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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symptoms of head lice

Head Lice and Disease! Parents Need the FACTS!

Parents require correct information in separating fact from myth, regarding head lice treatment. Current research shows that the chemicals in products, such as Nix and Rid, no longer work! Pregnant/Nursing mothers and those with ragweed sensitivity need to avoid them. Sadly, they remain the most common “DIY” fix among parents in panic mode.

In light of this article, families affected by the strain of dealing with the lousy buggers need better resources:

The Itchy History Of Head Lice And Bacterial Pathogens

lice exposure

Lice Exposure from Summer Camp to Holiday Season Nightmare

Parents, if your child was exposed to head lice during Summer camp, symptoms can be hidden for over a month. If the hair is thick, perhaps even longer! This is a perfect environment for lots of head-to-head contact (which is the primary culprit for getting the little buggers). Camp staff are not trained to identify and remove lice correctly. Itching is not always the first sign of an existing infestation. If not properly  treated in a timely manner, what may have been a smaller nuisance in the late Summer/early Fall, can evolve into a Holiday Season nightmare for the entire family.

Summer camps admit head lice can be real headache .

Head Lice and School Vacation

Believe it or not, school vacations are a prime opportunity for head lice transmission. Quite often there are sleep-overs with friends and loved ones. Perhaps your child has been on a school trip with their sports team or dance troupe. Groups of children travelling and sleeping together set the stage for lots of head-to-head contact, which is predominantly how the critters get around.

For many, itching is often the last (or non-existent) symptom of head lice infestation. This occurs when the host has built up an intolerance to the bug saliva. You may not even discover the buggers for another 1-4 weeks after initial exposure! EEEEEWW!

Here is a bit of lice advice…

Boy Scratching14137609

13 gruesome things you probably didn’t know about head lice

Parents Need to Support Each Other…Get the Facts!

Headline: Lets talk head lice

Any one can get head lice and they can be easily treated, but it does require a consistent approach

For any parent leaving their children at school for the first time is an emotional milestone. How will they get on, will they make friends, love going and do well?

In my first blog last year I talked about the stigma of skin disease and how children can be treated at school, so please go back and read it again. The word stigma means “shame, disgrace, dishonour and humiliation”, there is one aspect of school life that can be associated with these words; head lice.

My granddaughter recently started school and I was picking her up with my daughter when I noticed the little visitors in her hair, my daughter was horrified and was talking to another mum who came out with the usual myths; “Oh I thought they were only found in dirty hair”. I also remember telling my youngest daughter’s teacher once that I had found head lice and you could feel the negativity and disgust from the other mothers in the room. Was I bothered – not at all, but many are.

Any one can get head lice and they can be easily treated, but it does require a consistent approach. I duly gave my daughter the advice to check the other two children and yes my other granddaughter aged 18 months also had them. My daughter was at the supermarket and thought she would ask at the pharmacist what she could use on the little one and was told by the pharmacist babies don’t get head lice they don’t have hair! As part of any skin assessment there should be a systematic approach to the assessment, which includes the scalp, and hair, which means as a children’s nurse I frequently find them. They can be missed though if you are not used to spotting the signs of an infestation, I was asked by a registrar once to look at a child’s scalp as he couldn’t find any skin disease causing the itchy scalp. He was horrified when I pointed out the head lice that had fallen on to the desk during his examination. So, let’s clear up some of the myths surrounding head lice:

·      They can’t fly, jump or swim but are spread by head-to-head contact, climbing from the hair of an infected person to the hair of someone else.

·      An infestation isn’t the result of dirty hair or poor hygiene. All types of hair can be affected, regardless of its length and condition.

·      Head lice only affect humans and can’t be passed on to animals or be caught from them.

How should these be treated? The following issues should be discussed with the parents and supported by additional information/resources:

·      Dispel the myths.

·      Define the terminology: nits or lice.

·      What do they look like?

·      How to detect them?

·      Life cycle of head lice.

·      Treatment options.

So lets start talking about head lice and dispel the myths and stigma associated with them.

Resources

British Association of Dermatologists. Head Lice, 2014. bad.org.uk/shared/get-file.ashx?id=207&itemtype=document (accessed 1 April 2016).

Community Hygiene Concern. CHCBug Busting. chc.org/homedir/mistakenadvice.cfm (accessed 1 April 2016).

NICE. Clinical Knowledge Summaries, Head Lice, 2015. cks.nice.org.uk/head-lice (accessed 1 April 2016).

NHS Choices. Head Lice, 2014. nhs.uk/Conditions/Head-lice/Pages/Introduction.aspx (accessed 1 April 2016).

Heads-Up on Lice for Happy Campers

Aaahhh! It’s camp season! And every season is lice season, wherever and whenever children gather in groups of any size there is camping lice. Most camps conduct head-checks on admission day. But in this environment there is a very good chance that a certain percentage of newly hatched lice (nymphs) and nits (eggs) will be missed, due to their size and camouflaging ability. So here are some tips:

How to Handle Camping Lice

camping lice*Get a well constructed metal lice comb, and comb your child’s hair before sending them off.

*Use mint-based products on hair (which have a 92-95% success rate in repelling lice).

*Have your child put their hair in a ponytail, braid or bun especially if it’s long. Since head-to-head contact is the culprit this will make it slightly more difficult for the buggers to do their worst.

*Don’t share pillows!

*Check and comb their hair with the lice comb immediately returning from camp.

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