Q. Friends have called in a panic about treating lice. Their six-year-old daughter brought them home from summer camp.

When I was a girl my parents used kerosene, but I hated it. These folks are reluctant to use insecticide on their little girl, so I hope you can tell us some natural ways to get rid of lice.

A. Kerosene is an old-fashioned home remedy that is far too risky. Don’t use it!

A lice expert confided to us that alcohol is effective for overcoming lice. It is found in HairClean 1-2-3, along with coconut oil, anise oil and ylang ylang oil. Clinical tests have found this product effective even against lice that have developed resistance to standard treatments.

Listerine mouthwash, which also contains alcohol, has been recommended by readers. It can be massaged into the scalp, left on for 15 minutes and then washed out. Listerine also contains essential oils from herbs including eucalyptol, thymol, methyl salicylate and menthol. There are no scientific studies testing Listerine against lice, however.

No matter which lice product your friends use, they will get better results if they remove the nits with a fine tooth comb. Such nit combs range from a few dollars up to vibrating electronic versions for around $50.

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