Hey parents! The American Academy of Pediatrics has some new guidelines that say we really don’t need to worry about keeping our kids home from school if they get lice. Some of the reasons given are that lice do not make children sick and they are not easily transferred from one head to another. Mkay. I’m going to go ahead and guess that any parent who has ever dealt with lice is seriously questioning this.
From Huffpost Parents:
The guidelines, from the American Academy of Pediatrics, say that although head lice can cause itching, they are not known to spread disease, and the insects are not very likely to spread from one child to another within a classroom. Rather, it is usually direct head-to-head contact that spreads lice.
Does anyone on this team of researchers have kids? Have you ever seen how children play together? They are practically on top of each other all day — especially pre-schoolers and kindergarteners. Has anyone ever experienced a lice breakout in a classroom where only one kid got it and it hasn’t spread? Just wondering, because I haven’t. In addition to recommending that children with head lice and nits (lice eggs) are not kept home from school, the AAP is also discouraging screening kids at school for lice.
Its hard not to doubt the effectiveness of these recommendations, especially for younger kids. We know that lice cannot live off a live host for long (one to two days) and that they are fairly easily treated. Removing the eggs with a nit comb and keeping your child home until he’s been treated just seems like a good precaution. On the other hand, maybe this new research will ease our minds a little, and get us to think about lice in a totally different way. The concept of kids being basically quarantined until they are rid of lice probably just feeds our paranoia.
Maybe lice aren’t the giant nightmare we are making them out to be. Just knowing that they can’t survive without a host for long should ease the mind a little. Remind yourself of that the next time you are dragging one of those awful nit combs through your child’s hair. And hey, since the AAP says “no healthy child should be excluded from school or allowed to miss school time because of head lice or nits,” at least you can send him out the door to school the next day without being “that parent.”
That’s a win, right?