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Every year, more than 14 million children and adults attend camp in the U.S. Camps are especially popular in the summer months when kids are out of school and need structure. Like school and daycare, camps create an environment where kids share their space. While this is important for establishing good manners, it does raise the risk for head lice.

Here at My Hair Helpers, we know that many parents have concerns over head lice in summer camp, particularly overnight camp, but they don’t have to. Check out our tips on how to keep your kids lice-free at summer camp.

Check your child weekly for head lice

Lice can be difficult to prevent because they quietly sneak onto kids’ heads and go undetected for several weeks. In the meantime, they are being shared with all the other kids. So, rather than focusing on prevention, focus on awareness. If you discover a louse in your child’s hair, you can treat the problem before it gets out of control. We recommend checking your child at least once a week.

Here are the steps to follow:

  • Divide hair (preferably wet hair) into small sections
  • Use a fine-toothed comb and magnifying glass to look for lice
  • Start at the base of the neck and work your way to the scalp
  • Adult lice are brown and look like sesame seeds
  • Lice eggs are yellow, brown or tan and attached to the hair shaft

Make a “no share” list

Usually, lice are spread through head-to-head contact. But, if there is an infestation at camp, it is possible for your child to get lice from shared items like bedding, pillows, hats, hair clips and brushes. Create a “no share” list with your child to help them remember which items to keep to themselves.

Use a lice repellent

It’s a good idea to use a lice repellent when your child is attending summer camp. Lice repellents contain essential oils like tea tree or peppermint because lice find these scents repulsive. This can prevent a louse from taking up residence in your child’s hair. My Hair Helpers offers a Complete Lice Prevention Kit that includes a mint detangler, mint spray, mint shampoo and conditioner and lice comb.

Promote braids and updos

Lice do not fly, jump or hop, so they travel from head to head by crawling and swinging on hair. Therefore, putting your child’s hair in an updo may slightly reduce their chance for getting lice. Don’t rely on this entirely, as lice can still jump onto braids and pigtails.

Get a professional head lice check after camp

Once summer camp is over, it’s not a bad idea to have your child professionally checked for lice. Remember, it can take several weeks for an active infestation to appear, and by this time, your child may have spread the lice! A quick trip over to a salon like My Hair Helpers will clear your mind for the rest of the summer.

Summer camp is fun – don’t let the fear of getting head lice prevent your child from having a blast! Follow our tips above, and if you suspect a case of head lice, contact My Hair Helpers for a same-day appointment. We also provide our treatment services to summer camps – let us help your camp become lice free!