Curious & Current Issues...

  • * We (Amesbury) follow the protocol prescribed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and NASN and the CDC. Head lice are not a health issue and do not cause disease. Should we observe a high number of cases in 1 classroom, notification could be considered provided confidentiality of the students can be maintained.

    Head Lice : Our current protocol is evidence based and not exclusive.

    Students diagnosed with live head lice do not need to be sent home early from school. This is a determination that can be made between the school nurse and parent/guardian. Nits may persist after treatment, but successful treatment should kill crawling lice.

    Head lice can be a nuisance but they have not been shown to spread disease. Personal hygiene or cleanliness in the home or school has nothing to do with getting head lice. It is probably impossible to totally prevent head lice infestations. Young children come into close head-to-head contact with each other frequently. It is prudent for children to be taught not to share personal items such as combs, brushes, and hats.

    Both the American Association of Pediatrics and the National Association of School Nurses advocate that “no-nit" policies should be discontinued. “No-nit" policies that require a child to be free of nits before they can return to schools should be discontinued for the following reasons:

              Many nits are more than ¼ inch from the scalp. Such nits are usually not viable and very unlikely to hatch to become crawling lice, or may in fact be empty shells, also known as casings.

              Nits are cemented to hair shafts and are very unlikely to be transferred successfully to other people.

              The burden of unnecessary absenteeism to the students, families and communities far outweighs the risks associated with head lice.

              Misdiagnosis of nits is very common during nit checks conducted by nonmedical personnel.