Scientists have reported that so-called super lice have invaded 25 states so far, including New York and New Jersey posing serious threat to kids as they return to school. In fact, Kyong Yoon, Ph.D., a Southern Illinois University researcher, stated that she and fellow researchers found “that 104 out of the 109 lice populations tested had high levels of gene mutations,” which have been linked to resistance to pyrethoid insecticides normally used to treat both kids and adults who become infested. According to the CDC, the most likely group to get head lice are children ages 3-11 year old. While the mutant lice are still treatable, it is important for parents to know that the prescription medication used to combat them acts differently than the OTC solutions they may have used in the past.
To check whether anyone in your household has lice, the American Academy of Dermatology suggests that you wet the hair and then separate the strands using either a special lice comb or fine-toothed comb, while shining a light on the scalp. The most common places where the bugs hide are generally around the nape of the neck and ears. Adults will resemble fast moving sesame seeds, while nits (or eggs) will range in color from yellow to brown, and will be more difficult to remove.
To treat head lice at home, first try OTC shampoos, since not all cases may be the mutant bugs. Remember, these products should only be applied to fully clothed patients, and should not be used in bath or shower. Also be sure to follow the directions on the bottle very carefully. Wait about 8-12 hours after treatment. Before checking the hair again. If the lice seem as active as they were before the treatment, the medicine may not be working. Do not reapply, but call your doctor or dermatologist for more information.
Remember, it is just as important to treat your home as well as the patient once lice are detected. This includes soaking combs and brushes that a person with head lice used. in hot water, 130° Fahrenheit or hotter, at least 10 minutes. In addition, wash all sheets, pillowcases, clothes, blankets, and towels that may have touched their heads within the past 2-days in the washing machine using hot water, and then dry all using the hottest setting your dryer has for at least 10 minutes as well. For items such as pillows and stuffed animals that cannot be washing in your machine, place them in the dryer (again at the hottest setting) for anywhere from 20 minutes to a half hour. Other items that will probably need to be disinfected also include helmets, hats, hair accessories and earphones, etc.