Do you remember when a kid in school got head lice? Maybe it was you. Well, if it happens to your family, you'd better get ready because chances are you will be dealing with the dreaded "Super Lice." While it sounds like something in a Sci-Fi movie, these hard-to-kill little buggers are spreading.
Some doctors thought parents simply weren't following the directions on over-the-counter treatments, but it turns out that evolution has made these head-itchers harder to kill. A Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville study found "Super Lice" in 42 out of 48 states have developed a receptor mutation that makes it harder for the pyrethroids found in OTC treatments to lock on.
The Journal of Entomology just released research that found 100 percent of lice in a study were resistant to the active ingredient found in the most common OTC treatments. Nurse practitioner Wendy Wright says that when you get the dreaded note from school, you should contact your doctor. When it comes to treatment, there is good news and bad news. The good news is you don't need to spend hours nit-picking. The bad news is that it's because studies have shown it doesn't work. The same is true for olive oil and mayonnaise home remedies. The best these can do is smother the lice, but that is only if you lay it on very thickly.
Prescription and non-pyrethroid OTC treatments still seem to be working when it comes to getting rid of lice. Doctors are now suggesting parents try a double dose and if the head lice are still around, give them a call.
When nits have you at your wits end, it may be time to call on the professionals. Check for a clinic or "salon" in your area that specializes in chemical-free lice removal. Some will even come to your home to help you get control of the lice situation and offer free follow-up head checks to make sure you (or your kids) stay nit-free.