Tips on treating, preventing head lice this school year

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kids are carrying new backpacks and lunch boxes to school, but the Health Department wants to make sure they're not carrying any nuisances along with them, like head lice, those little insects that burrow into the scalp and spread quickly.

Statewide policy in Missouri no longer requires school nurses to check every student for lice.

St. Joseph School District Health Services Coordinator Maria Burnham says just check your hair and see how things are looking not only at the beginning of school but every couple weeks just to be safe.  If lice are found, the Health Department recommends treatment with over-the-counter drugs, even home remedies including mayonnaise can help. Mayonnaise suffocates the insects.

Head lice cases are reported to the Health Department so the numbers are difficult to track but the CDC estimates that six to 12 million infestations occur every year in children ages 3 to 11 .

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