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AAP updates guidelines for head lice

In a recent report, the American Academy of Pediatrics offered updated guidance for treating and managing head lice.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has updated their guidelines on the diagnosis and treatmentof head lice for the first time since 2015, bringing attention to the stigma and psychological stress surrounding the condition.

“Head lice are an unpleasant part of the human experience, but they can be successfully managed and are no reason for a child to miss school,” said Dawn Nolt, MD, MPH, FAAP, lead author of the report “Head Lice”, which was published in the October 2022 edition of Pediatrics.

New medications to treat head lice and a guide for management are written in the report. Nolt encouraged pediatricians to help families, school districts, and communities to allow treatment of head lice to take place without stigma.

Head lice is often treated with topical agents, such as shampoos, lotions and other Food and Drug Administration-approved products that contain pyrethroids. However, there are others forms of treatment which the AAP outlines in their report. 

The AAP discouraged head lice screening programs in schools which have not been associated with significant effects, are not cost effective, and may lead to stigma surrounding head lice. Instead, the AAP recommended schools offer educational programs that can help families understand and manage head lice in their community.

Treatments should be safe and age appropriate, along with being affordable and quickly able to remove live lice and nits, according to the AAP. They encouraged parents to call their pediatrician for proper diagnosis and product use.

Reference

American Academy of Pediatrics updates report on controlling and treating head lice in children, adolescents. American Academy of Pediatrics. September 26, 2022. Accessed September 23, 2022. https://www.aap.org/en/news-room/news-releases/aap/2022/american-academy-of-pediatrics-updates-report-on-controlling-and-treating-head-lice-in-children-adolescents/