Head Lice at Summer Camp


girlLice are those pesky little creature that thrive in places where people are in close contact. This could be schools, churches and summer camps. Recently, these pesky little creatures seem to be more determined than ever to ruin a childs fun. Although it's kinda gross to think about lice living on your head, they are not dangerous and fairly easy to get rid. In communal settings like camp, where people live close to each other, it's important that Lice checks are in place. At Swift Nature Camp our nurse inspects each camper on the first day of camp. This is usally successful at stoping an outbreak because when we do find lice we start a treatment program of killing the lice with shampoo and then combing out any Eggs or Nits that might be left. Then a bout a week later we reshampoo and comb. At camp we do this in privacy with out letting the other campers know that lice have been detected. We know of many other camps that have had huge infestations where nearly all camp was effected. Our policy has kept lice outbreaks to a handfull of campers each year. Below is a recent report outlining the limited summer camps lice policy.

 

SAN FRANCISCO — Despite AAP recommendations for head lice management, 30% of summer camps were either unaware of guidelines or had no formal lice policy, according to survey results presented at the 2016 AAP National Conference and Exhibition.“Head lice often becomes a problem when people are concentrated together in one place, so naturally we think about children in the classroom, yet even more so at summer camps; whenever people are head-to-head, that is when there is the greatest risk of exposure,” Ashley DeHudy, MD, MPH, from the University of Michigan Mott Children’s Hospital told Infectious Diseases in Children. “Considering the AAP’s current lice management recommendations for the school setting, I was interested in examining lice infestations in the camp setting to determine how the recommendations were being translated.”

To evaluate current summer camp policies regarding head lice management, DeHudy and colleagues partnered with a national Web-based health records system to send summer camp leadership (n=500) an online survey on lice policy, management and training. The researchers received a total of 255 responses, predominantly from camp directors (36%) and camp nurses (36%). 

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Survey results demonstrated that while 30% of summer camps lacked formal head lice policies, another 34% of camps instead adhered to a “No-Nit” policy – excluding campers with the presence of nits only – despite AAP statements that these policies are ineffective. 

“We know that the AAP does not support ‘No-Nit’ policies in the school setting, because the presence of nits does not equal active infestation,” DeHudy said in an interview. “Similarly, summer camps should not exclude children based simply on the presence of nits.”

Among surveyed camp leadership, only 20% noted that a camper would be allowed to remain at camp and receive treatment if nits and live lice were found; 58% of survey responses reported that their camps would provide lice treatment, however only 40% of those said that their facility would repeat a second application, if needed, 7 days afterward. Furthermore, most surveyed summer camp personnel (63%) responded that manual removal of nits following treatment was required to prevent head lice infestation.

“In some instances, camp policies for managing head lice varied greatly from either American Camp Association recommendations or from the AAP’s recommendations for the school setting,” DeHudy said. “Also, when camp leadership was surveyed about their ability to detect lice infestations, only 50% felt confident their staff would be able to detect the lice, while 30% believed their staff would be confident in actually treating the lice infestation.”

According to the survey, 35% of camp leadership noted that they had little formal head lice education, yet most those responders said that they would favor hands-on or Web-based training in recognizing or treating lice. 

“It is important for pediatricians to reinforce to parents that they should familiarize themselves with whether their child’s summer camp has a head lice policy, and if so, what it is, because otherwise children might be coming home from camp a little earlier than expected,” DeHudy said.– by Bob Stott

Reference:
DeHudy A, et al. Abstract # 318305. Presented at: AAP National Conference and Exhibition; Oct. 22-25, 2016; San Francisco, California.

Read 752 times Last modified on Monday, 07 November 2016 03:33

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