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How to keep kids lice-free

Girls can wear braids to avoid contact with

Girls can wear braids to avoid contact with the hair of other kids. Credit: Getty Images

Nobody wants their kids’ summertime fun to be disrupted by a case of lice — and parents can take steps to minimize the chances of that happening.

“Lice don’t live in trees. They come from direct head-to-head contact,” says Carol Gilbert, co-owner of Fairy LiceMothers, a professional lice treatment service in Oceanside, Deer Park and Glen Head.

Gilbert offers the following preventive advice:

  • Buy and use a metal nit comb on your child even before the child has lice. Run it through his or her hair once a week, and you’ll likely catch any bugs or eggs before a problem escalates. Run the comb through wet hair after shampooing and using a conditioner. “If we make this part of our weekly grooming habits, the amount of lice that is going around would be dramatically decreased,” Gilbert says. Visit for a free how-to tutorial.
  • Teach kids going to sleepaway camp to use a nit comb themselves. Tell them that if they see a bug or egg in the comb, they should show it to camp nurse. It might be an ant or another kind of insect. Each camp will have its own policy on how to handle the situation if it is lice, Gilbert says.
  • Remind kids that lice travel through hair-to-hair contact. That’s why kids get them more frequently than adults, Gilbert says. “When you watch children play, they’re all over each other,” Gilbert says. And kids constantly have their heads together for selfies, she says.
  • Consider having the child use a repellent shampoo or spray daily. Lice don’t like certain scents, such as peppermint and lavender, Gilbert says. “They tend to turn around and walk the other way,” she says.
  • Have girls wear their hair in a braid or bun instead of down and flowing to reduce the likelihood of hair coming into contact with someone else’s hair, Gilbert says.
  • Remind kids not to share hair brushes and accessories or caps and hats.

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