Lice do not take summer vacations. Instead, these parasites are active all year round. They even find extra opportunities to spread from child to child when kids from different communities come together for summer camp. So how can you help your kids avoid lice at camp?
How to Get Rid of Lice:
Q. I have battled head lice with my daughter for over three years. She keeps getting them over and over. None of the medicines that I have used are working. Please help!
A. We have heard from many parents that head lice have become resistant to some OTC drugstore treatments. With summer camp approaching and increased exposure, children will be more vulnerable than usual. But there are remedies that can work for treating lice.
Suffocate the Lice with Mayonnaise or Cetaphil:
Although home remedies are rarely tested in a scientific manner, many desperate parents have reported success suffocating the lice with mayonnaise or Cetaphil cleanser. One mother wrote:
“I coated the hair with lots of mayo, wrapped the hair in plastic wrap and put shower caps on them. In an hour I took the hair down, washed it with dish soap (great to get rid of the oil), combed out the bugs and repeated these steps until the hair was clean. No more lice!”
A father reported:
“We settled on the Cetaphil method. It worked 100 percent. We didn’t even need to clean the sheets, vacuum the house or wash the slipcovers.”
The hair is drenched with the cleanser, then dried with a blow dryer. This is left on overnight and washed out in the morning.
Kill Lice with Listerine:
Another approach uses old-fashioned amber Listerine mouthwash:
“I got lice while working at a summer camp. I have super long thick curly hair. I put Listerine on my hair for two hours, then washed it out and used coconut conditioner. The dead lice were falling off my head. It was disgusting but I’m so glad they are gone.”
Any home remedy used for lice will need to be repeated within a week and again at 10 to 14 days, since these approaches do not kill the eggs. It is important to destroy the lice that hatch out before they too can start to lay eggs.
In your home, bedding should be washed and dried at high heat. Stuffed animals need to be sequestered in a plastic bag for a week so that they can’t serve as a reservoir for re-infestation.
How to Avoid Lice at Camp:
To help your child avoid lice at camp, make sure she knows not to share hats, pillows or brushes with other children. Although this may be challenging, stuffed animals shouldn’t be shared among children or spend time on other kids’ beds.
Once your child arrives home, you’ll want to check for lice. One mother offered this tip:
“My blonde daughter came home from summer camp with lice but since she’d dyed her hair pink with Kool-Aid the last day of camp, I was able to spot the nits. They had soaked up the colored Kool-Aid and looked pink in her hair.”
Wetting the hair and combing it while wet is one of the best ways to detect a louse infestation. But if your child has been careful, you should be lucky enough not to find any.