New school policies across the United States allow children with live lice bugs back into class where they can readily pass on the lice to other students. The new policies are leaving parents outraged at the decision.
In the past, most schools have required children with lice to be sent home, in an attempt to prevent the spread to other children. Children haven't been allowed to return to the classroom until all the lice and nits, or lice eggs, are removed.
However, the policy is now changing in a bid to help keep children from missing class, protect children with lice from embarrassment and protect their privacy. Schools in Tennessee, California, Florida, Nebraska, New Mexico and South Carolina also are adopting the more lenient lice policy.
"Lice is icky, but it's not dangerous ... It's not infectious, and it's fairly easy to treat." Deborah Pontius, the school nurse for the Pershing County School District in Lovelock, Nev. told the AP. Pontius's policy is in line with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of School Nurses, who adopted policies in 2010 and 2011 that try not to hurt lice-infested kids' feelings.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are between 6 million to 12 million head lice infestations each year in the United States among children 3 to 11 years old. While itchy and unpleasant, health experts say lice don't spread disease and are not a health hazard.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says lice infestations (pediculosis and pthiriasis) are spread most commonly by close person-to-person contact. Dogs, cats, and other pets do not play a role in the transmission of human lice. Lice move by crawling; they cannot hop or fly.
The most common medication for hair lice is over-the-counter and prescription medications which are available for treatment of lice infestations.
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