Demystifying pediculosis: school nurses taking the lead

Pediatr Nurs. 2014 Sep-Oct;40(5):226-35.


The treatment of Pediculosis capitis, or head lice, is fraught with misinformation, myths, and mismanagement. Common myths include the need to exclude children from school, the need to remove all visible nits ("no-nit" policies), the need for massive environmental cleaning, that head lice live for long periods of time, and that schools are a common location for lice transmission. Head lice are a common childhood nuisance, causing embarrassment and emotional trauma in both children and families. This article explores and challenges the commonly held beliefs about the identification, management, and treatment of Pediculosis by presenting current recommended evidence-based practice. It also challenges pediatric nurses, and school nurses in particular, in alignment with the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) Position Statement on Pediculosis Management in the School Setting, to act as change agents for reasonable and effective school policies and practices.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Child
  • Education, Nursing, Continuing
  • Evidence-Based Nursing / methods*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Lice Infestations / diagnosis
  • Lice Infestations / drug therapy*
  • Lice Infestations / nursing*
  • Lice Infestations / prevention & control
  • Pediatric Nursing / methods*
  • Pediculus
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Scalp Dermatoses / nursing*
  • School Nursing / methods*
  • School Nursing / standards*
  • Schools
  • United States