head lice infestation at school - Northern California

Head Lice Treatment

During Lice Treatment, Can Your Kid Go to School?

It is probably one of the most stressful things parents have to deal with when kids come home from school, scratching their heads like no one’s business. Worse, you get a call from the school, breaking the news your kid has been hit with head lice.

Lousy Lice

Head lice might be dangerous in that they don’t carry diseases as ticks do. But as any parent knows, they are horrible to deal with because getting rid of them is a tiresome job. When your kid has head lice, you and anyone in your family may have to get checked for infection as well. You also have to change clothing and linens. Clothes and bedding should be machine washed in hot water and heated dry. The whole house may have to be vacuumed.

Of course, your kid has to get lice treatment, too.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), you’ll want to get over-the-counter medicines that contain permethrin or pyrethrins to treat lice infestation. Some very stubborn lice and may have built up resistance so you may need to get a doctor to prescribe a specific shampoo. After the lice shampoo, you need to get on with the cumbersome task of “nitpicking” — taking out the lice eggs on the shaft of the hair follicle. The manual removal may be a burden, but it is still an effective way to get rid of lice.

Barred from School for head lice?

Head lice Infestation at school - lice treatmentThe nuisance does not stop at getting rid of lice. There is also the question of when your kid can go back to school. The usual policy is that kids do not need to be sent home early when they are found to have head lice. They can finish out the rest of the day and then come home to get treatment. They can actually return to class once the lice shampoo has been applied and the “nitpicking” has been done.

But some schools have a “no-nit” policy, which does not allow kids to return to school while they still have lice eggs. This absenteeism may make some parents feel at peace, knowing that the risk of spreading lice is decreased. New guidelines from the AAP, however, indicate that the unnecessary absence from school outweighs the risks connected to head lice. And that the “no-nit” policy is unfair.

Your kid should not be barred from school when he or she gets head lice, according to the new guidelines. The AAP says that head lice have low contagion in classrooms, and that having it doesn’t indicate poor hygiene.

The new guideline may make other parents anxious about sending their kids to class with other kids who still have head lice. But it’s good to know that kids can be taught ways to prevent lice from spreading. From not sharing personal belongings to not hugging or putting heads together, kids can help prevent the spread of lice while still staying in school. Be sure to check with your Child’s School for the final verdict. 

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