School and health officials tackle lice in the Valley - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

School and health officials tackle lice in the Valley

School and health officials tackle lice in the Valley (Source: WTVM) School and health officials tackle lice in the Valley (Source: WTVM)
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Itchy scalps and big headaches are in store for millions of children and their parents each year, including in the Valley as "super lice" is a growing concern.

The numbers are in and they're not looking good. Health officials say up to 12 million kids will be infested with lice each year in the U.S., with up to 24 million resulting lost school days.

"Usually you can try over the counter treatments, there's quite a few available, and if that doesn't seem to work then you'll probably want to check with your health care provider," said Pamela Kirkland with the Columbus Public Health Department.

Now, typical treatment resistant lice many are calling "super lice" could lengthen the treatment process. Health experts in Columbus add that cold weather can sometimes contribute to the infestations.

"Children might be spreading it by sharing hats and scarves and things like that," said Kirkland.

Despite the troubling stats, Muscogee County school officials say they have protocol to handle all cases that spring up.

"It is quite a process, they have to treat the head, they have to check all the family members, make sure no one else in the family has it, you also have to treat the environment," said Darlene Shirley, lead nurse with the Muscogee County School District.

Kids must stay home from school from the first sign of lice, until treatment is complete.

"You have to bring your child to the school, and then they will be checked before you're allowed to enter," said Shirley, "It's a way to protect the other children."

Experts say prevention is key, saying you should talk to you children about not sharing hats, brushes, anything that touches your head, as well as perform regular head checks.

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