New guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics says children with head lice can stay in school

ByAdam Rife, WDJT, CNNWire
Friday, October 7, 2022
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New guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics says children should not miss school because of head lice.

The video featured is from a previous report.

A lice treatment expert says many schools have already been following that policy for the past several years.

The new guidance says since head lice does not put children at risk for any serious health problems, they can stay in school while it's managed, WDJT reported.

And since lice is fairly common, the experts don't want children stigmatized or excluded because of it.

But parent Nick McKiver told us, "I don't think it's probably a good idea."

And Raquel Miller said, "I just feel kids should not be at school if they have lice."

The new guidance raised some eyebrows as parents considered how their families would be impacted if a child with lice stayed in school.

Miller said, "It's hard to get rid of lice. I remember when I was little I had lice and everyone in the house ended up getting it."

Lice is transmitted from head-to-head contact. It's common with younger children, but high school students also get it.

Jess Evans, the director of the Waukesha location of the Lice Clinics of America, said, "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."

Evans said they've seen a big increase in cases after schools returned to in-person learning. "We definitely have seen an uptick in cases now that it seems the school year is in full swing and it seems this is more a back to normal school year."

But she's also seen more schools not sending students home if they have lice.

Evans said, "It does seem like more and more schools are leaning towards letting the children stay in school with an active case of head lice."

She says over the past few years lice have become more resistant to many chemical treatments. "We have seen more and more so-called super lice that are becoming resistant to those home remedies or over-the-counter treatments."

Her clinic uses a chemical-free treatment that uses hot air to kill the lice and dehydrate the eggs, which are then combed out.

The American Academy of Pediatrics said one reason for the new guidance is how students with lice are treated.

Evans said, "There's a little bit of a stigma around lice which is why some schools don't want to single out a student."

But some parents think that can be addressed.

Miller said, "I don't think that the teacher should tell the other parents which kid has lice, I think it should be dealt with in a more confidential manner."

McKiver said, "If you educate the kids about lice, I don't think it should be a big deal or anyone should look down on the kids."

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