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COMBFIRST! Giving Children a Voice and Parents a Choice on Head Lice

Newton, MA August 27, 2013. National Pediculosis Association Sponsors the 28th Annual Head Lice Prevention Campaign

CombFirst! is the National Pediculosis Association’s (NPA) 28th annual back-to-school National Head Lice Prevention Campaign. The National Pediculosis Association®, Inc. (NPA) is a 501 c 3 non-profit volunteer organization, including scientific advisors. Initiated in 1985 with House Joint Resolution 223, September kicks off NPA’s educational campaign to last the whole year long.

Celebrating 30 years of service, the NPA works to give children a voice and parents a choice in protecting entire families from pesticides marketed as treatments for head lice. Pediculosis, the medical term for lice, has become an unfortunate yet predictable part of raising children today. What are lice? Head lice are little human parasites that feed on blood and move easily from one person to another.

The NPA urges communities to be informed and prepared before lice outbreaks occur. Knowing that many go back to school in August, the NPA is offering these tips before formally kicking off September‘s CombFirst! Campaign.

1. Know how to accurately identify head lice and their eggs (nits) in advance of outbreaks. Those who make it part of routine grooming can take control of head lice rather than the other way around.

2. Strive to be first to detect lice and eggs in your child’s hair. This is the way to avoid the dreaded “Your child has lice” phone call from school. While certainly important and helpful to be notified, it can be uncomfortable for a parent to learn that someone else noticed their child had bugs before they did.

3. Screen regularly with a quality lice and nit removal comb. Remember to check yourself and all members of your family. Quality combs can detect what you can miss with a visual examination. Be aware that lice combs can vary greatly in helpfulness. So choose carefully.

4. COMBFIRST! NPA developed and recommends the LiceMeister® comb. It’s the gold standard medical device for lice and nit removal known around the world. Proceeds from the LiceMeister® comb allow the NPA to be self-sustaining and accomplish its mission.

5. There’s never a need to miss school when parents are first to identify and thoroughly remove head lice and nits early when there are fewer of them.

The emphasis of NPA’s work is to protect children and give them a voice. The goal is to get rid of lice safely and effectively by removing them rather than worrying about how to kill lice. The NPA wants the question “What are nits?” answered before a parent finds them in a child’s hair. http://www.headlice.org/faq/notnit.htm.

While pediculosis is categorized as a communicable disease in itself, many may not appreciate the ability of lice to carry disease causing organisms. This said, the greatest daily health concern for children is the treatment. The NPA offers a list of reasons to help parents better understand the need for a non-chemical choice and that thorough manual removal is a treatment for lice that is not only the bottom line but is safe, cost-effective, practical, realistic and available. http://www.headlice.org/downloads/whynonchem.pdf.

Joanie Austin, School Nurse and District Coordinator of school health services in northeastern Vermont says the head louse’s greatest friend is ignorance.

Nurse Joanie abides by the wisdom of Maya Angelou who said: “When you know better, you do better." Joanie continues: "We have had many years of success with our proactive No Nit Policy because it relies upon a well-informed parent population and a community approach. This is the best way we know to protect the children and eliminate parental surprise, panic and risky responses." http://www.headlice.org/downloads/nonitpolicy.htm.

Many communities have unfortunately changed their policies from a prevention-based to a treatment-based approach. This makes the NPA’s 2013-2014 campaign more important than ever. CombFirst! “Because it’s not about lice, it’s about kids.”


The National Pediculosis Association®, Inc. (NPA) is a 501 c 3 non-profit volunteer organization, including scientific advisors dedicated to protecting children and their environment from the misuse and abuse of prescription and over-the-counter pesticide treatments for lice and scabies. Proceeds from the LiceMeister® comb allow the NPA to be self-sustaining and accomplish its mission.

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