Head lice-infested kids fine in school


Here Up North, we like to send our kids home from school if they have head lice. Maybe douse 'em on a regular basis with some really nasty-smelling shampoo. Give 'me the old buzz cut if they're too shaggy. Spend family time in the evening around the TV pickin' the the little critters out with a fine-toothed comb. But now, the American Academy of Pediatrics says you don't need to send the kids home anymore.

Banishing them from the classroom just embarrasses the heck out of the kids and does nothing to halt the spread of the head-scratching nuisance. Or, as the AAC says, "Head lice infestation is associated with little morbidity but causes a high level of anxiety among parents of school-aged children."

"By the time [kids] start scratching their heads and somebody notices they have lice, they've probably had the infestation for about three weeks," says Dr. Barbara Frankowski, of the University Vermont, who co-authored the new guidelines. "So they're no more contagious today than they were yesterday."

The state health department's Dave Neitzel said the agency will review its recommendations to school districts regarding head lice. Right now, MDH says, "Infested children should be dismissed from school until the first treatment is completed."

Here's Frankowski:

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