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By Dr. Mallika Marshall, WBZ-TVBy Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – A leading group of pediatricians is issuing new guidelines on the treatment and management of head lice.

Lice do not carry disease and aren’t dangerous. However, most schools require that kids be free of lice and free of nits (lice eggs) before returning to class.

Now the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is saying children should not miss school just because they have lice, pointing to the fact that lice usually don’t spread between kids simply because they’re in the same classroom.

That’s because lice don’t jump, they crawl, so it really takes head-to-head contact to get them.

The AAP also says that routine screenings at schools are really not helpful. That said, parents should regularly check their own kids for head lice and that school nurses should check children who have symptoms, usually an itchy scalp.

The Academy also says that over-the-counter-medications are reasonable to try and should be used at least twice, nine days apart. In some cases, where lice have become resistant, prescription medications can be offered.

While home remedies, like mayonnaise and petroleum jelly shampoos have not been shown to be effective, old fashioned combing through a child’s hair and removing lice one nit at a time is still recommended.

There are nit combs to help with this tedious task and even dedicated “nit pickers” who will do it for you.

For more information about lice, click here.

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