By Amara Wagner, Health Coach

Arts and crafts, swimming and…head lice?! Definitely NOT what a parent bargains for when sending their kids off to summer camp, but lice is a harsh reality. Unfortunately, cleanliness has little to do with getting head lice. If someone else in the camp has lice, your child is at risk, but there is a natural, non-toxic way to help protect them.

Now is the time to start being proactive, so you can prevent an occurrence of head lice from spoiling your summer plans.  Don’t wait until there is an outbreak.

Did you know that most “all natural” lice shampoos contain chemicals that should be avoided in children according to the chemical safety database? Sodium Laurel Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, & Benzalkonium Chloride are just a few of the TOXIC chemicals routinely found in products for children. A recent governmental study called The President’s Cancer Panel revealed that of the over 80,000 chemicals on the market today, only about 200 have been tested for safety and most at risk are children and pregnant women. It’s important to know exactly what you are putting in and on your child’s body (remember the skin is the largest organ!)

So what’s a mom to do? Lice calls for drastic measures, right? WRONG. Lice prevention is easy, simple and can be completely NON-TOXIC.

There are certainly some common sense measures to teach your child. Don’t share hats, scarves, coats or helmets and don’t share combs or brushes. But kids will be kids and fortunately, there is more you can do in the name of prevention.

Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils of Melaleuca Alternifolia, Eucalyptus Radiata, Geranium, Lemon*, Rosemary and Peppermint all “REPEL” lice. 15-20 drops of a combination of these oils in an 8oz spray bottle with distilled water repel lice better than shampooing with toxic ingredients. Wet your child’s hair with the solution every morning before heading out the door and after the bath in the evening. *citrus oils are photosensitive, so use caution if applying lemon oil and going outdoors.

So what should you do if your child already has lice? Some of us may remember our own lice experiences as kids. My parents used the most toxic chemical on the market to help get rid of the nasty buggers. I, apparently, was the lucky one. My girlfriend’s mom used kerosene on her head to kill lice.  I am happy to report that there are safe, effective alternatives to these toxic chemicals. Believe me, there is no easy way to get rid of lice, but the following method is very effective and completely non-toxic.

You will need a bottle Therapeutic Grade Melaleuca Alternifolia, Eucalyptus Radiata Peppermint essential oils and also olive oil. First, work 30 drops of Melaleuca Alternifolia into the hair. Then, 30 drops of Eucalyptus Radiata, 15 drops of lavender and and 15 drops of geranium and finally, 30 drops of Peppermint into the hair. Massage and work it over the entire scalp and hair. When you add the peppermint the lice will literally march out. Get your metal lice comb ready and a pot of boiling water to rinse them off with. You will need to use lice comb for each section of hair in four different directions. It can be helpful to do it in sunlight since they can be difficult to see. Once you have combed out the entire head, you will need to saturate the head with lice treatment oil (olive or coconut are good), wrap the child’s head with saran wrap and let them sit for three hours (the electronic babysitter comes in handy!). Finally, wash it all out with a rinse of 2 drops rosemary, 2 drops Thieves, 2 drops peppermint and 1 oz vinegar.  This process may need to be repeated several times.