Newsroom > DHHS News Release

For Immediate Release
August 3, 2017

Leah Bucco-White, Communications and Legislative Services, 402-471-9356

NOTE TO EDITORS: This is the final news release in the DHHS back-to-school series. 

Back-to-School Health – Vaccinations, Head Lice Prevention

Part Four of the DHHS Back-to-School Series

Lincoln – The bell rings in the coming weeks and it’s back to school for Nebraska students.  Back to school is an opportunity to check with your child’s physician to find out what vaccines he or she may need. Getting children all of the recommended vaccines is one of the most important things parents can do to protect them from serious diseases, according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

Elementary School - Nebraska law requires children enrolling in kindergarten or first grade (depending on their school district’s entering grade) and transfer students of any grade to have proof that they’ve received the following vaccinations:

  • three doses of hepatitis B vaccine
  • three doses of diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine (DTaP)
  • three doses of poliovirus vaccine (IPV)
  • two doses of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR)
  • two doses of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine

Middle School/Junior High - Children entering seventh grade and transfer students (seventh grade or above) must have received all of the vaccinations listed above, as well as one booster dose of tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccine.

A single dose of meningococcal vaccine is also recommended at age 11 or 12.

If boys or girls (age 11 or 12) have not received the human papillomavirus vaccine, this is a good time to discuss the benefits of receiving this vaccination with your child’s health care provider.  The HPV vaccine prevents various forms of cancer.

College – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends meningococcal vaccine for first-year college students living in residence halls. College freshmen, particularly those who live in residence halls, are at an increased risk for meningococcal disease according to the CDC. The vaccine can help prevent serious illnesses like bacterial meningitis. College freshmen and their parents should discuss vaccination with their health care providers.

Child Care/Pre-K - Children enrolled in licensed child care and school-based pre-K programs also need to be up-to-date with their age-appropriate immunizations.

For more vaccination information, please contact DHHS’ Immunization Program at 402-471-6423 or email or visit the website at
If a child’s health care provider is part of our Nebraska State Immunization Information System, parents can review and print off immunization records online - A list of participating providers is here -

Head Lice

Head lice. They do not carry disease but they do have a certain “ick” factor. Lice are reddish-brown wingless insects; lice eggs, or nits, are grayish-white, oval-shaped and attach at an angle to the side of the hair shaft. 
An estimated 6 to 12 million cases of head lice infestation occur each year in the U.S. in children 3 to 11 years of age, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Head lice are usually spread by direct contact with the hair of an infested person. The most common treatment is over-the-counter medications and in some instances prescription medication.

Tips to help prevent and control the spread of head lice:

  • Check your children’s heads for lice regularly and watch for signs, like frequent head scratching.
  • Avoid head-to-head (hair-to-hair) contact during play and other activities at home, school, and elsewhere (sports activities, playground, slumber parties, camp, etc).
  • Do not share personal belongings like hats, scarves, coats, uniforms, combs, brushes, hair accessories, and headphones.
  • Do not lie on beds, couches, pillows, carpets, or stuffed animals that have recently been in contact with a person who has head lice.
  • Machine wash and dry clothing, bedding, and other items of anyone being treated for lice. Use hot water (130°F) and the high heat drying cycle. Clothing and items that are not washable can be dry-cleaned or sealed in a plastic bag for two weeks.
  • Vacuum the floor and furniture. However, spending much time and money on housecleaning activities is not necessary to avoid reinfestation by lice or nits that may have fallen off the head or crawled onto furniture or clothing.
  • Do not use fumigant sprays or fogs; they are not necessary to control head lice and can be toxic if inhaled or absorbed through the skin.