Lice And Play Dates: Handling Your Child’s Social Schedule When Lice Are Afoot

ed4e4e1c-93af-4eec-a87b-931c5e458558Getting together with friends is an important part of your child’s routine. Regular play dates keep your child active and teach him or her to get along with others.

But what if a lice infestation is going around your child’s school or neighborhood? When it comes to your child’s social activities, a lice infestation can create a lot of questions. Let’s look at some commonly asked questions to find out how lice might affect your child’s social routine.

Should My Child Have a Play Date if Lice Are Going Around?

A lice infestation doesn’t mean you need to lock your doors and keep your child inside. Dealing with an occasional lice outbreak is a normal part of childhood. And fortunately, lice are not dangerous. They typically do not cause medical problems beyond an itchy scalp.

It’s also unlikely that simply playing with another child will give your child lice. Canceling your child’s play dates probably won’t prevent lice and can instead cause conflict with other children and their parents.

If your child will be playing with a friend who you know had lice, talk to the friend’s parents. Make sure the friend has undergone lice treatment. If he or she has, there shouldn’t be a problem.

How Can My Child Avoid Getting Lice During a Play Date?

Rather than preventing your child from playing with other children, educate your child about how to prevent lice. The only way lice can spread is to jump from one head to another, so tell your child not to touch his or her head to someone else’s head. For example, he or she could avoid hugging and wrestling with other children when lice has been reported in the area.

You should also tell your child not to share hats, hairbrushes, pillows, or hair pieces with other children. Studies show that transferring lice through these types of clothing is unlikely—but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Keep in mind that it’s impossible to determine the source of the lice. Plus, like a cold or the flu, lice can happen to anyone. Teach your child not to blame other children for starting the lice breakout. Blaming specific children can cause these children unfair emotional harm and can also damage your child’s relationships.

What Should I Tell Other Parents if My Child Has Lice?

If your child does get lice, that doesn’t mean he or she can’t play with other kids for months. Of course, you should get the lice treated before his or her next play date.

The best way to treat lice is to take your child for a professional treatment. The professionals at Heartland Healthy Heads are licensed to use a special device that uses heated air to dehydrate the lice and eggs. Only safe non toxic products are used to end your child’s head lice safely and quickly.

As an added precaution, you should continue to comb your child’s hair every day for two weeks to ensure you’ve completely removed all lice.

Make sure you get all your other family members screened for lice as well. Your child’s friends don’t need to be screened unless they shared headwear or pillows with your child.

What should you do if your child was recently treated for lice, but he or she has a play date coming up? Children can typically return to school or daycare as soon as they’ve received treatment for lice. The same can apply to play dates.

However, if your child has had lice in the past two weeks, it’s a good idea to inform the friend’s parents. Let them know that your child had treatment to remove the lice. If the parents decide to cancel the play date, don’t take it personally. Let your child know that he or she can play with friends in a week or two, when you’re sure the lice is completely gone. Come up with an alternate, fun activity your child can do with you.

A lice outbreak is unfortunate, but it’s nothing to lose sleep over. Lice are not dangerous and do not spread as easily as you might think.

Your child should be able to keep a regular social schedule, even if there are lice at school or in the neighborhood.

Signs of lice include an itchy scalp and tiny bugs and eggs near your child’s scalp. If your child shows signs of lice, bring him or her for professional treatment right away. At Heartland Healthy Heads, we offer urgent, professional lice treatment. Call us today to make an appointment!