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According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 6 million to 12 million children ages 3 to 11 years old get a head lice infestation each year.

Karen Bassett of Southern Oregon Pediatrics in Medford, a registered nurse with more than 20 years of experience, offered the following treatment advice:

  • Purchase an over-the-counter head lice treatment, such as Nix or Rid.
  • Follow all instructions, which include shampooing with a medicated product and patiently combing through hair to remove nits (tiny, pearly eggs).
  • Flush nits down the sink or toilet to prevent any hatching.
  • Thoroughly launder bedding, towels and clothes. Anything that can’t go through the washer but will fit in the dryer (pillows, stuffed animals) should spend 20 minutes on a hot cycle to kill the lice. Alternatively, put all comforters, soft toys and bedding in plastic trash bags. Tie tightly and leave for two weeks to kill lice.
  • Vacuum carpets and furnishings, being sure to empty liners or clean canisters so no new nits will hatch.
  • Spray hard surfaces with a bleach cleaner.
  • After a week, the affected person should go through another round of medicated shampoo and combing, in case any nits were missed and have now hatched.
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