Lice do’s and don’ts

This article was written by Allison Jones and originally appeared in the Portland Monthly 2017 Kids’ Health Annual magazine.

Six tips for treating the itchiest of childhood problems from OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital pediatrician Dr. Ellen Stevenson.

DON’T share combs, brushes, hats, ribbons or barrettes.
Beware the dress-up corner! Avoid sharing capes, hats, dresses and coats if there are lice in the classroom.

DON’T keep information to yourself.
The evidence is clear – getting head lice is not related to cleanliness and doesn’t reflect badly on parents. The sooner you tell teachers and parents when you notice nits or lice, the easier it is to stop the itchy cycle.

DO let there be light.
Make sure you can see what you’re doing by picking in good light – many parents find sunlight particularly helpful for finding nits.

DON’T give up the hunt too soon.
Lice lay up to 10 eggs a day! Check back every one to three days during an active infection, and again in two to three weeks.

DO think beyond the scalp.
To help limit the spread, wash bedding and clothing in hot water, vacuum couches and car seats, and seal stuffed animals and pillows that can’t be washed in plastic bags for a few weeks.

DO get help when necessary.
For ongoing concerns, discuss treatment options with your health care provider. Also, an entire industry has popped up around lice removal – if you’re not able to eradicate the bugs on your own, you can still consider professional nit-picking.
Parents and caregivers – do you have any additional tips to share? Leave a comment below!