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Head Lice policy changes in schools

Reported by: Wayne Hereford
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Updated: 11/13/2013 7:02 pm
MANTACHIE, Miss. (WTVA)-- According to the Centers for Disease Control, students who have head lice do not need to be sent home from school.

In fact, a new CDC report indicates students can be sent home at the end of the school day, treated, and return when healthy.

Health professionals at the Mantachie Rural Health Care Center say that sometimes treat children who have head lice.

The small parasitic insects attach themsevles to the scalp and neck, and then lay eggs or nits to the base of the hair shaft.

We are told it's more common in girls than boys, and according to the CDC, affects millions of kids each year between the ages of three and 11.

Although a nuisance, officials say they do not spread disease, but they can be uncomfortable and hard to treat. 

"More troublesome.  Itching, causing itching with the child, restlessmess, fidgeting in school," said Leslie Peterson, a nurse with Mantachie Rural Health Care.

"Mainly, the important thing with the lice is that you get rid of the nits. If you don't get rid of the nits completely, then you start the whole cycle of the lice all over again," she continued.

In past years, kids who had head lice were sent home from school, and were not allowed back until the lice were gone.

But apparently, according to an Associated Press report, some schools in a number of states have relaxed the rules, allowing students with lice to stay in class.

We were unable to confirm that through any local school district, but one unidentified school official admitted state policy does conincide with what the CDC recommends.

In fact, the school official said if a child is treated properly they can return to school the next day, but there is one stipulation. 

"The most important thing is that someone is not continually having reoccuring head lice and returning to school, because they are causing problems," she says.

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