Lice Happen: Be Armed with the Facts

lice

Any parent of a school age child should be aware that wherever kids gather in groups there is a chance of exposure to head lice.  The buggers know no cultural or geographic bounds.   In addition to the prevention methods we’ve discussed in other blogs, to aid our understanding, it’s a good time to examine some of the myths and facts about lice.

It is a MYTH that lice can jump

-There is a common misconception that lice can fly and jump, when the truth is that lice don’t have jointed bodies, hind legs or wings.  Lice can only crawl from head to head.


It is a MYTH that people who get heal lice are dirty.

-In reality, it is true that head lice are equal opportunity parasites.  It is actually easier for them to travel on clean hair.


It is a MYTH that you need to clean your entire house and bag up linens for two weeks.

-Head lice need blood to survive.  They will die within 24 hours when off the human head and without food source.

It is a MYTH that hairspray will prevent lice.

-Hair spray is not a deterrent for lice. Adding products to the hair can impede identification and complicate the treatment process.


It is a MYTH that using mayonnaise or olive oil will kill lice.

Although the oils may help in the combing out process, lice are not suffocated by them.


It is a MYTH that a nit or egg can hatch anywhere.

Once dislodged from the head nits/eggs cannot hatch, reattach or breed in the environment. Eggs do not travel!

Massachusetts lice profesional

Now that we are armed with the facts, we can turn our energy to preventing re-infestation:

Reduce risk of re-infestation with these tips:

-Keep hair pulled back when socializing with others

-Shampoo regularly with a mint-based shampoo or a lice prevention shampoo

-Use a mint-based leave in spritz/repellant before leaving home

-Comb with lice comb once or twice a week and watch for signs of lice

-Don’t let fear of embarrassment paralyze you from telling others

More tips can be found here 

 

All Aboard for Summer Camp: How to Prepare for Summer Activities and Lice

With summer fast approaching, many parents are busy making plans to send kids off to summer camp.  It is the perfect time to add a lice prevention and treatment plan to your child’s summer backpack.  Lice at summer camp is a reality:    If there are groups of children playing, it’s a good idea to assume one of them may have lice. Although, there are solid lice deterrents, if your child does contract lice, don’t panic!  There are effective, non-chemical treatments available which yield great successWith the small addition of a new grooming habit, your family can have the gift of a lice-free Summer, and peace of mind!

The Breeding Ground

Lice at summer camps can be a significant challenge.  It’s a good idea to arm yourself with the most comprehensive information before sending your child off to their new adventure. Typically camps will have some type of head lice policy and are perfectly willing to share this information with parents.

Surprisingly, there are many myths about lice infestation:  Lice are not caused by environmental factors.  The primary source of transmission is head to head contact while sharing personal or sleeping space. (Not so much by sharing personal items such as combs, brushes and clothing which is less than 5%. The family pet is not susceptible). Lice do not jump or fly. They crawl and can only survive for about 24 hours without a human host.

A Head Start

As a parent there are precautions you can take to help keep the critters at bay. Check your child’s head for lice before they depart for camp. Use a well-constructed metal lice comb on damp/wet hair under bright lighting. Make a clean pass from root to tip. Wipe on a white towel. Eggs/nits are about the size of a strawberry seed, are shaped like a teardrop, or tadpole with a little tail.  Lice are about the size of a sesame seed and can range in color from grayish to reddish/brownish. In order to survive, the adult bug must feed on human blood every few hours.

Have a discussion with your child about not sharing personal items.  Summer camp is built around the notion of bonding, so it is natural for kids to be close during activities and while sleeping. A reminder about sharing and personal space is a good idea.

Your Child Has Lice.  Now What?     
Ultimately, despite preparation and best efforts, lice infestation can happen at camp.  The first advice as always, is don’t panic!  The symptoms of head lice infestation include red bumps around the ears and back of the neck. Frequent head scratching is also a sign, but most infested individuals never itch.  You can read about more signs and symptoms here.   A lice infestation is a “medical nuisance” with no long-term health effects aside from scratching.   Contracting lice does NOT mean that your child or your home is dirty!  However, left untreated, lice will multiply and can infest the entire family.

Removal of lice doesn’t require a call to the doctor, and many prescription treatments can have harmful side effects.  A good metal comb will be most effective.

Get in touch with us!!  Nitty Bitty Critter uses the Shepherd Method™ of lice removal. This is a highly specialized strand-by-strand technique that eliminates the need for multiple treatments with harsh chemicals and prescriptions. We are mobile:  Service is provided in the privacy of your home. Trained, certified professional service on the East Coast that can take the stress out of lice removal.  Don’t let your summer vacation get ruined by lice!

We can help NOW!  Here’s how to prepare for our visit.

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