In our experience, there is no season for head-lice outbreaks. Often parents notice lice during vacations and are convinced that it came from the hotel or airplane. The truth is that they probably had the infestation for a couple of weeks.
Terri Meinking, research assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Miami School of Medicine and one of the top head-lice researchers in the country, suggests that during a school break kids don’t notice their itchy scalps until they are sitting still in a classroom. (Read her full interview in the Palm Beach Post here.)
Here is some valuable information on lice infestations in the home:
Q: How do you get head lice?
A: Lice are spread only by human contact. They can’t jump from head to head. They can’t fly. You can’t get them from pets, or by rolling in grass or dirt. Since children spend more time in close proximity to one another, they’re more likely to become infested. Lice crawl from one person’s hair to another. Kids share hats, brushes and earphones, all possible ways to transmit lice.
Q: Are lice a sign of bad parenting, poverty or poor housekeeping?
A: Not at all. Meinking explains: “Body lice have given all lice a bad name. When I get a call from a parent, they’re like, ‘But I wash her hair every day! I have a clean house!’ It has nothing to do with cleanliness.” Body lice prefer living in filth, and have evolved to survive even when their host’s blood lacks nutrients because the host is malnourished. But head lice need a “healthy blood meal,” Meinking says. That means head lice prefer healthy kids with clean hair (it’s easier for lice to move around).
Q: My child has lice, now what do I do?
Do not delay in seeking treatment for your child’s head lice! The earlier you catch and treat lice, the easier it is to get rid of. There are different treatment options, but the number one way to rid yourself or your child of lice, is to thoroughly comb every strand of hair to remove live bugs as well as their eggs or “nits”.