The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority, which polices the safety of medical products, has issued a warning to be careful when using certain head lice lotions.
Anyone treated with Hedrin 4% Lotion, Full Marks Solution or Nyda head lice lotion should be kept away from any naked flames or lit cigarettes, as the liquids are highly flammable and could be dangerous.
At least 10 people in Britain have suffered serious burns in the last decade after head lice lotion set their hair alight. In most cases, this was caused by someone with a lit cigarette or lighter getting too close to the hair of someone who was being treated or who had recently been treated. However, one woman was badly burned after bending down to adjust a gas fire.
Labelling on the head lice products does state that the product is flammable and that you and the person you’re treating should avoid all naked flames, but experts are concerned that the message isn’t getting through to people.
A spokesperson for Hedrin said: ‘Customer safety is of utmost importance. Hedrin 4% lotion carries a prominent warning to keep hair away from sources of ignition, especially naked flames and burning cigarettes.
‘The rest of the Hedrin range is not associated with this issue, but we do always advise keeping hair away from naked flames.’
Find out which are the best head lice treatments, as voted for by parents, by reading our guide to treating head lice and nits.
Treating head lice and nits
Like library books and pictures formed of dried pasta, the dreaded head lice letter is one of those items that’s routinely carried home in the school bags of most children (and usually met with a loud groan).
In fact, a Which? survey from 2017 found 39% of children aged 4 to 12 have had head lice in the last two years.
There’s an enormous range of treatments for head lice, from lotions and mousses to natural treatments and nit combs. When we surveyed parents, more than half of them (51%) said that they use a medicated lotion, liquid or mousse to get rid of head lice.
However, it’s important that you follow the instructions carefully when using and applying these products. This means leaving the product on for the right amount of time, doing a follow-up treatment a week later to kill any lice that hadn’t yet hatched and following safety instructions such as avoiding naked flames.
Not sure what to look for when checking for head lice and nits? Take our ‘Is it head lice or dandruff?’ quiz and discover our tips on how to prevent the spread of head lice.