For most families, summer means a break from routine activities. It is a time for vacations, outdoor pursuits, spending time with friends, afternoon swims, summer camp, non-stop fun and making memories that will last a lifetime. Unfortunately, summer can also involve some unpleasant side-effects like sunburns, bug bites, rashes, and pediculosis (a.k.a. head lice!). Summer activities are often the highlight of a child’s year, and nobody wants them ruined by head lice.
In this post, we’re sharing “pro tips” on how to prevent head lice this summer.
Summer Tip #1 – Check for Head Lice (Regularly)
If your child is off to camp or planning to gather with friends this summer, we recommend conducting a ‘head check’ ahead of time. Catching head lice before a big trip or summer camp will save you time and money. If your child is positive, you will have time to effectively treat and eradicate head lice before they leave, ensuring your child enjoys every minute of their planned activities. If you are unsure of your ability to accurately diagnose head lice, we offer professional screening at all our clinics!
Summer Tip #2 – Explain to Your Children What They Can and Cannot Share
Yes, sharing is caring, but there are some things your children should never share with others. Though lice are most commonly spread through direct head-to-head contact, they can spread by sharing hats, clothing, pillows, hair accessories, headphones, combs, brushes and more. The easiest way to address this is to make a “no share” list of these items and review it with your kids. Here is a list of items that your child should never share with others:
- Hair Accessories & Ponytail Holders
- Bike Helmets
Summer Tip #3 – Avoid Head-to-Head Contact During Group Photos & Selfies
If your child takes pictures to capture their summer memories, make sure those pictures do not include selfies with their friends! Touching heads with a person with head lice is the number one way it can transfer from one person to another. Educate your children on how lice spread and encourage them to avoid head-to-head contact with others, especially during group photos and selfies with friends.
Summer Tip #4 – Buns and Braids!
If your child has long hair, wearing it in tight buns or braids can help decrease the chances of getting head lice. These hairstyles will not only help keep them cool this summer, but it is an excellent way to keep their hair contained so it doesn’t easily come in contact with another child’s hair.
Summer Tip #5 – Use a Preventative Spray
Head lice have an acute sense of smell and do not like the scent of mint, rosemary, or tea tree oil. We use a proprietary mint essential oil mix in our Prevention Spray, which is highly effective at repelling lice. Our spray is not sticky and can be used every morning to keep these pesky critters away! We have a full 8 oz. bottle and travel size (perfect for summer camp or family travel).
Summer Tip #6 – Teach Your Children the Facts About Head Lice
Unfortunately, there is an overwhelming amount of misinformation regarding head lice and home remedies that just don’t work. This has, understandably, led to confusion and frustration for many families. First and foremost, children need to understand that there is no shame in getting head lice – it is quite common, and it can happen to anyone!
Here are some quick facts to share with your kids:
- We have often heard myth’s that a person who gets head lice is “dirty” or “unclean”. We are here to tell you that this is WRONG. Lice are non-discriminatory about cleanliness! They simply require a human head of hair, whether it is squeaky clean or not.
- Washing your hair repeatedly to prevent or get rid of lice does not work. Lice have an extraordinarily strong hold on the hair strand and can withstand being submerged in water for long periods of time.
- Head lice can survive under water, but they cannot swim. It is unlikely your child will get head lice just by swimming with someone who has head lice.
- Pets DO NOT carry head lice. Lice are a human parasite and can only survive on human blood. If your dog or cat is itchy, it might have fleas!
- Head lice is not seasonal and does not go away in the summer!
No matter where your child goes this summer – whether it’s a sleep-away camp, sports camp, church retreat, or just hanging out with friends by the pool – there is always a chance of getting head lice. The good news is that head lice is treatable and there are steps you can take to prevent head lice this summer and ensure your child returns home with happy memories. If you would like a professional head check, consultation or need treatment you can locate the nearest Pediatric Hair Solutions clinic and let our healthcare professionals take care of the situation.
Most importantly . . . don’t forget to enjoy the summer!
Pediatric Hair Solutions uses a scientifically based non-toxic approach to treating head lice that is guaranteed to be effective. Because we do not use chemicals, head lice cannot become resistant to our treatment process. We use a non-toxic treatment solution to kill the live bugs and a heated air device that dehydrates and desiccates all the eggs (nits). Learn more about our head lice treatment services here.