If you‘re like most parents, you’re starting to think about school starting up again. You’re planning out the schedules and making lists of what the kids will need for the fall. As parents think about the upcoming school year, one of the things they usually don’t plan for is a case of head lice. That’s because our deepest hope is that we’ll never have to deal with it.   The reality, however, is that back-to-school season consistently means an uptick in the number of head lice cases reported and treated. As kids return to school after summer vacation, they’re bringing more than pencils and notebooks; they’re often bringing lice.   The explanation is simple, often it is the latter weeks of the summer when kids are just returning from camp, or families are taking that summer vacation. Kids are sleeping in close quarters and often sharing personal belongings and bedding. Since head lice can often take a few weeks to manifest, children may be returning to school without even realizing they’re infested. From there it’s just a short time before the condition is passing around the classroom and even the entire school.   Does preparing to send the kids back to school mean you need to be prepared to face a case of lice? Not necessarily, but we believe education and prevention go a long way toward keeping your family bug and nit free. Here’s our take on how to avoid lice this school year.   Educate kids about lice. A lot of fear and stigma surround this condition because people don’t fully understand it. By learning about it and helping your kids to learn about it too, you can take proper steps toward avoidance, just as you would with a cold or the flu. Getting an infestation does not mean you’re dirty or that your house is dirty. These bugs actually prefer clean hair! The parasites and their eggs pass easily with head to head contact or by sharing personal belongings that come into contact with the head or hair.   Keep track of personal belongings. When children understand how an infestation can pass, they better understand the importance of keeping personal belongings personal. Hats, hairbrushes, hair accessories, bedding, pillows, sleeping bags, towels and sports helmets can be the vehicle that transports a bug or nit from one head of hair to another. Make sure kids have the items they need for school, sports or sleepovers so that they won’t be tempted to borrow. Help them to practice politely declining when others ask to use their personal items.   Perform home checks. The best way to halt an infestation and limit the spread is to perform regular scalp checks at home. By doing this you get used to what’s normal and what isn’t. Then, if you spot lice, you can immediately arrange for professional treatment, saving yourself the hassle of a full-blown, family wide infestation.   For more information, or to schedule an appointment, house call, school or camp consultation, please visit our website at: or call 1-800-403-LICE.   Our Miami treatment center locations are here to serve you:   Bay Harbor Lice Treatment Center, 1005 Kane Concourse, Suite 212, Bay Harbor Island, FL 33154   Coral Gables Lice Treatment Clinic, 2100 Ponce De Leon Blvd, Coral Gables, FL 33154   Hollywood Treatment Center, 5735 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, FL 33021