The school year is over-Hooray! Summer is here! The time for fun, relaxation and for a lot of kids, this means time for summer camp. Summer camps are committed to the well being and safety of all members in their camp community. Over the past several years, camps across the region have seen a dramatic increase in the number of cases of head lice during the summer. While lice are not harmful and do not spread disease, it is an unpleasant experience that all camps would like to avoid.
In the past few years, most , if not all, camps, have decided it was important to focus their attention to coming up with a plan to attack this issue head on. The ideal goal is to keep head lice out of camp in the first place.
Most of us are aware that lice can not hop, jump or fly. They crawl. The transmission of lice in most cases is by direct, head to head contact. In the camp setting, it is so difficult to stop the children from hugging or laying on each other’s bed or other close connected activities. This is what camp is all about right? What we can stress though, however, is not to share hairbrushes, hats and hair accessories to help the situation a bit.
As said many times before in previous blog entries, with the increase in the number of cases of lice, there has been an increase in the amount of resistance to the over-the-counter products that are available to treat as well. There are prescription treatments available, however, some are quite toxic, and they do not take care of killing and removing the nits/eggs. Therefore, the nits/eggs would still hatch and the cycle of lice would repeat itself all over again.
Most camps are now implementing certain procedures that they are asking parents and campers to follow before the come to camp. They are requesting that within at least 2 weeks prior to coming to camp, campers get screened. It is also important that the camp staff get screened as well too. If your child has been found to have lice or the child has been exposed to lice, it is in everyone’s best interest to let the camp know 🙂 Please do not keep it a secret.
Most camps will send, upon arrival, any camper or staff member, home until they are treated and found clear of lice. Camps are “lice free” until everyone arrives and they like to keep it that way for the summer.
Upon arrival at camp, campers and staff should be screened for lice and usually near the middle of camp, most camps will perform a screening for lice again. Camps request that you come to camp with clearly labelled hairbrushes and that no one share anyone’s brush or hat.
In camp activities where there needs to be “shared” helmets for safety, it is recommended that they use hair nets that are disposable underneath the helmet for protection. The hair net should be discarded after each use.
If during the camp session, a camper or staff member is found to have lice, immediate action by the camp needs to be taken. The person with lice NEEDS to be treated and combs and brushes need to be thrown away. All children in the bunk should be screened for lice as well. The entire bunk’s sheets and towels need to be laundered and then placed in the drier on a hot cycle for at least 45 minutes. Items, such as stuffed animals, that can not be laundered at camp, will need to be bagged so that if there are any live lice present on them, they will die. Children in the bunk should be directed not to share hair items and to not lie in each other’s beds. The camp has a responsibility to the campers, staff and families to prevent an outbreak of lice.
In it’s earliest stages, it is not always possible to identify a case of lice. However, if the camps continue to do camp wide screenings, work with the families, have everyone on board, they can work to minimize the problem as best they can. Their goal is to provide a wonderful camp experience for your children and one that is hopefully “de-liceful” too!
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Lauren at firstname.lastname@example.org. If your child is heading off to camp this summer and you need to have them screened, call us today to schedule your before camp lice screening. Please visit our website at www.potomaclicelady.com
All the best,
Potomac Lice Lady