Guidelines Updated for Lice Infestation Among Children

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Guidelines Updated for Lice Infestation Among Children
Guidelines Updated for Lice Infestation Among Children

(HealthDay News) — Outbreaks of head lice in children can be effectively treated without banning infected children from school, new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) say. The guidelines were published online April 27 in Pediatrics.

The AAP says doctors and other health care professionals should teach schools and communities that "no-nit" policies are unfair and should not be implemented. Children found to have head lice or nits can finish the school day, be treated, and return to school, the AAP says.

As for treatment, the first choice for active live infestations should be over-the-counter medicines containing 1 percent permethrin or pyrethrins. After applying the product, parents should perform nit removal and wet combing. The treatment should be reapplied at day nine, and again at day 18 if needed. In areas where lice are known to be resistant to such products or when treatment efforts fail, new prescription medications such as spinosad or topical ivermectin should be considered.

If head lice are discovered on one family member, all household members should be checked, the AAP added. The use of home pesticides is not recommended, but washing pillowcases and treating natural bristle hairbrushes are reasonable measures, the group said. Also, teaching children not to share personal items such as combs, brushes, and hats can help reduce the risk of head lice. Regular checks by parents can help with quick detection and treatment of head lice infestations.

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