There are a few disease or parasite types that are highly susceptible to spread via children among each other, and one of the single best examples here is lice. Lice, which refer to tiny parasite insects that feed on human blood, do not spread disease and are not risky to our health – but they are itchy and bothersome, and spread like wildfire in several circumstances, including often among schoolchildren.
At Lit’l Scholars Learning Centers, all our staff members are trained and experienced in dealing with potential lice infestations, whether in our preschool, daycare, summer camp or any of our other child care programs. What if your child develops a lice issue at home? Here are some basics on these parasites and how they spread, plus how to recognize them and remove them properly.
Lice Basics and Appearance
As we noted above, lice are tiny insects that feed on human blood. There are actually three types: Head lice, body lice and pubic lice, with head lice being the most common among children. They spread most often between children aged 3-11, with girls slightly more susceptible on average due to their longer hair and more frequent head contact.
Adult like come with six legs, roughly the size of a sesame seed, ranging in color from beige to grey. One of the problems with them is the way they often camouflage with the hair they’re infesting, making them tough to spot in some circumstances. But in areas like the ears or along the hairline at the back of the neck, they’ll generally be easy to spot – along with eggs, which appear at the bottom of hair stalks and will be yellow, white or brown.
As we noted, child-to-child spread is the most common type. Lice cannot jump, hop or fly, so they rely on crawling from one head to another based on not just head contact, but also common usage of items like brushes, pillows or others. Lice can live for days on human hair, and will often be spread among kids at school and then further spread to family members at home.
Signs of a Lice Issue
The most common and often the first sign of a lice infestation is itching on the head, which is an allergic reaction to the bites from lice. Others include a tickling feeling, sores from scratching, difficulty sleeping or red bumps appearing on the head and neck. If you notice any of these in your child, investigate further.
Correct Removal and Follow-Up
If you determine your child has a lice infestation, removal should be done immediately before it spreads. This is a simple process, luckily: There are numerous lice removal kits for purchase, and you simply follow the directions. Also be sure to wash the bedding in your home and any other items that may have come into contact with your child’s head recently, plus vacuum the area.
For more on dealing with a lice infestation, or to learn about any of our child care services, speak to the staff at Lit’l Scholars Learning Centers today.