YES! Head Lice Happens During the Holidays

Christmas time is the season for sharing love, gifts and holiday joy – NOT HEAD LICE! Many parents don’t stop to consider that during family holiday time head lice is easily transferred as cousins and friends play, sleep in the same beds, share blankets and pillows or play with new presents under the tree. The holidays are no time to be lackadaisical about head lice. Don’t be fooled into thinking your kids will be immune.

 

Did You Know?

  • Although many types of insects go dormant in the winter months, head lice do not. As long as they have a warm host to feed them and keep them nice and cozy they will thrive through the cold months.
  • Children between the ages of 3-10 are more susceptible to head lice than any other age group according to the CDC.
  • This means that adults that live with children within that age range also have a statistically higher chance of contracting head lice.
  • The number one way head lice are spread is through direct head to head contact. That includes Christmas hugs, sleeping next to cousins in sleeping bags, or sitting by each other reading Christmas stories and nibbling Christmas cookies.
  • The next most common way head lice are contracted is through the sharing of articles of clothing or items that are carrying head lice or nits, lice eggs. Did a niece or nephew forget their own pillow or hair comb? Sometimes sharing such items should be avoided to prevent contamination, even if you are unsure if someone has head lice.
  • Other items that pass on lice often and are sometimes overlooked are sweatshirts or hoodies, towels, pillows, stuffed animals or hair ties and accessories. Even winter clothing like beanies or earmuffs. 
  • Head lice symptoms can take about three weeks to start to show. By then, usually adult lice will be present on the scalp as well.
  • Dogs, cats or any pets do not play any role in the transfer of head lice.

What Can I Do To Prevent Head Lice This Holiday?

  • When guests arrive, take care that everyone is given their own items for use. Blankets, pillows, towels, and such items are great places for head lice to hide and be passed on to unsuspecting people who use them.
  • Take the time to explain to children how head lice are transferred. Don’t scare them or make them think everyone else must have head lice, but just help them to use common sense when it comes to using other people’s items or vice versa.
  • Perform a head lice check on your own kids before the holidays to ensure that they are not already carrying head lice.
  • Symptoms to watch for include red bumps or bites along the scalp, rashes, and irritations on the scalp, itching that seems to worsen with time, and white, oval eggs that are laid on individual hair strands near the base of the scalp.
  • After guests leave, or between days, wash all items that are being shared or thrown together in piles. Hot dryers for 25 minutes are also a quick way to ensure all head lice or nits are eliminated.

 

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