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NEEDHAM, Mass. -- Each year, the National Pediculosis Association (NPA) sponsors the All Out Comb Out, NPA's national head lice prevention campaign for back-to-school. NPAs message is to learn what to look for, and check the children for head lice and nits regularly.
Early detection with thorough manual removal of lice and nits is the best approach to managing these blood-sucking human parasites, especially since there is no totally safe and effective chemical treatment available.
The goal of the campaign is to remind communities that pediculosis (head lice) is a communicable disease affecting children across the nation. The NPA encourages everyone to be proactive and preventive, emphasizing the importance of early intervention and how it works to protect children from unnecessary exposure to potentially harmful pesticide shampoos and sprays.
Information about this important public health issue is available at www.headlice.org, along with answers to frequently asked questions and the availability of non-chemical treatment alternatives. Because knowing what to look for is key, the NPA offers parents and school officials a free Critter Card, which provides images of lice as one would expect to see them along with pictures to help differentiate nits from normal hair debris such as dandruff. Go to: http://www.headlice.org/special/critcard.htm
Back-to-school signals a new beginning -- an excellent time to educate parents, children and the community about head lice. Parents need to understand the communicability of head lice before outbreaks occur, how to make an accurate identification and how to remove head lice and nits from their children in the safest and most effective way.
Armed with this knowledge, parents will avoid the dreaded call from school when someone else was first to notice their child was infested. Families and classmates will avoid the disruption that occurs when there is no public health prevention standard in place.
School systems, child care centers, hospital clinics, health departments, camps, professional organizations, hair salons, HMOs, school nurses, parents, physicians, pharmacists, and thousands of individuals work cooperatively to keep head lice prevention going strong each September and every month thereafter.