Head lice activity tends to kick up following winter break, so it’s important to take extra precautions when your child returns to school. You’ll want to keep their hair pulled up and use a lice spray to repel head lice – all things that we’ll discuss in more detail.
It’s not a mystery why head lice cases increase after winter break. For several weeks, kids are spending time with family in close quarters – playing with cousins, cuddling with grandparents and sleeping in different places. All of these holiday gatherings create opportunities for lice to spread.
Now, magnify this across an entire classroom and school, and you can see how lice spread quickly in the first few weeks following winter break. Fortunately, there are things you can do to keep your child lice-free.
Timing is Everything: When You’re Likely to Notice Lice
Despite what you might have heard, head lice don’t climb onto a head and let their presence be known right away. For most people, it takes about 4 to 6 weeks for the symptoms of an infestation to appear. This is usually the time that the scalp becomes sensitive to the lice saliva and begins to itch. However, lice can spread the entire time without anyone realizing it.
With this in mind, don’t expect your child to have signs of lice in the first few days after returning to school. If they are exposed, it will still take 4 to 6 weeks for the first symptoms to appear. That being said, you don’t have to wait until your child develops symptoms. Take a peek once a week to check for signs of lice.
If you notice the presence of lice, you can comb them out using a lice comb. Choose a high quality lice comb with micro-grooved steel teeth. This way, you can drag out lice and nits and destroy them. Staying ahead of lice can avoid a severe infestation.
Protecting Your Child as They Return to School
As your child returns to school after winter break, there are a few things you can do to protect them from getting head lice. Remember, kids have spent at least two weeks with relatives, so the chance of someone having head lice in the classroom is high.
Here is what we recommend doing when your child returns to school:
- Tie back your child’s hair. If your child has long hair, tie it up into a ponytail or braid. Keeping the hair pulled up makes it less likely that a louse will crawl onto a strand of hair.
- Use a lice spray. Add a few spritzes of lice spray before your child heads off to school. My Mint Spray from My Hair Helpers has a pleasant mint smell that you’ll love – but lice will hate!
- Discourage head to head contact. Most cases of head lice happen through direct contact. Remind your child to avoid close contact at school.
- Discourage sharing personal items. Also remind your child not to share personal items such as hair brushes, hair accessories and hats. Even though it’s less likely for lice to spread this way, it’s an extra layer of precaution.
- Take a peek once a week. Comb through your child’s hair using a lice comb once a week. Look for signs of head lice – adult lice can be white, brown or dark gray and usually found at the back of the neck or behind the ears.
These tips aren’t just helpful when your child returns to school after winter break. They can also keep your kid lice-free for the whole school year! To browse our full line of head lice prevention and removal products, visit our Amazon site or the Shop Here Now tab on our website!