Cases of "super lice" on the rise

Updated: Wednesday, January 29 2014, 07:28 AM EST
Cases of "super lice" on the rise story image

Dr. Elizabeth Arthur, board certified dermatologist at Helendale Dermatology & Medical Spa, explains how a new breed of treatment resistant lice is going around in schools this year. 

Today's bugs are getting harder to eradicate because they have grown resistant to traditional medicines, earning the name "super lice."

If your child has an itchy, red scalp, inspect the hair close to the scalp for any signs of lice or eggs.

The most common treatments for head lice are over-the-counter shampoos and cream rinses that include a pesticide. Two treatments, a week apart, will get rid of contagious lice and any eggs hatched in the hair followed by combing out any remaining nits. It’s also essential that people wash their bedding and clothes in order to prevent spreading and reoccurrence.

There are some home remedies. The goal of the treatment is to smother the bugs and to get rid of the eggs or nits. One solution: put mayonnaise or coconut oil combined with geranium essential oil on the head for about 2 to 4 hours, comb it through and wash hair.

If both over-the-counter products and home remedies are ineffective Dr. Arthur recommends getting a prescription strength product from a physician.

The resistant pests have developed a harder exoskeleton and lays eggs at different times so they are not easily killed by an over-the-counter lice shampoo. Physicians can prescribe stronger medications to resistant cases. More powerful medications can be highly flammable and may cause scalp irritation. It’s not something to try as a first line of treatment. 

Cases of "super lice" on the rise
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