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More schools changing policies on head lice - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

More schools changing policies on head lice

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Schools across the country are dropping their no-nit lice policies.

This means children with nits, or lice eggs, may be allowed to remain in school.

With this trend of more lenient head lice policies in schools, experts say it's important for parents to be vigilant about head lice checks.

"Three itches in the same spot, you should probably get checked," said Tara Sanchez, delouser at Nit-Picking.

"A louse itself is about the size of an ant but they can go all the way down to the size of a grain of sand," she added.

Sanchez says she's seen a 50-percent increase in the number of heads she's treated from Paso Robles to Santa Maria over the past year, from preschool kids to the elderly.

"People who are going back to school and then coming home a month later with it again because it's just circling through the same community of people as long as we let our kids go to school with lice in their hair," Sanchez continued.

In 2015, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that a healthy child should not be restricted from attending school because of head lice or eggs. It says there's no evidence that sending a child home reduces the spread of lice.

Local school districts, including Lucia Mar and San Luis Coastal, have revised their policies to say that students won't be sent home if they have nits, only if the lice are live.

Whether you agree or not, the lice can be hard to avoid.

"Tea tree oil and water is a great way to keep a nice oil. If you have oil on your hair, the bugs have trouble getting their lice eggs attached," Sanchez added.

If you suspect you might have lice, look for the eggs within 1/16 to a quarter of an inch from your scalp.

"It has nothing to do with hygiene or cleanliness. It's just circumstance," Sanchez concluded.

If you don't remove every nit within 7 to 10 days you can get lice again.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 6 to 12 million school-age children get head lice every year.

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