Adopting a school-wide approach and giving every family a head lice treatment kit to use at home drives down primary care costs and saves on staff time, finds European research.
And it ensures that disadvantaged families, among whom rates of head lice infestation have been rising, can easily stamp out the bugs, without fear of stigmatisation as persistent offenders, say the authors.
Their findings are based on a review of five studies carried out in Belgium, Denmark, and the UK by the charity Community Hygiene Concern between 1996 and 2005.
Parents were given a 'bug busting kit' containing special reusable combs and instructions on how to pick up and get rid of head lice using ordinary shampoo and conditioner.
With a little additional educational input and support, most parents were able to bring the infestations under control.
And in Chester, PCT prescribing figures showed that costs for head lice treatment plummeted by 24% in a year.
Journal of Clinical Nursing (2007) 16: 1955-65