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New Recommendation: Kids with Head Lice Should Still Go to School

posted: 04/28/15
by: Mara Betsch
head lice
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Head lice, though annoying, are 100 percent treatable.
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Hearing that there's a lice issue at your child's school is enough to send most parents into a panic. However, new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics say there's no reason to worry.

They claim that outbreaks of lice can be treated without banning kids from the classroom. In fact, they recommend that children with lice finish their school day, receive treatment at home and return to school the next day.

"Head lice is not as contagious as we think it is," Today contributor Dr. Natalie Azar told Hoda Kotb. She reminds us that lice don't jump -- they crawl -- and most of the transmission happens outside of school. That being said, if there is a lice issue at your child's school, it's important that you remind your kids not to share hats, brushes, head phones or anything else that can allow lice to spread.

If your child does have lice, pay your pediatrician a visit and get an over-the counter medicine containing 1 percent permethrin or pyrethrins ASAP. The treatment should then be reapplied at day 9, and then again, if needed, at day 18. You can remove nits manually, as well. If that doesn't seem to do the trick, there are prescription medications that you can discuss with your doctor. And if your child has lice, you should check all family members -- and wash all pillowcases.

And though lice are incredibly annoying, remember that they don't spread disease. It's also not a sign of poor hygiene -- lice actually like clean heads! Whether schools listen and adhere to these guidelines is still to be seen, but it is a good reminder that when it comes to lice, they too shall pass.