FACT-CHECK: No Evidence That Kerosene, Insecticide Mixture Treats ‘Head Lice’ Infection

Claim: Viral stories claimed dwelling treatments comparable to pesticides, kerosene blended with substances like camphor kill head lice.

Verdict: There is not any adequate proof that the house treatments talked about may treatment head lice however they’re believed to be quite harmful to human well being.

FACT-CHECK: No Evidence That Kerosene, Insecticide Mixture Treats ‘Head Lice’ Infection 2

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Social media is awash with success tales of do-it-yourself treatments for head lice, a really dreaded illness widespread amongst females.

Platforms comparable to YouTube are replete with movies exhibiting how individuals reportedly removed lice utilizing the assorted dwelling treatments and urging the general public to do the identical.

One of such is that this consumer who utilized kerosene to a louse positioned in a basin. In the video, she proved that kerosene may kill the louse. Another consumer lately gave the identical recommendation.

Also, teams on Facebook, most particularly these with titles comparable to ‘Do-it-yourself’ ‘Home Remedies’ amongst others, are also locations the place claims concerning hair lice are shared.

With over 1000’s of followers, the group members with such issues search recommendation on how you can eliminate hair lice and convey up age-long practices comparable to the appliance of insecticide to eliminate hair lice. Some even have advisable using Kerosene blended with camphor as a head lice remedy as seen right here, right here and right here.

Others have suggested individuals with this problem to utilize pain-relieving balm comparable to ‘Aboniki’ balm on the affected head due to the therapeutic potential of the ointment.

This is regardless of tales of those that have been killed by these treatments, significantly a corps member in 2019 who utilized Sniper insecticide to eliminate head lice in 2019.

Also, in 2020, a younger lady was suggested by her hairdresser to use the identical insecticide on the scalp of her two daughters to eliminate hair lice. While one died, the opposite was saved after a lot effort by medical practitioners.

What is head lice?

According to Medical News Today, head lice (singular louse) are tiny, wingless, parasitic bugs that reside in human hair. They are a typical downside and extremely contagious. They will also be onerous to eliminate. The eggs are often known as nits

They reside within the hair on one’s head and feed off the blood from the scalp.

While head lice transfer from individual to individual, there’s inadequate proof to show that it may be transmitted by way of inanimate objects comparable to comb, items of clothes of the affected individuals amongst others.

However, whereas it has been mentioned that head lice don’t pose a really critical medical menace, they might trigger the service to be uncomfortable, inflicting extreme itching.

It has additionally been emphasised that having head lice doesn’t imply the service is soiled.

“These pesky creatures don’t fly or jump — they crawl over to the closest head they can find. This is called head-to-head contact, and most people get lice this way. But they also can spread onto hats, helmets, combs, bedding…”


Dubawa contacted Gogo James Owo, a medical pathologist with De-Integrated Medical Diagnostics and Research Laboratories, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, who warned strictly towards using kerosene/camphor, insecticide and different pesticides in eliminating head lice. He mentioned such dwelling treatments are inimical to well being.

“I will advise that people stay away from using Sniper because the active ingredient in Sniper pesticide is Bifenthrin. It is a highly toxic organic pollutant. When bifenthrin gets on the skin, it can cause tingling, itching, burning, or numbness at the site of contact. The sensations usually go away within 48 hours.

“However, inhaling bifenthrin can irritate the nose, throat, and lungs and in severe cases, respiratory damage is observed,” he mentioned.

He additionally highlighted explanation why kerosene ought to by no means be utilized to the scalp or any a part of the physique.

“Kerosene poisoning can cause symptoms in various parts of the body: it can cause breathing difficulty (from inhalation), it may cause throat swelling and the person may develop abdominal pain.

“Exposure to kerosene can also cause a person to start stooling blood, develop low blood pressure, convulsions, coma, dizziness among others.”

He suggested the use of Dimethicone, a highly effective head lice treatment lotion, with a low risk of adverse effects. “Two applications of dimethicone one week apart results in successful eradication of lice in at least 70% of patients. Dimethicone is not an insecticide. It kills lice by suffocation and disrupting their ability to regulate water,” Owo said.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention also listed pediculicides (lice medicine) as the treatment for head lice.

It also stated that there are many head lice  “over-the-counter” medicines.

It famous that over-the-counter merchandise accredited by the FDA for the remedy of head lice comprise one of many following energetic substances: pyrethrins mixed with piperonyl butoxide; permethrin lotion.

Supplemental tricks to be adopted by individuals making an attempt to eliminate lice infestations embody: washing the hair with shampoo and utilizing a nit comb; vacuuming furnishings and flooring, washing clothes worn or utilized by the infested particular person utilizing scorching water as lice and eggs are killed by publicity for five minutes to temperatures larger than 53.5°C (128.3°F).

It additionally warned towards fumigant sprays stating, “insecticide sprays are not recommended and can be harmful to people and animals”.


The use of insecticide, kerosene for head lice removing may be harmful. An individual infested with head lice can seek the advice of a physician if the over-the-counter treatments will not be efficient.

The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2021 Kwame KariKari fellowship in partnership with SaharaReporters to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and improve media literacy within the nation.

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FACT-CHECK: No Evidence That Kerosene, Insecticide Mixture Treats ‘Head Lice’ Infection

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