American Academy of Pediatrics says children with head lice can remain in school during treatment

The American Academy of Pediatrics is now advising parents that they can send their children to school despite being actively treated for lice.

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The AAP announced the update to its guidance in a clinical report called “Head Lice,” which it will publish in October in the journal Pediatrics. It was published online on Monday.

The report says that lice is not a health hazard or a sign of poor hygiene, but can bring with it “significant stigma and psychological stress.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls lice a nuisance but said that they do not spread diseases. Lice is not a reason to send a child home from school early, and the child can return to school once treatment has started, the CDC said

The report also describes new medications that can be used to treat lice and a plan for patient management and diagnosis and treatment clarifications.

“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,” Dawn Nolt, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, said.

Nolt is the lead author of the report, written by the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases, Committee on Practice and Ambulatory Medicine, and Section on Dermatology.

The AAP also said that screening programs used by schools have not proven to have an effect on cases in a school setting, adding that they’re not cost-effective and may stigmatize children. Instead, the AAP suggests educational programs for families to help them understand and manage head lice in the community.

For more information, visit the AAP’s Healthy Children website.

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