Head lice tends to be on the rise around Halloween

(Courtesy: Heather Pelat/Media General)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Parents, be aware of the risk of creepy crawlers invading your child’s scalp this Halloween season.

Head lice tends to be on the rise this time of year and can be easily spread when trying on a mask, wig, or hat.

Whether you’re Spiderman or a scary zombie, dressing up is part of the fun during Halloween. It’s terrifying to think your kids could be coming home from trick-or-treating with more than just candy.

“During Halloween, people try on clothes, costumes, masks, hats, then start itching a little bit later,” said Jennifer Tippens with Lice Clinics of America, Knoxville.

Tippens works at Lice Clinics of America in Knoxville, where they’ve been seeing an increase in cases.

“The bugs themselves do not come off easily. They want to stay on the head. If you’re trying on things and it’s picking your hair up, there’s a possibility that somebody’s louse can get on an article of clothing,” said Tippens.

So how do you be careful with your kids’ costumes? Ida Summit is from Madisonville and she plans to shop with her children for their favorite costume. She also plans to clean each outfit before they put them on.

“We love Halloween, we love fun, we love the kids enjoying themselves, it’s fun to go out and be with others, they love the candy part. I do too. But safety is first,” said Summit.

You can also throw dryer friendly items in the dryer on high heat for 45 minutes before wearing them to prevent the creepy crawlers. Also put your costume in a sealed plastic bag. Any head lice will die from suffocation within 24 to 48 hours.

If you do manage to get head lice from trying on a mask or costume, experts say treatment with over-the-counter shampoos and extracting the lice with a very fine comb are some of the best methods.