From Summertime Blues to Summer Lovin'

The lazy, hazy days of summer. Time to relax, right? Until your kid is sent home from summer camp because she has head lice. Unlike the camp where I first learned to pick head lice (see my first post on this blog), most summer camps, day camps, and daycare centres have a no-nit policy where children with head lice are sent home. Most parents love this policy - until it is their child that has lice. Then again, many camps don't even check for head lice and I know of children who picked up head lice from summer camp.

Do not fret - there are things you can do to ensure that the only bugs that will interrupt your summer frolicking are the ants that want to join your picnic:

1. Continue with the regular head lice checks.
I know that you relax your routines in the summer - the kids' bedtimes get a little later, the rooms get a little messier, etc. However, remain diligent with your regular lice checks so that a small problem doesn't become a big infestation. Do a quick check each day, do a more comprehensive check once a week, and do a spot check if your child's scalp is itchy.
2. Keep long hair pulled up.
Have children with long hair keep their beautiful locks pulled back in a braid or ponytail. This will reduce their chances of getting lice, or if they already have lice, it will reduce the chances of spreading the problem.
3. Don't share head gear.
This includes hats, visors, big headphones, hair scrunchies, bandanas, brushes, combs, bike helmets, and whatever else lice could crawl on to. Remind your children not to lend, borrow, or share these items.
4. Clean up after camp.
Just in case a critter came home from camp with your child, make sure you wash all returning camp gear in hot water and dry on high heat. Boil brushes and combs. Anything that can't be washed should be put in the freezer for a couple of days. Or, just put items in a plastic bag and leave them alone for 2 weeks. That will take care of any unwanted stowaways.
5. Get informed.
Read what you can about head lice (you can start with the information on this blog). That way, if your child's camp director comes to you thinking that your child has head lice, you can inform him/her about what head lice is and what head lice isn't. And if your child does have head lice, you will know how to treat it without harmful chemicals. Or you might call me, and I'll be glad to help.

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