Boo! Creepy-crawly lice could be lurking in your Halloween costume

Published on Tuesday, 17 October 2017 10:53 - Written by Kaitlyn Alanis, The Wichita Eagle 

WICHITA, Kan. - In the midst of Halloween’s spiders and bats may be other creepy crawlers.

Health experts are warning that the real spooky situation this Halloween is the lice lurking in Halloween costumes, including wigs and masks.

“It’s really not a health hazard. It’s not a sign of poor hygiene,” pediatric nurse practitioner Cherie Sexton told WTOL. And it’s not really spreading disease. It’s really just more of a nuisance.”

While doctors see a jump in head lice at this time of year because of back-to-school season, WTOL reported the biggest cause for the increased likelihood of lice is actually people shopping for and trying on Halloween costumes.

“We have a lot of people going into stores right now, trying on masks, trying on costumes and trying on wigs,” Sexton said. “And a lot of people don’t give much thought into the fact that several people could’ve tried it on before them.”

To prevent picking up more than just candy this Halloween, Sexton has advice for leaving lice out of the holiday.

“Most moms, dads and grandparents are just trying to get that right costume,” Sexton said. “Get it taken care of. Make sure it fits and get out the door.”

Rather, Sexton recommends taking your time.

- Seal your costume, wig and mask in a plastic bag for 48 hours before wearing it.

- Throw dryer-friendly costume materials in the dryer on high heat for 45 minutes before wearing them.

- When trying on wigs and masks, wear a swim cap or wig cap to create a barrier between you and the lice.If not treated, the risk of lice infestation can last for a week.

“It can go up for seven days, so if your child has been to a Halloween costume party, or they’ve been to a sleepover and somebody called and said there was somebody with lice there, make sure you check your child for the next seven days,” Sexton said.