**this blog was originally published in the blog Katie’s Corner….

Make Sleep Away Camp Lice-Free

By Lauren Salzberg, Potomac Lice Lady

“WARNING: Reading this may “bug” you out a bit and you may suddenly start to scratch your head”

Ready for camp? Well….so are lice! Head lice do not get to take a summer vacation like most of us. In fact, they love it. And what better way to spend summer vacation then for children to go to sleep away camp. Aaah…the perfect setting for these little critters. Plenty of head to head contact. Many beds in a bunk which are laid next to each other. Kids hugging each other day after day and laying all over each other’s beds. Horseback riding and baseball and hockey and many other wonderful activities where there are shared helmets. This is the perfect safe haven for head lice! But, all of these great activities and the close relationships that we form at camp are what makes sleep away camp so extra special.

Screen Before You Leave…
When summer begins, sleep away camps are technically “lice free” until the campers arrive and they would love to keep it that way for the rest of the summer. Most camps now implement certain procedures that parents and campers are required to follow before they arrive at camp. They request that within 1-2 weeks prior to arrival at camp, campers get screened for lice. 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.

Label, and Don’t Share…
Before going to camp, it is so important to label your child’s hairbrushes and remind your child not to share their hairbrush with anyone. This is a time when it is okay “not” to share! Parents, suggest to your camp, that for when there is an activity that requires “shared” use of helmets, that they use hair nets that are disposable to wear underneath for protection. The kids can discard the hair net after each use.

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 camps continue to do camp wide screenings, work with the families, have everyone on board, they can work to minimize the problem the best they can. The camp’s goal is to provide a wonderful camp experience for your children and one that is hopefully “de-liceful” too!

Be Proactive…
A good nit and lice comb is also key to lice prevention and infestation. If everyone performed weekly screenings on their children with a lice comb, lice infestations would be much more unlikely to happen. Knowledge is of the utmost importance and the first line of defense against these little critters. Overall, if you are still unsure, the best advice is always to contact your doctor. But remember, lice are not going to ruin your life—they just may “bug” you for a few days.

When it comes to head lice, we want to be proactive rather than reactive and work towards erasing the negative stigma attached to lice. If we only think of lice as a nuisance, we will never get them out of our heads. Nothing is more effective in the removal of head lice than combing and early detection is key. Accurate identification of head lice and their nits/eggs is another problem as well as complete removal. If you still have a nit or two, you still have lice!

The “nitty gritty” is this…in the scheme of life, lice are small. Getting lice is part of life and part of childhood and I tell my clients just that. Think of it as a right of passage. As long as you, the parent are educated, your child’s camp is educated and they have a good head lice policy and you can follow up with manual removal when they get home, I promise you their summer will not be a “lousy” one!

As always, we are here if you need us!
Trust me, you will not bug us at all.

Lauren Salzberg is the founder of Potomac Lice Lady. Based out of Potomac, Maryland, Potomac Lice Lady, LLC provides lice removal services for children and family members in a stress free environment. The products used by the Potomac Lice Lady are natural, pleasant smelling and contain no pesticides. Therefore, they are safe to use on children of all ages. Don’t let lice ruin your day! If you or a family member discover lice, call 240-390-6487 (NITS). Potomac Lice Lady, LLC accepts most FSA/HSA debit cards. lauren@potomaclicelady.com, www.potomaclicelady.com