Summer camp can spread head lice

Consumer Reports offers tips to get rid of lice without chemicals

SAN ANTONIO – So you survived the school year lice-free?

Consumer Reports says don’t let your guard down over the summer. Camp and other summer-time activities can spread lice.

When it comes to getting rid of lice, Consumer Reports' Jeneen Interlandi says skip the chemical products.

"The active ingredients in both Rid and Nix can cause painful side effects including itchy and inflamed skin, chemical burns and even difficulty breathing. What’s more, research suggest that lice are increasingly resistant to the chemicals in these products," she said.

Instead, Consumer Reports says physically combing out the bugs and their eggs is safer and actually more effective than chemical treatments.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Coat the hair and scalp with a conditioner.
  • With a wide tooth comb separate the hair into smaller sections.
  • Then run a metal nit comb through each smaller section.

"Lice prefer to live and lay their eggs very close to the scalp so when you do your comb-out, that’s the area you want to focus on," Interlandi said.

RELATED: Invasion of Super Lice


After you comb, wipe the comb onto a paper towel and look for lice. When you’re finished with the whole head wash the combs in very hot, soapy water and throw the used paper towels in a re-sealable plastic bag to throw away.

Continue the comb-outs every day until no more live lice are seen.

Then, every few days for about a month.

"Lice can’t live off of your head for too long so you actually don’t have to go crazy with the housecleaning. What you want to do is just focus on the items that have come into direct contact with your child’s head over just the past few days," Interlandi said.

Consumer Reports says to concentrate on cleaning the most important items: soak your combs and brushes in boiling water for five to ten minutes.

Bag up anything that can’t be washed like stuffed animals and pillows for two weeks.

And be sure to wash recently worn clothing and bedding and dry on high heat. Finally, be sure to check and treat everyone in your family so you don’t keep passing it around.


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About the Author

Marilyn Moritz is an award-winning journalist dedicated to digging up information that can make people’s lives a little bit better. As KSAT’S 12 On Your Side Consumer reporter, she focuses on exposing scams and dangerous products and helping people save money.

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