Summer is here, which means many families are sending their children off to camp. While this promises to be a great experience for your child, unfortunately, summer camps are often the breeding grounds for lice. This easily transmittable pest mostly lives in the hair of women and children, and when a large group of children gather and play every day, sharing lice is bound to happen.
Lice are primarily spread from head-to-head contact. That means that the boys rough housing in the field are just as likely to spread lice as the girls braiding each other’s hair in the cabin. Sports programming and horseback riding are huge culprits of lice transmission at summer camps because the helmets your children use are rarely cleaned and usually shared. Other risk factors include sharing hairbrushes, combs, and hats.
So how can you help prevent lice from targeting your child while you’re not there to supervise? The best thing to do is talk to your kids about lice and how lice is spread. Teach them about how lice can live on their heads and hair, and how anytime they use a friend’s hairbrush, comb, helmet, or hat, they could get lice. Remind them to always use their own products and clothing – this includes borrowing sweatshirts and hoodies for those chilly nights around the fire!
Another thing you can do is make sure your children’s hair is as close to their head as possible. For most boys, this isn’t a problem, but your daughter’s lovely locks make a happy home for any louse that happens across them. If your children attend a day camp, put long hair in braids as often as possible before sending them off to enjoy summer camp. For children going to sleepaway camp, tell them to try to braid their hair every day before they get dressed and head to breakfast. Even young children can learn to braid their hair, so don’t be afraid to teach them! Lastly, invest in a preventative headspray. These products are cheap and useful. They contain essential oils that lice find disgusting and a louse is less likely to wander onto a child that has been recently spritzed with mint or tea tree oil. A nice misting of the whole head before heading out for the day is a sure safeguard against lice. Make sure to use it after swimming, too!
Because summer camps are such a breeding ground for lice, you may be wondering how to check if your child has lice or how to remove lice if you have it. We recommend heading to a lice removal salon as soon as possible after camp is over in order to learn how to treat lice and how to remove lice eggs, or nits. A lice removal service can also perform a diagnostic head-check to see if your child has lice before discussing the best lice removal practices with you.
To conclude, preventing lice is equally as important as treating it. At summer camp, when they might not be under your own watchful eye, it is important to educate your children about how to lower their chances of getting lice.