Hey, It’s August First and that means that September is around the corner. We don’t want to end your summer fun early, but guess what moms and dads, it’s time to start thinking about… BACK TO SCHOOL! While you may be partially jumping for joy to get your family back into the routine of the school year (and because you are regaining freedom for 6 hours a day) it is always a bummer when the fun, carefree days of summer come to an end. September and October are historically our BUSIEST (BUGIEST) months of the year for people coming in with active head lice. I’m talking BIG groups of bug infested peeps calling us day and night! Many people ask when is lice “season?” The truth is that head lice is an issue year round, but the public’s awareness of head lice grows and depletes at different times of year. For example, during back to school time, head lice should be on every mom and dad’s radar in a big way. Throughout the Fall we tend to see more lighter cases of lice. At other times of the year, people come in with very heavy cases because nobody had the urge to check their child for lice until it was so apparent it could be seen from a mile away. This is not to the fault of the parent, we see this frequently so don’t let the “mom guilt” beat you down.
With all of this being said, back to school does happen to be our busiest time, BUT it has nothing to do with being back in school. What most parents don’t realize is that head lice is a community issue that gets brought into the school, it’s not the other way around. And there are lice cases every year in almost every school. It is not up to a school nurse to perform regular lice checks, it is up to moms and dads to be diligent in checking their families. School nurses have ALOT of kids with real health issues to look after during the school day- diabetes, food allergies, dispensing medications, injuries that happen during recess.. the list is endless and those gals and guys work really hard to care for our children in our absence. That being said, the BEST thing you as a parent can do is to just take a quick peek at your kid’s hair every once in a while, like bath time for instance and definitely after a sleepover. School nurses are always there to help if you aren’t sure or don’t know what you are looking for but when it comes down to it, head lice is not a health threat- it is a nuisance (ok a BIG pain in the behind).
So here are some quick pointers on how to check for lice in your home.
SIZE AND COLOR OF LICE
Head lice can be difficult to spot, even when the head is closely inspected. They’re very small whitish or grey-brown insects that range from the size of a pinhead to the size of a sesame seed.
DO LICE ITCH?
The most common symptom of any type of lice is itching. Lice bites cause an allergic reaction that causes this itchy feeling. However, you may not notice any symptoms for up to six weeks the first time you get lice.
A tickling feeling of something moving on your head, hair, or body. You may also notice the appearance of lice eggs, or small white objects in your hair that you aren’t able to brush out.
HOW TO BE SURE?
The only way to be sure someone has head lice is to find a live louse by combing their hair with a special fine-toothed comb. At Lice Clinics of America this is the absolute first step we take to determine if an infestation is present before treating.
TO CHECK FOR LICE AT HOME
Get your child’s hair wet in order to slow the lice down. Use a fine-toothed comb to part your child’s hair, then shine a bright light onto their scalp. If your child has lice, you’ll notice small, brown insects the size of sesame seeds moving around or nits that look like they’re cemented on to individual hairs.
WHAT IF I FIND LICE, NITS, OR I’M UNSURE
That’s where we come into play. The professionals at Lice Clinics of America regularly provide screens to check for lice. As a matter of fact, we send more people home who don’t have lice than we actually treat. Give us a call at 503-966-9994 to schedule a screening today!