State warns against head lice in schools

By Karrie Leggett

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -  Head lice is a condition Dr. Thomas Dobbs, district officer with the Mississippi State Department of Health, knows parents dread.

"Head lice are minuscule parasites that live within peoples hair and they live off frequent blood meals they take from the human scalp," said Dobbs.

Dobbs says parents shouldn't think that having head lice is because of poor hygiene. There is mainly one way to contract them.

"The only way really to get head lice is to contract them from another person head lice do not really live that long outside of the human environment. They may live only up to maybe one day off a human, but typically it is from direct head-to-head contact, hair-to-hair contact with another person who is infested with head lice," said Dobbs.

Head lice are transmitted among young children frequently; however, the only complications are a little itching and the squeamishness of parents.

That is why the American Academy of Pediatrics has reaffirmed its policy against schools having no-nits policies.

"So far that reason that is the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics, but still in Mississippi there is a policy and has been to get children home and treated before they do return to school. That is a policy that is really dictated through the Department of Education," said Dobbs.

Many children will get head lice some day even with the American Academy of Pediatrics insisting that school policies will not do much to prevent it.

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