Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Report: Head Lice Is No Reason to Keep Kids Out of School

By Alice Park
Monday, July 26, 2010

They are miniscule, measuring at most 2 mm to 3 mm long, yet few things induce more panic or fear among parents than head lice. But while an infestation of head lice on a child can be uncomfortable, the critters do not pose enough of a contagious hazard to justify the strict policies that many schools use to keep infected children out of class, according to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

In the clinical report, released by the journal Pediatrics on Monday, the AAP updates its 2002 guidelines for the treatment of lice infestation. The pediatricians group once again urges schools to abandon their strict no-nits policies, which require children to be free of nits, the empty casings left behind by lice once they hatch from their eggs, before they may return to school. Both the AAP and the National Association of School Nurses have long discouraged this policy because it is not proven to lower overall infestation rates and puts children who miss class at a disadvantage...

Read more HERE.

1 comment:

LegalBeaglette said...

I am not sure what to say about this. While I understand that being removed from the classroom setting puts those children at a disadvantage, and that those children are not “sick,” I find it difficult to believe that the practice “is not proven to lower infestation rates,” especially in light of the fact that it is not a reportable disease.

In addition, the ramifications of a lice infestation are different for each child. I had long hair, and several siblings. Getting lice would have been a huge deal for me, and for my mother…especially if I had shared the wealth with the other children in the family.

A friend’s child has tactile sensitivities. It is difficult to describe the nightmare for both of them in dealing with head lice. It happened several times one school year, and finally my friend, weeping, close-shaved her daughter’s hair. It was terrible, but trying to deal with the lice was worse.

The work involved in dealing with lice is huge. Cleaning the bedding, carpeting, clothes, toiletries, towels, stuffed animals, upholstery (house and car) – my friend would leave nothing undone.

So, I think this issue – and establishing appropriate policy in addressing it – is much more complicated than this article implies.