System: Don’t panic over national lice reports

Published 11:41 pm Monday, August 24, 2015


Over the past week, social media has been full of reports of mutant head lice in at least 25 states including Alabama, but local school officials say parents shouldn’t give much credence to the reports.

Covington County Schools administrator Kelly McCollough, who is over the school nurse program, said though the reputability of the study has been questioned, with the return of students to school it’s still a good time to remind parents to be mindful that head lice do exist.

A study gained wide-spread attention last week, after it claimed that there were strains of super-resistant, mutant head lice infesting in the country.

Media reported the study, but left out that the study was partially funded by pharmaceutical companies that make the prescription option for head lice.

The study by Drs. John Clark of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Kyong Yoon of Southern University of Illinois at Edwardsville, said that lice has developed resistance to over-the-counter treatments.

The study also recommended that patients seek the prescription treatments, which cost upwards of $350.

McCollough said that the county school system has a no-nit policy, which means students who have nits must go through the process of being treated before being allowed back on campus.

McCollough said the system checks each week during the school year for head lice.

“Head lice have nothing to do with the cleanliness of a house or our parenting skills,” she said. “Lice are not particular about your income or hygiene. Anyone can have lice.”

McCollough offered tips for preventing the pest:

• Check your children weekly for lice all year long;

• Encourage students to not share hats, coats or brushes;

• Check all family members if one is infested;

• Report the case to your school so that other families can check their children;

• Have your student check in the school office when child returns to school after treatment;

• Follow all directions for the lice treatment you have selected; and

• Comb or pick through your child’s head daily for two to three weeks until all lice and nits are gone.