As the months get warmer, there’s often a spike in lice cases.

Summer means longer days, outdoor barbeques, and nights by the pool. For some unlucky kids, however, summer could also mean the threat of head lice. And if you’ve already been through it, then you know more than anyone that there’s nothing more heartbreaking than putting a child through those painful and time-consuming treatments.

In hopes of preventing what could be a terrible summer, we reached out to the experts at Lice Clinics of America for prevention tips. Here’s what they had to say:

1. Get screened.

First and foremost, get a professional lice screening before and after vacations or summer camps. Make sure that your child doesn’t already have head lice before you leave. Symptoms can take up to two weeks to appear, so many children may have lice without knowing it. Check again when you get home.

2. Prevention is key.

Products used weekly decrease the odds of a lice infestation. Our clinics offer non-toxic prevention products and advice from our experts to support our community.

3. Don’t rely only on OTC treatments.

Lice can, and have, developed resistance to over-the-counter and prescription products. Doctors are still recommending products that have been shown in clinical studies to have a 28 percent failure rate even after two treatments.

4. Discourage sharing.

Make sure your children have their own hair care tools and accessories like combs, brushes, clips, and anything else they use on their hair. Sharing items that contain strands of hair is one way that lice can spread. This can be a difficult lesson for parents to give children, but in addition to hair care products, towels, pillows, hats, scarves, jackets and any other products where detached strands of hair might be found can be a source of head lice. Lice can only live on a human scalp, so if they’re on a hair that falls off of someone, they will do whatever they can to return to a human head.

5. Always bring your own towel!

If children will be swimming, they should never share towels. Lice can hold their breath for up to eight hours, so if your child uses a towel that others have used to dry their hair, it could be an opportunity for head lice to climb on board.

These tips were provided by the experts at Lice Clinics of America.

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