Recently, NJ lice outbreaks have surprised parents in Scotch Plains, Westfield, Fanwood, Cranford and Mountainside. This is not unusual at this time of year, with kids finishing up summer camp and many children returning home from sleep away camp. Unfortunately, the outbreaks are often left to spread when parents or camp/school nurses are conducting visual head checks on children. A visual screening is not always reliable and may lead to cases of lice going undetected until significant live activity alerts a parent to the problem. Typically, by the time there is a large enough number of live lice to tip off a parent or caregiver, that case of lice has already to spread to a number friends and family members. The other unfortunate point is that many times head lice, even in later stages of infestation, is often misdiagnosed as dandruff or another scalp condition. As one mother recently told me, her child was scratching furiously and upon taking the child to the doctor, the mother was given a prescription for an anti-dandruff preparation. The child had head lice. This story has been repeated to me many, many times. With the current situation, it looks like there could be many NJ lice outbreaks from September through November. The good news? This problem is easily treated, easily detected and contrary to popular belief, does NOT have to take over anyone’s life for weeks on end!
Not every person with lice will develop the allergic reaction to the bug’s saliva that causes itching to occur. If you are the parent or caregiver of a school-aged child, particularly girls, you should be checking your child weekly with a good quality, solid stainless steel nit comb. If you are not doing this, you are putting yourself in the position of not finding lice until they have spread through your household to several family members. Most likely to contract lice are siblings and mothers of infested children. Fathers, more times than not, will get the “buy” on this problem. They still need to be checked if there is lice in the family, but they are much less likely to get head lice.
Do you have questions about something you’ve found on your child? Do you want to learn how to do a proper head check and keep lice from becoming a family-wide problem? Do you know someone currently struggling with lice in their family? NJ Lice Lady is a local resource for lice treatment and education in Union County, NJ. I work with families to end their lice problem and help them move on to better things. Call (908)548-4480 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
to schedule an appointment or to find out how you can help your social circle avoid the inconvenience of an outbreak this fall.
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