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Head Lice – No Longer Reason to Keep Kids Home?

Head Lice

Head lice report says schools should ditch ‘no nits’ policy!

Head lice are a subject that tends to rear its ugly head about this time of year. A report released yesterday from the American Academy of Pediatrics, suggests children with lice should no longer be kept home from school.  The crutch of the report concludes that keeping children home from school has been ineffective in preventing the spread of head lice.

Most schools have adopted a “no nits” policy which sends children home who have contracted head lice and won’t allow them back to school till they are clear of nits. But, the new report says that by the time scratching is happening, others have already been exposed to the little varmints.

“It’s only a bug on your child, not in your child like the flu or pneumonia,” study author Barbara L. Frankowski, MD, MPH, professor of pediatrics at the University of Vermont in Burlington, says in an email. “Healthy children — which includes children with lice infestation — should be in school learning,” reports WebMd. “We’re stressing still that healthy children should be in school and schools shouldn’t have any policies,” said Barbara Frankowski, an author of the updated guidelines published online in the journal Pediatrics on Monday;

How do kids get head lice?

“Most cases of head lice are community acquired, often at sleep-away programs or parties, and not uncommonly in the summer,” Devore says. Lice can’t hop or fly. Instead, they crawl from head to head. “Totally preventing head lice is probably impossible, if you have a normally active, social child,” Frankowski says. “Head lice are a normal risk of childhood, just like colds and scraped knees.”

Lice are admittedly, nasty little creatures, especially when found on the head of your beloved little ones, but doctors agree they are not a health hazard and they don’t spread any disease.  Also, having head lice is NOT a sign of uncleanliness. I know from experience behind the chair that Mom’s immediately panic with the diagnosis of lice and fear that they are to blame. It’s an irrational fear that is absolutely not true . . . so forget about it . . . head lice are not discerning creatures and can show up on absolutely anyone.

How can you help prevent lice infestation?

The most effective preventative advice when it comes to head lice is to teach your children not to share combs and brushes. Familiarize yourself on what to look for. Look for signs of lice on your children by looking through the hair. Check behind the ears and throughout the hair for signs of live lice. Also look for their eggs, “nits” that are clear in color and are attached to the hair shaft.

To read more about head lice and how to treat head lice, WebMd has this good head lice article.

  





2 Comments »

  1. I always thought head lice was due to being dirty when what a lot of nurses tell me is that lice like clean heads, so that is why it seems the adults of many children do not end up with it – they wear gel & hairsprays, etc in their hair or like me, I die my hair often, well used to.

    My daughter keeps getting head lice, she came home last day of school with it, I was so upset that she made it the WHOLE year without it. Now ALL summer we have been fighting with it, as she goes to a lot of Summer activities. So when we have our homes (her Dads and mine) and her head is rid of the little varmits she goes to a library event or extra curricular activity where other people from her school are and BAM she comes home again with it.

    I am BEYOND frustrated and happy that my other two kids are boys so I can just shave their heads, LOL. Although the boys, myself, my husband and my daughter’s father have NOT gotten it. It’s just her long hair.

    I will NOT send her to school with any form of head lice, nits or anything, that’s irresponsible I think to just keep allowing it to spread!

    Comment by Brandy — July 28, 2010 @ 8:24 pm

  2. That seems irresponsible and disgusting. Keep the kids at home until those suckers are all dead. It’s not like chicken pox, not everybody needs to be exposed to that.

    Comment by Best of Beehive — July 28, 2010 @ 9:18 am

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