Head lice are a community issue that children bring to school. Head lice infestations are common in the United States among children aged 3 to 12 and approximately 6 to 12 million have infestations each year. The most common symptom is itching. Head lice are the cause of much embarrassment and misunderstanding, many unnecessary days lost from school and work, and millions of dollars spent on remedies (Pediatrics Vol. 110 No.3 Sept. 2002). Head lice are spread most often by head to head contact. This direct contact is common during play/activities at school and home, child care settings, etc.
Note: Research has shown that only a small number of children who have nits on their scalp are also infested with living lice. Accordingly, in the U.S.A. alone, 4-8 million children are treated unnecessarily for head lice annually. In addition, 12-24 million school days are lost annually. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Association of School Nurses, and the Harvard School of Public Health support children not missing school unnecessarily for head lice.
Mead School District recognizes the negative education and social impacts for students who miss a lot of school due to this condition and will work to minimize the number of days missed due to the identification of head lice.