Children who attend public or private schools are at a higher risk of catching infectious illnesses that are easily passed around. Before the intense winter months hit, read up on these common childhood illnesses and learn how you can prevent and recognize them in your child.
Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease –
A virus that results in open sores inside the throat and tonsils, rashes or blisters on the body, obvious mostly on the hands and feet.
This highly contagious disease is passed through schools and children by infected items that children commonly touch throughout the day. Bathrooms, doorknobs, books, or various items at school become contaminated and it can spread like wildfire. Although not considered a serious illness, HFMD causes painful blisters in the mouth, throat, and tongue, making it difficult to eat. Children also experience high fevers and a rash that can spread throughout the body but is initially noticed on the hands and feet. Washing hands often and thoroughly is important in preventing the spread of this. Disinfecting surfaces will also play a major role in stopping the spread of it.
Head Lice –
Head lice, a human parasite that survives from the blood and warmth of a human host.
Head lice are small, sesame seed-sized insects that crawl from hair strand to hair strand with claws at the tip of their legs. They lay nits, or eggs, near the base of the scalp that are white in color and firmly glued to hair strands to prevent them from flaking off easily. Head lice are easily transferred through direct head to head contact, sharing clothing, or hair accessories. Initial symptoms will include, irritation on the scalp, redness, itchiness and the appearance of nits. Many people erroneously believe that head lice become dormant in winter months. In fact, they are active all through the year and can be passed on through winter months as well.
Pink Eye, or Conjunctivitis –
This illness is the inflammation of the conjunctiva, a thin clear tissue that outlines the eye and eyelid.
When your child wakes up in the morning with yellow crust causing the eyelid to be glued shut, this is a clear indication they have contracted conjunctivitis. A highly contagious infection, this is normally passed by children touching infected objects and then rubbing their eye. Most people will become infected with this several times throughout their life, especially small children in schools. To effectively cure it, a prescription eye drop is required.
A bacterial infection called group A streptococcus that causes a severe sore throat and swollen lymph nodes.
Unlike other types of sore throats, strep throat requires antibiotics to clear up. It is usually diagnosed from the resulting swollen neck lymph nodes and a lab test done at your doctor’s office. Commonly spread in school-age children through mucus or coming in contact with contaminated items, over 3 million school-age children will deal with strep throat yearly. Initially, sore throat, slight fever, loss of appetite and possible upset stomach will be the first symptoms to show.
Sometimes the worst part of having head lice in your home is dealing with the gossip from the neighbors! Parents can wonder, who do I really have to tell, and when? We understand that the whole situation can bring added stress to you and your child. With that in mind, here are a few helpful tips for taking the proper action.
Communicate with Your Child First
We don’t want our children to feel like they can’t trust us. Take the time to sit down and talk with your child about the issue. Help them understand that head lice are highly contagious, therefore it is essential that you let a few, trusted adults know who will handle the problem delicately. Make sure they feel like you are using discretion and handling the situation responsibly. Talk to your child also about not feeling like they need to tell the whole classroom. Some kids can be cruel and bullying might result. Ultimately, remind your child that head lice happens. It is not something to really be embarrassed about. Most people will experience a case of head lice in their lifetime.
Wouldn’t You Want To Know?
The best way to go about determining which parents you should contact, and which parents can be left out of the loop is to ask yourself when and where could their child have been affected. If your child has spent time playing, hanging around or associating with their child it is best to contact them. It is proper and good to ask them to use discretion and not repeat it to others. Think to yourself, would I want them to tell me if the situation was reversed, and you can’t go wrong. When you do contact the adults that need to know, it may actually turn out to be a blessing! Sometimes people you don’t know about are also dealing with head lice and could appreciate a friend to talk to.
Teachers and School Nurses Can Help
Teachers are quite aware of the dangers of head lice and the commonality of it as well. Don’t be afraid to let your child’s teacher know the situation. The school nurse can also be a great resource for you in giving you information and helping you determine when your child should safely return to school. The majority of head lice cases that deal with school-age children can be traced back to school or school-related activities. If you want to get a handle on the problem, contacting the school is a must. However, be sure to talk to the teacher about notifying parents of the issue, and not the culprit. Actually, there is really no way to know how the initial infection got started. No one person is to blame. You may even be surprised how many children in the classroom are dealing with head lice or have dealt with it recently.
Lice Clinics of America is Your Best Resource
We have expert professionals who deal with head lice outbreaks every day. Our staff can help you determine the best solution for your head lice problem, and give you real answers to getting rid of head lice once and for all. We are always here to answer your questions and help you be free from the stress of head lice. Contact us today to get started!
Tips and Tricks to Keep your Little Ghost Safe This Halloween
-Be Seen in the Dark
Make sure that costumes can be visible in the night. Opt for brighter, easily seen colors for your child to wear. If you need to, have your child wear some reflective tape or glow sticks as a cheap way to keep them visible.
-Keep Costumes Safe
Halloween masks are super spooky but can obstruct your child’s view if they are not the proper size. Make sure they can see where they are going. Makeup is a good alternative to masks or hoods that will keep their line of sight open. Props that are sharp or heavy can hurt someone if your child gets spooked or just gets a little excited over the Halloween events. Make sure all wigs, hoods, capes or extras are fire retardant.
-Gather with a Group
There is almost always safety in numbers, and that includes on the spookiest night of the year. Gather with friends, cousins, neighbors or anyone who you can take along trick or treating to keep everyone safely together. Make sure children are supervised at all times.
-Check Candy for Safety
It can be important to check through your child’s candy for any opened, suspicious or homemade goodies that you don’t want them to have. Make sure that candy is age appropriate as well by removing hard candies or choke hazard size candy for smaller children.
-Don’t Forget your Cell Phone
Don’t slip out that door without your cell phone. Make sure it’s fully charged and ready to capture those scary moments with your child. It’s important to have it handy for safety reasons as well. If you do let your older kids around the neighborhood alone, maybe use walkie-talkies to keep in touch, just in case.
-Use Sidewalks and Don’t Ignore Traffic Rules
Children can become overly excited on Halloween night and forget to cross the street safely. Talk to them about using sidewalks and crosswalks when available. Also, make sure they know to walk on the outside of the road toward oncoming traffic if no sidewalk is available. Pick a larger neighborhood to stay in and give your kids plenty of options for trick or treating to avoid busy or dark roads.
-Be Extra Cautious While Driving
More accidents happen on Halloween Night with cars and pedestrians than most other times of the year. Be alert and use more caution than usual on this festive night. Remind teenage drivers of these risks as well.
-Keep Pumpkins Free from Hazards
Instead of letting children carve pumpkins, have them draw on a face with a sharpie and then an adult can cut out their pattern. Using paint or props to create a spooky face on your pumpkin instead can also be a safer, fun approach to Jack o’Lanterns. Try using battery operated lights or different colored glow sticks to give your pumpkin that eerie Halloween glow this year.
Many parents are unaware of how common a problem that bullying has become across the nation. Bullying is a serious issue that should not be brushed off or treated as an average childhood problem whether at school or home.
Bullying is defined on kidshealth.com as “ intentional tormenting in physical, verbal, or psychological ways. It can range from hitting, shoving, name-calling, threats, and mocking to extorting money and possessions.” Social media is becoming a huge outlet for cyberbullying in recent years. Parents should always be aware of what is going on with their child’s social media accounts and check them frequently.
A national survey on StopyBullying.gov shows that about 49% of children in grades 4–12 reported being bullied by other students at school at least once during the past month, whereas 30.8% reported bullying others during that time.
When your child contracts head lice, they can become the target of bullying among peers and classmates.
Take Care Who Finds Out About the Problem
Although it is extremely appropriate to let individuals in your life know about the head lice problem in your household, proper care should be taken to make sure it does not become a community-wide announcement. Trusted, sensitive parents of your child’s close friends and neighbors, responsible adults at the school and anyone else that could be affected by the head lice problem who you know will use discretion should be notified of the problem.
Keep in mind that this situation can be humiliating and embarrassing for children, especially teens. Only inform those who need to know.
What Should I do If My Child is Bullied for Head Lice?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that up to 12 million children will catch head lice in the United States this year alone. Let your child know that most people will have to deal with head lice in their lifetime. It is a common problem that is not life-threatening or detrimental to their health. It does not label them as dirty or gross.
Children’s personalities are so different. There are many approaches that might work for your specific child. Here are a few tips for helping prevent bullying:
-Stand up to the bully. Teach your child to respond in a firm, strong voice that they will not be pushed around. Sometimes this will help the bully back off because your child is not an easy target.
-Other children will do best to approach the situation with humor. Have them come up with a joke or be prepared to laugh at themselves in the situation. Humor can take the bully by surprise and show them that your child is not affected by their degrading remarks.
-Children who will not respond well to pressure or be too afraid to stand up need to flee the situation as quickly as possible. Leave and find an adult.
-The first thing that a child should do is inform a teacher, principle, recess guard or any trusted adult who will listen.
-Teach your child to avoid physical fighting. This will only escalate the problem and get them into trouble.
-Keep up the communication. Talk to your child often and ensure that the problem is indeed resolved. Be the trusted adult that can help them come up with a plan and prevent bullying.
Many times as parents there are things you look back on and think….what could I have done differently? How could I have prevented this? Don’t let head lice be one of those situations! Ultimately, there is not a “fix all” solution that can guarantee to protect your family against head lice. However, as a proactive parent, there are some things that can be done to help in the fight against head lice. Take a look over this list of ideas and decide which ones you can implement into your busy schedule in addition to treatments.
Head Lice Prevention Tips for ProActive Parents:
Teach Your Kids About Head Lice. We all know that children are more susceptible to head lice than adults. This is because they spend more time together in groups, don’t value personal space and are often playing and active together. Head lice are passed along through direct head to head contact most often. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show us that up to 12 million children will contract head lice in the US this year alone. That number is on the rise as more and more teens and preteens are passing along head lice as well. Teach your kids what head lice are, how they live and the symptoms of head lice. An excellent website for a resource is Easy Science For Kids.
Teach Kids About How Head Lice Are Passed. If you are telling your kids not to share hairbrushes and leaving it at that…you are making a mistake. Props for at least addressing the subject, but there is so much more to it than that. Do you have teens who spend hours on a smartphone or small handheld devices? Maybe your daughter is the selfie queen of her high school? Are your young kids spending reading time at school on the same bean bag as three other students? Do you have kids in sports sharing equipment and lockers? These are all scenarios where kids need to be aware that head lice can be transferred. Direct head to contact and contact with an item that is contaminated are the top ways head lice are passed. Teach them to be careful.
Become Informed Yourself. Parents with kids at home should know what to look for if your child has head lice. Three weeks is usually the amount of time it will take for full symptoms to start showing. First, nits or lice eggs can become visible very near your child’s scalp. They will be clear in color and blend in with the hair. Each egg is laid with a glue-like secretion that sticks it to an individual hair strand, making it much more difficult to pull off than dandruff or dry skin. Secondly, your child will start to feel itchiness, irritation from fecal matter and saliva and red bite marks on the scalp. Thirdly, you may be able to see traces of head lice or nits on pillows or areas that touch their head. They may also be feeling tingling or tickling sensations on their scalp that will escalate at night time.
Check for Symptoms Often. It may seem over the top to check your child’s scalp for head lice every few weeks, but it will almost certainly be worth it if you catch the problem early on. Lice Clinics of America sell nitpicking combs that are excellent for sifting through your child’s hair and searching for clues of a head lice infestation. Checking often can also give you the chance to remind your kids to be cautious. Remind them to be careful about direct head to head contact and sharing items. Lice Clinics of America also offer head lice checks in your local clinic. The professional staff can help you know what to look for, and determine if you have a problem.
Don’t Think It Won’t Happen To You. Above all, remember that head lice can happen to anyone! It is something that affects clean hair, dirty hair, people from all walks of life. No matter how proactive you have been, there is still always the chance it could happen to you. Stay on top of head lice with these few tips and make the process much easier for you and your family. Lice Clinics of America is your best source for treatments and advice on head lice. Contact the clinic for further information or questions.
This is just another story of a family who endured head lice. Sharing my experience and what I learned from this trial helps me think that it was maybe worth going through.
We live in a small country town in Texas. My children attend school in a 2A division with only a couple hundred kids in each school. I have one daughter who is 15, a son who is 12, and a daughter who is 10.
My oldest daughter is a High School cheerleader. She loves being a part of the squad, attending football games and feeling like a part of the community through cheering. Part of the comradery of the cheerleaders is that they spend a lot of time together after football games, often spending the night at someone’s house altogether. It never occurred to me to talk to her about not sharing pillows, blankets or brushes at these parties. That was my first mistake.
After a few weeks of football last year I was braiding her hair for a game. I noticed a few white flecks that seemed to be a little different than dandruff, but I just shrugged it off and forgot about it. That was my second mistake. But, in my defense she hadn’t been complaining about itchiness, I saw no signs of head lice and so I actually thought it was residue from hairspray or something similar.
After another few weeks, I noticed a few more! This time they looked more suspicious to me and so I took some time to get a comb and thoroughly examine her scalp. She had head lice! I could see not only traces of nits, lice eggs that had been laid onto strands at the base of her scalp, but I actually found a few adult lice crawling around! I couldn’t believe it! How could this happen? I felt sick. She was so embarrassed. I promised her I wouldn’t tell anyone about it.
As most parents do, I felt overwhelmed. I sent my husband to the drug store where he bought a couple bottles of over the counter shampoo. We washed her hair multiple times in the sink and then applied the special shampoo and scrubbed it really well to hopefully kill all the head lice. Then after her hair was dry I combed through it again and peeled off as many of the nits or eggs that I could find. It seemed like the problem was under control and I knew I would just check again in a few days. This was my third mistake.
Little did I know that the products we washed her hair with are not only useless against some forms of head lice, but they don’t kill the eggs that I missed. It is almost impossible, like literally infuriating to go through a thick head of long hair like hers and try to pick out every single little egg. Obviously, I missed a few and the problem just came back!
I checked my other children for a few weeks, and just went ahead and washed their hair with the shampoo to make sure they were clean. This was my fourth mistake. They all three ended up with head lice. Now my problem had turned into an absolute nightmare. I had no idea what to do, I was losing my mind.
Finally, after talking to a friend on the cheerleading squad (it turns out several of the girls had contracted head lice) I found out about Lice Clinics of America. Their unique process of killing head lice in a one time 90-minutes process seemed too good to be true at first. Now, after having experienced it first hand I am a believer! I can’t imagine what we would’ve done if this cycle would’ve continued any longer. I am so grateful to have had their expertise and knowledge about how to actually get rid of the problem!
What I Learned:
Check ALL your children often for signs of head lice. Not just the young ones.
Talk to you kids about ALL the dangers of contracting head lice, not just hair brushes.
Don’t rely on over the counter shampoos that are not effective.
If you see suspicious white flakes, take a closer look. Ask for a head lice check from a pro if you are uncertain.
Don’t be afraid to talk to friends and parents about the situation. You never know if they are dealing with it also or can offer help!
Growing up is hard to do! Many experiences your child will have need to be recorded so that they can learn and grow from them. Many parents have found that children who write out their feelings and thoughts are better equipped to handle their emotions throughout their life. Happy kids are able to express themselves and learn from their mistakes and experiences. One excellent way to accomplish this is for your children to keep a journal. This activity is a great habit to start early on.
It’s as simple as this:
Find an empty Mason Jar.
Let your child decorate it.
Print out the journal prompts and cut them into single strips.
Set aside a time each week for your child to pull out a strip and answer the prompt in their journals.
Journal Jar Prompts for Kids
How many dreams do you remember having and what were they about?
Who is your favorite superhero and why?
When I grow up I want to become a……
What is my favorite past time and why?
Who is my best friend? What do I love about this person?
Why do I enjoy school? What would I change about school?
If I could learn one new skill it would be…
My hero is……. And why I want to become like them?
What has been the scariest thing to happen to you? What did you do to overcome it?
What is the best thing to happen to you?
Who do you want to be like when you have grown up and why?
If you could run your school for one whole day what would you do differently?
Which subject in school is your worst and what can you do to be better?
How are you like your father?
Tell me about your grandparents? What memories of them do you love the most?
If you had $100 what would you buy?
How many people help you during the day? How?
If you woke up one morning and you had turned into an adult, what would you miss most about being a kid?
What skill do you want to develop that you are not very good at right now?
I love it when my mom…..
I love it when my dad…..
My favorite holiday time tradition is….
Why is school important to you? What can you do to make it better?
If you lived to be 100 years old who do you think you will become?
Where have you visited that you loved to go?
How many people do you think you have helped? How?
What are you good at that you can get really, really good at?
What musical instruments do you like and want to play?
Which type of music makes you want to dance?
Is there something you really want to do in life but you are kind of afraid to?
How are you like your mother?
Where would you go on vacation if you could do anything?
Who would you spend the night with camping if you could choose?
What sport do you wish you could get really, really good at?
What is one thing that has been hard for you that you overcame?
Have you ever made someone really happy? What did you do and how did you feel after?
Name two people who you have admired.
Why do you like bedtime?
What is your earliest memory?
What dreams do you have that you have never told anyone?
It is easy to fall out of a routine and let things slide during the summer vacation from school. Every parent knows that lazy summer days are an enjoyable time for kids. However, it is important as parents to help kids keep their minds sharp and active so that they can transition back to school without having fallen behind. Here are a few ways to help kids be school ready during the summer break:
-Keep a routine. Obviously there will be days during vacations or special times when a routine is out of the question. But, for normal summer days try to let kids know what the expectations are and have them stay on a schedule. Getting up every day, having a set list of things to do and then giving them an afternoon of free time is a great way to approach this. Kids thrive on a schedule and often need it to feel stability in their life.
-Read all summer long. Reading helps kids to retain the information they have learned throughout the year. It also helps them to increase their creativity, their vocabulary and stay interested in learning. Magazines, online resources, books, graphic novels, or even comic books are all good ways to engage their minds and provide opportunities for learning.
-Find them a penpal! There are programs like Students of the World that help international students find a penpal that they can get to know, learn from and develop a relationship with from a totally different part of the world. Learning about other cultures can help kids be more accepting, more creative, increase curiosity and become a more understanding, adventurous adult. These programs give them the opportunity to express themselves as well as they teach their new foreign friend about their world and who they are!
-Limit screen time.Pediatricians recommend that children have no more than two hours of screen time per day. This is also true in summertime. Just because children are home and have more free time doesn’t mean it should be spent playing video games all day. It is also recommended that tvs and electronics not be placed in children’s bedrooms. Open areas where the family can easily see what is going on is the safest approach for internet and electronic use.
-Have children help with everyday planning. Meal planning, vacation planning, family movie night planning – these are all ways to engage children and give them real life experience that can help them stay motivated to learn. Plus, this offers them the chance to understand what you do for them! They can learn to appreciate what it’s like to be an adult and learn skills that can help them in life.
-Help them earn money. Whether they are old enough for a real job or just need an opportunity to learn responsibility, earning money and learning to manage it is a vital skill in life. Often during the school year children are too busy to do this. Summertime provides a chance for kids to earn and learn while having fun! Things like lemonade stands, bake sales, car washes, walking dogs, mowing lawns or babysitting provide opportunities for growth and learning.
We hope these tips will help your family have a summer worth remembering. At Lice Clinics of America we love our community and are always looking for ways to strength the families who make it strong. Happy Summer!
Every parent can agree that there are moments we wish we could go back and have a do-over. Maybe we blurted out something we didn’t really mean in a moment of stress or lost our cool over something really small and unimportant. We have all be there. At Lice Clinics of America, we understand that learning your kid has head lice can definitely be one of those moments.
Our advice for parents, take a moment to breathe, arm yourself with good information, and proceed with patience. Parents – you got this! Lice Clinics of America is here for you.
“The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.” Peggy O’Mara reminds us. Now is the perfect time for you as a parent to recommit to using positive language and building trust with your child.
With that said, here are a few things that every normal parent may have popped into their mind when just learning their kid is harboring head lice. We recommend avoiding them at all costs:
“Who have you been playing with? Those kids are so dirty!”
“Yuck! Please don’t hug me. I don’t want to catch it!”
“It’s so gross! So Creepy!”
“How could this happen, haven’t you been careful? Have you been showering?”
“Oh no, now I have to tell all your friends and neighbors that you have head lice!”
Here are a few things to remember to help you avoid the negative commentary:
#1- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that between 6 to 12 million children will pass along head lice every year in the United States. That’s a lot of kids dealing with this issue. And, that number is only on the rise. The new generation of “super lice” that are showing immunities to pyrethrum, the active ingredient in over the counter shampoos are making head lice rampant in some parts of the country. So, rest assured. You are not alone in this problem.
#2 – Shampooing and bathing alone do NOT kill head lice or nits. Contrary to popular belief, getting head lice does not mean that someone is dirty or unkempt. In fact, head lice have no preference over clean or dirty hair. A host is a host to them. Also, head lice are able to survive for several hours underwater. This is why water and shampoo do not kill them.
#3 – When your child contracts head lice it is very courteous to let close friends parents know, teachers and possibly coaches or other adults who might be able to help make sure it is not becoming a huge problem in the community. However, it is not something that every child needs to know. Keeping it as discreet as possible by communicating with trusted adults is the best approach. Kids can get as embarrassed and hurt by gossip or rumors as adults. Sometimes even much worse than adults. Keep in mind their feelings and proceed with discretion.
#4 – Children look to their parents for safety and security. You are their anchor. Remember to be the adult, use your words carefully and try to keep a positive and uplifting attitude in this difficult situation. Use it as an opportunity to build trust between you and your child. They will start to believe you can help them through any tough situation in life.
#5 – Lice Clinics of America is the most reliable source for diagnosing head lice, removing head lice and keeping your home head lice free. Call our offices today with any questions or concerns you may be feeling. We understand. We are here to help you!