Travel Tip: Don’t Bring Home Head Lice
Family Vacations a Healthy Way to Handle Stress
In the culture that we live, stress and pressure are found in almost every aspect of life. One of the most healthy ways to combat that stress is taking advantage of the warmer time of year to get out, break the monotony of life and take a stress-free vacation. Dr. Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D. recently explained to Psychology Today, “Vacations have the potential to break into the stress cycle. We emerge from a successful vacation feeling ready to take on the world again. We gain perspective on our problems, get to relax with our families and friends, and get a break from our usual routines.”
With so many health benefits of a fun, relaxing vacation, it is important to realize that traveling puts you and your family at a higher risk of catching head lice. Why is that the case? How can you end your vacation actually relaxed and rejuvenated and NOT dealing with a head lice outbreak?
Traveling Creates Higher Risk for Head Lice, Here Are A Few Reasons Why
- In the year 2017, The Bureau of Transportation Statistics shows that about 1.73 million people flew commercially each day. Think of all the heads pushed up against seat backs, potentially leaving traces or head lice and nits. Little is done to sanitize public transportation seats and therefore the risk of infection is there.
- Long and crowded lines, pushing through security, and extended stays lounging around in heavily populated public areas all make your family more prone to head lice.
- No matter which mode of transportation you chose, beware that head lice are a growing problem in the U.S. as super lice are now prevalent in the majority of the 50 states.
- Living physically closer in proximity means that if anyone in your family is infected with head lice and you don’t know it, everyone else has a much higher chance of also being infected. Hotel accommodations, camping in tents or traveling in a fun-filled RV all put your family in a position where you are more closely living together than normal. Head lice are passed most often through direct contact.
- Sometimes being away from home also means sharing is much more common. Sleeping in a car on a trip, sharing a hat at the beach, or giving a friend a towel to use at the public pool are all examples of this. Sharing any items that have the potential of lice or nits is a bad idea.
- Amusement parks, beaches, malls, or any public areas that are congested with people are breeding grounds for head lice. Direct contact is sometimes unavoidable and bumping into someone or brushing up against someone may be inevitable.
How to Avoid Head Lice on Your Vacay
- Make sure not to be lax about head lice on your vacation. Head lice never go on vacation. Infection is always a possibility.
- Keep family members lice free by avoiding sharing bedding whenever possible. Make sure that even stuffed animals, jackets, sleeping bags, pillow or towels are used by individuals and not passed through the family. Even headphones can pass along lice or nits.
- If you are visiting gift shops, avoid trying on hats or any headgear. Especially in popular amusement parks thousands of people may be trying on the same hat.
- Keep girls hair pulled back and have everyone wear a hat from home. Did you know that girls or boys with long hair are more prone to head lice? Their claws more easily grasp the long strands and infect the head. Keeping hair braided or neatly pulled back and out of the way can go a long way in prevention. Girls or boys can also stay somewhat protected by wearing a hat. This will at least keep them from direct head to head contact in crowds or against seatbacks.
- Before you leave ensure no one is harboring head lice already. It is much more easily spread in close-knit areas such as a car, hotel room or tent. Combing through each child’s head to look for traces of head lice will help you determine if you are head lice free as you head out for vacation.
- Lice Clinics of America has professional nit combs and expert advice to make sure you know what to look for and are searching in the most effective way. Call our office today for more information.