Winter break is a peak time for head lice, according to Lisa Liss, manager of Lice Clinics of America – Los Angeles. Data reported by Lice Clinics of America shows that lice activity is 20 percent higher in January vs. December. It’s likely that the late December holidays festivities are the reason – families gather, kids are having sleepovers and parties, enjoying holiday hugs and cuddles and spreading head lice.
“Every year, we see people getting head lice during the holidays” Liss said. “The best way to keep head lice out of your home for the holidays is to know how to identify them in the first place. It’s not as easy as you might think.”
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), part of the National Institutes for Health, one of the challenges of dealing with head lice is correctly identifying the problem. “Because head lice can move quickly, their detection requires expertise and experience,” the NCBI said. “Expertise is key to diagnosis.” Even health care providers frequently misdiagnose head lice infestations.
“The only way to accurately diagnose a case of head lice is to find a live louse,” Liss said. “That’s what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says, and it’s been our experience, too. We also screen for lice eggs (called nits) because the eggs will hatch, leading to more bugs laying more eggs and a worsening infestation, not to mention increased risk of spreading lice within the family. We offer professional screenings at our clinic and highly recommend them before and after school breaks. It’s the best way to have peace of mind that your household is lice free.”
“Whether you’re the visitor or the visited, there are some steps you can take to ensure that you don’t send your child back to school with head lice,” says Liss. “We put together this checklist for preventing head lice infestations during the holidays.”
- Go to a clinic for a professional head lice screening. If there is a chance you or your children are exposed to head lice over the holidays, the best thing you can do for yourself and your peace of mind is to get a professional screening. If you do have head lice and choose to be treated at our clinic, the screening fee is waived. Head lice can be very difficult to diagnose, and false positives are very common. You do not want to spend money to treat head lice if you don’t need to. But if you do have lice, you should know (and treat) as soon as possible so you don’t risk infesting friends and loved ones.
- Use head lice prevention products. People tend to deal with head lice reactively –we freak out when we find head lice on our children and try to get rid of lice as fast as we can. That’s perfectly normal, but we now have products that can help to prevent head lice in the first place. Lice prevention shampoos, conditioners and sprays for hair are all available at our clinics. Unlike most over-the-counter lice products, Lice Clinics of America products are pesticide-free and non-toxic.
- Keep long hair pulled back. Because lice spread through hair-to-hair contact, keeping long hair pulled back or in a braid can prevent exposure.
- Teach children to reduce behavior that can spread head lice such as taking group photos with heads pressed together or sharing combs and brushes. It’s rare, but head lice can spread when louse falls onto a coat, scarf, or hat – sharing clothing with anyone that you know has head lice isn’t a good idea. The louse will crawl on to the first human head it can find because it needs a human scalp to live.
- Don’t panic! If you find head lice or suspect that your child has head lice, know that neither you nor your child did anything wrong. Anyone with hair can get lice. We have the technology to get rid of head lice quickly and safely.
Lice Clinics of America – Los Angeles is the exclusive provider of lice treatment using the FDA-cleared AirAlléÒ medical device, which is clinically shown to kill live lice and eggs in a single treatment that takes about an hour. It’s easy and it has successfully treated more than 600,000 cases of head lice worldwide! Call 844-727-9792 or visit www.LiceClinicsLosAngeles for more information or to schedule an appointment. We’re open 7 days a week by appointment to help you prevent, detect and treat a head lice infestation.