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Head Lice Prevention During Summer Camps and Group Activities


Heading into the warmer months, summer camps and group activities beckon with the promise of fun and adventure. However, this increase in close contact and shared spaces also brings a concern many parents have: head lice. 

Understanding what head lice are, how they spread, and head lice prevention can make the summer a lot more enjoyable for everyone. Here’s an extended guide on keeping your child lice-free during these bustling months.

Understanding Head Lice

Head lice are tiny insects that live on the human scalp and feed on human blood. They are particularly common among children aged 3-11 but can affect anyone. 

Contrary to popular belief, head lice are not caused by poor hygiene. They are spread mainly through direct head-to-head contact but can also be transferred through shared personal items. While they are a nuisance, they do not transmit diseases.

Tips for Prevention

Educate Your Family and Friends

Knowledge is power! Make sure everyone in your family understands how lice spread and that they should avoid head-to-head contact and sharing personal items like brushes and hats during camp and other activities.

Regular Head Checks

Familiarise yourself with what head lice and nits (lice eggs) look like. Regularly checking your child’s head, especially after activities or camp, helps catch any issues early. Pay close attention to the nape of the neck and behind the ears.

Use Preventive Products

There are shampoos and sprays designed to deter lice. While not 100% effective, they can reduce the risk. Always consult with a healthcare provider or a pharmacist before using these products, especially on young children.

Personal Belongings Management

Teach children to keep their hats, scarves, coats, and personal belongings separate from others. Individual lockers, cubbies, or separate bags can help minimise the spread of lice.

Hairstyle Considerations

For children with longer hair, hairstyles like braids, buns, or ponytails can minimise the hair’s contact with others and potentially reduce the risk of catching lice.

Stay Informed

Be proactive by communicating with camp leaders or organisers about any known outbreaks and understanding their policies for managing lice. This information can help you take additional precautions if necessary.

Managing a Lice Outbreak

Immediate Action

If your child does get head lice, act quickly. Various over-the-counter treatments are available, but it’s wise to consult a healthcare provider if they have allergies or sensitive skin. 

Inform and Cooperate

Notify the camp or group immediately so they can take steps to prevent further spread. Transparency helps everyone manage the situation more effectively.

Comprehensive Cleaning

Wash all bed linens, stuffed animals, recently worn clothing, and personal items in hot water. Vacuuming furniture and carpets can also help eliminate any stray lice or nits. Head lice cannot survive for more than several days without human blood.

Follow-up Checks

After treatment, continue checking your child’s head for lice and nits regularly. Sometimes, repeat treatments may be necessary to ensure all lice and nits are gone.


While the thought of head lice might make you itch, with the right knowledge and precautions, you can greatly reduce the chances of an infestation. Teach your children about the importance of personal space and hygiene, stay vigilant, and communicate openly with others about prevention and management. With these steps, you can look forward to a summer of fun, growth, and learning—free from the worry of lice. Happy camping!