If summer camp is on the agenda for your kids this summer, make sure they return home with happy camp memories, not head lice. Unfortunately, the spread of head lice at summer camp is fairly common. 60% of camp leaders say head lice infestations are a significant challenge at camp, according to a survey by researchers at the University of Michigan.

At Pediatric Hair Solutions, we partner with dozens of camps in the Carolinas to conduct head checks and treatments at the site of each camp on intake day. If your child’s camp does not have a professional partner checking for lice and you’re worried about your child getting head lice at summer camp, here are tips to keep in mind to prevent lice from spreading to your child during camp.

1. Understand the Camp Head Lice Policy

If your child’s camp will be conducting head checks on the first day, you will want to be checked by a professional before then. That will avoid the cost of being treated on site or the possibility of your child being sent home. If the camp does not conduct head checks or does not have a pro-active policy, it’s important to have your child checked by a professional as soon as he or she returns from camp to prevent the spread of lice among family members.

2. Make a “No Share” List

Lice are most commonly spread through direct head to head contact. However, in rare cases they can spread through clothing, pillows, hair accessories, combs, brushes and hats. Make a list of the items just listed that your child should never share with other campers.

3. Use Prevention Spray 

Head lice have an acute sense of smell and do not like the scent of mint, rosemary and tea tree oil. We use a proprietary mint essential oil mix in our Prevention Spray which is very effective at repelling lice. Our spray is not sticky and can be used every morning to keep lice away. We have a full 8 oz. bottle or travel size which is great for camp. Girl campers are also encouraged to wear their hair in tight buns and braids.

4. Avoid Selfies

If your child is going to take pictures to capture the memories of summer camp, make sure those pictures do not include selfies. Touching heads with a person who has head lice is the number one way it can transfer from one camper to another. Educate your children on how it spreads and counsel them to avoid selfies at camp.

5. Get Professional Head Checks When Camp Ends

As we mentioned earlier, if your child’s summer camp does not have a lice policy that includes on site head checks, it’s a very good idea to have them checked for lice by a professional as soon as they return from camp. Detecting a case early on will prevent the spread of lice and make treatment much easier. We recommend one of our 3 treatment options, which include the application of a non-toxic solution to suffocate the adult bugs, and a heated air device to dehydrate the eggs.