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New Guidance Says Kids Can Attend School With Head Lice

The American Academy of Pediatrics has updated its “diagnosing and treating” lice policy for the first time since 2015 due to the stigma that may be associated with the infestation.

The organization says that “infestations are neither a health hazard nor sign of poor hygiene but can result in significant stigma and psychological stress.”

The October 2022 clinical report, “Head Lice,” states that head lice are manageable and kids shouldn’t miss school because of them.

 Head lice are an unpleasant part of the human experience, but they can be successfully managed and are no reason for a child to miss school,” said Dawn Nolt, MD, MPH, FAAP, lead author of the report,” the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases, Committee on Practice and Ambulatory Medicine, and Section on Dermatology wrote.

The updated guidance highlights “topical agents, such as shampoos, lotions and other Food and Drug Administration-approved products containing pyrethroids” that can help treat lice.

Response After New Guidance

Jess Evans, the director of Waukesha location of the Lice Clinics of America, spoke with CBS58 and expressed many parents’ concerns about the new guidance.

She also stated kids with lice may spread them to other kids if they’re still in school while infected.

We definitely hear a lot of frustration with that, mainly because if that student is staying in school, there’s a pretty high possibility they’re going to be spreading lice in the classroom, at lunch, at recess. Things like that.

The director also stated that “super lice” are becoming resistant to over-the-counter treatments.”

We have seen more and more so-called super lice becoming resistant to those home remedies or over-the-counter treatments.

Ultimately, the AAP recommends parents reach out to pediatricians for more information on managing kids who may have lice. They also recommend safe and age-appropriate treatments.

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