- Click HERE for the National Association of School Nurses (US) position statement on dealing with head lice in the schools.
- Click HERE for the guide book "Staying Healthy in Childcare" published by the Australian government.
- Click HERE to read the abstract from a study by the Department of Parasitology, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel. The conclusion of this study? "No-nit" policies should be abandoned.
- Click HERE to read the policy paper from Nova Scotia Public Health Services recommending against "no-nit" policies.
- Here's a quote from the policy statement of the Canadian Paediatric Association: "Exclusion from school and daycare due to the detection of the presence of ‘nits’ does not have sound medical rationale." It goes on to state that the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Public Health Medicine Environmental Group in the United Kingdom also discourage ‘no nit’ school policies. Click HERE to read the entire paper.
- HERE's a paper published in the journal Pediatrics stating that "no nit" policies are excessive.
- Time magazine had a 2010 article on the latest research against "no-nit" policies. Read it HERE.
- Read the 2007 International Guidelines for Effective Control of Head Louse Infestations HERE. This paper, published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, is a collaboration of researchers from all over the world. Their verdict on "no-nit" policies is as follows: "The no-nit policy, based on the persistence of empty egg cases, is not justified and does more harm than good; therefore, we recommend that it be immediately halted
- Learn how to identify an active case of head lice through proper screening. To diagnose an active case, a live louse (bug) must be found. Screening for head lice is best done by wet combing. Check out this blog post on checking for head lice.
- Inform parents and children if lice are found and reassure parents that this is not an issue about hygiene or neglect - head lice are a common fixture in our schools and centres.
- Give parents sound information about what lice are and are not, lice "shampoos" (most are ineffective and none are the cure), excessive house cleaning and laundering (which does nothing and is therefore an absolute waste of time and money), and treatments that work (such as regular wet combing with a proper come and directed blow drying.) Read articles on this blog for more research and information about these techniques.
In my experience, inclusion and knowledge go a lot farther in dealing with this problem then exclusion and misinformation. Instead of creating policies that only look like we are taking things seriously and make us feel like we are doing something in the fight against head lice, let's create policies and protocols that actually do something in the fight against head lice. We will not win this battle if we point fingers, insist upon exhausting and ineffective protocols (like lice "shampoos" and laundering), and continue to shroud this problem in shame. We need to openly share our concerns and frustrations in a way that supports and equips.