WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Children with head lice should not be kept home from school, new guidelines from leading pediatricians say.
The guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics says that head lice can be a nuisance but they are not known to spread disease. Personal hygiene or cleanliness in the home or school has nothing to do with getting head lice, the guidelines say.
Both the American Association of Pediatrics and the National Association of School Nurses agree that “no healthy child should be excluded from school or allowed to miss school time because of head lice or nits.” Both groups advocate that “no-nit” policies should be discontinued. Nits are the eggs of head lice. “No-nit” policies require a child be free of nits before they can return to school.
The American Association of Pediatrics says that screening kids at school for head lice does not reduce the occurrence of head lice and that routine screenings at schools should also be discontinued. The AAP does recommend that parents routinely check their children for head lice.
All people who have been diagnosed with head lice should be treated. Experts suggest that all household members who come into close contact with somebody already diagnosed with head lice should also be treated, especially if you share the same bed with a person already infected.
The AAP recommends using over the counter medications and strongly urge parents to read the instructions before applying treatment.
Medication does not kill all the eggs, therefore the AAP recommend the use of a fine-tooth comb called a “nit-comb,” which can make the process much easier.
The American Association of Pediatrics recommends that parents teach children not to share combs, brushes, and hats.
These new guidelines are an updated version of previous recommendations which were issued in 2010.