The National Pediculosis Association Calls for A Critical Review of the Centers for Disease Control's Website Information on Lice

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As public health officials develop guidelines for these challenging times of COVID-19, the NPA wants to minimize head lice as a public health burden when children return to school.

Parents need to know before returning their children to school and other group settings that the health advice they receive is comprehensive and reliable.

The National Pediculosis Association (NPA) is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to promote the health and wellness of children regarding pediculosis (head lice infestation) through consistent public health messaging, community preparedness, cooperation and trust. The NPA appreciates the complexity of these times as the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic affect every area of our lives. As restrictions begin to lift, we are all considering how to resume previous activities as responsibly and safely as possible. In this context, the NPA wants to help minimize pediculosis as an additional public health burden when children return to school, summer camp and other group settings.

To this end, the NPA has reviewed the educational information regarding head lice posted on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website. The CDC website is relied upon by parents, health professionals, school administrators and policy makers as an authoritative source of public health information and guidance. Earlier this month, the NPA submitted a commentary to CDC outlining a number of concerns about its website information on head lice. The NPA letter suggested improvements and offered its assistance in order to make CDC’s guidance more thorough and useful to parents and others.

This is especially important in the COVID-19 era. Parents need to know before returning their children to school and other group settings that the health advice they receive is comprehensive and reliable. Those whose children have chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and allergies, for example, must feel confident that their children’s medical needs will not be overlooked while attention is concentrated on preventing the spread of the virus. In this very challenging environment, pediculosis (itself a prevalent communicable disease) need not become an additional burden and disruption.

The NPA recommends its No Nit Policy as a high standard for educating the community before head lice outbreaks occur, empowering parents to send their children to school free of lice and nits.

The COVID-19 pandemic is presenting a learning experience for all of us. We have choices as to how we move forward. It would be ideal that when children return to school it will be with all the necessary safeguards in place.

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Deborah Altschuler
@TheLiceMeister
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