an issue for them.
Why Is Summer Camp a Problem?
Keep in mind that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention up to 12 million children will get head lice in the United States this year. The CDC tells us, “Head lice are spread by direct contact with the hair of an infested person. Anyone who comes in head-to-head contact with someone who already has head lice is at greatest risk….Personal hygiene or cleanliness in the home or school has nothing to do with getting head lice.”
For this reason, summer camp is a key time for the spreading of head lice. What are children doing all day? Spending time together! Whether they are singing songs by the campfire or swimming by the lake, kids spend several days in close living conditions, hugging, playing and just being together. There is more opportunity here for the normal direct head to head contact that transfers head lice.
Children also become close and tend to share things more freely. Towels, bedding, pillows, clothing, hats, or brushes are all often shared and can become infested with head lice. Even some electronic devices such as earbuds or headphones can pass on head lice. Once they are passed onto another person, that person has a high risk of becoming infected as well.
Precautions to Take Before Summer Camp
There are several things a concerned parent can do to help prevent their child from coming home with head lice. Lice Clinics of America suggest that before your child leaves you should perform a head lice check to make sure they are not carrying head lice. We offer these in our clinics or can show you how to do it on your own.
Talk to our professional staff about preventative products that could help ward off an infection. We offer a wide range of products that help to deter head lice by repelling them with a strong scent that only affects head lice. We also offer shampoos, conditioners, and sprays that could be beneficial in preventing a problem during camp.
Make sure you know what to expect from your camp policies. Some camps will send a child home if they are caught with head lice, others will treat them on the spot. Lice Clinics of America is often invited to campsites to perform screenings and treatments on site when needed. If your camp doesn’t have a policy or plan in mind, suggest that they create one. Our offices are a great source for summer camps.
Keep Your Kid a Happy Camper
The most important thing to do as a parent is to inform your child of the risks and ways head lice are spread before they go camping. Teach them not to share items, to avoid direct head to head contact. Have girls pull long hair back out of the way where it is less prone to catching head lice. Keep boys hair short and trim.
Sometimes, no matter how many precautions you may take, head lice just happens. Ensure children that they are not dirty or bad. Anyone and everyone is at risk for head lice. They have not done anything wrong, they are not in danger, and there are safe methods for eliminating the problem quickly and effectively.
Call Lice Clinic of America, St. Charles today to talk about any questions or concerns you may have about summer camp and head lice prevention. Our knowledgeable staff is here to help!