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Texas Senate Passes New Lice Law for Public Schools

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Texas just passed a new law (Senate Bill 1566) which requires public schools to notify parents within five days if a student in their child’s class has a confirmed case of head lice. The school may not identify the child with head lice but the notice must include recommendations to treat and prevent head lice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The law requires schools to notify parents of the affected child within 48 hours once a nurse or administrator determines or becomes aware that the child has head lice.  

Spread by Close Person-to-Person Contact

lice

Photo: Flickr/Gilles San Martin

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), head lice are roughly 2-3 millimeters long. They infest the head and neck and attach their eggs to the base of the hair shaft. Contrary to popular belief, lice move by crawling; they cannot hop or fly. Head lice infestation, or pediculosis, is spread most commonly by close person-to-person contact. Dogs, cats, and other pets do not play a role in the transmission of human lice. The CDC also says that, in the United States, infestation with head lice is much less common among African-Americans than among persons of other races, possibly because the claws of the of the head louse found most frequently in the United States are better adapted for grasping the shape and width of the hair shaft of other races.

Home Remedies Aren’t Usually Effective

lice treatment
Photo: Facebook/Mississauga News

To treat head lice, experts recommend that all household members and other close contacts should be checked; those persons with evidence of an active infestation should be treated. Experts believe prophylactic treatment is prudent for persons who share the same bed with actively-infested individuals. All persons with an infestation (household members and close contacts) and their bedmates should be treated at the same time. Additionally, all affected bedding, clothing, soft toys should be fully laundered and rugs, carpets, and furniture should be vacuumed in the wake of a lice diagnosis.

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