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Got Lice? Who cares!

Lice. Those nasty, hard to kill, infectious little creatures haunted your elementary school days. The memory alone must be making you genuflect for a match book to burn those suckers. Well, you might want to calm down. Richard J. Pollack, a research associate with the Harvard School of Public Health, says that head lice (Pediculus capitis) just aren't that big of a deal. And your elementary school principal, well he is probably among the ranks of school administrators nation-wide who overreact about these harmless creatures. FlyBy picked his brain yesterday (pun intended) about this bold assertion. Pollack estimated that on average there is one child absent from school from every elementary school in the country everyday due to the diagnosis or misdiagnosis of head lice. "Oh and I think that's conservative," he said. Pollack, who said he and his colleagues have screened over 10,000 school-children, characterized most of what people hear about the creatures, which live in the human head, as bunk. “As far as I can tell head lice does not impart any advantage to a child. There might be who knows," Pollack said (emphasis added). While he conceded it is "wild speculation" to suggest the head lice may be beneficial, he strongly emphasized the absence of any demonstrated health risks associated with head lice. So call up your teacher who embarrassed you in front of your 3rd grade class and tell him how wrong he was. Follow the jump to find out the facts surrounding head lice and to learn more about them than you ever expected to find interesting.

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