Lice that are resistant to most over-the-counter treatments have now been detected in approximately half of the U.S.
Pyrethroids used to be 100 percent effective against head lice, but now only work in approximately 25 percent of cases, according to KSDK. Pyrethroids are a type of incesticide that include a chemical also used in many lice treatments widely recommended by doctors and schools and available in most drug stores.
Attack of the super lice!
The resistant cases, known as “super lice,” can be treated by a new FDA-approved treatment that uses heated air and dehydrates the lice in just one session, but it is expensive, costing about $170. The treatment may be covered by insurance.
Lice experts told KSDK that the best way to deal with super lice is to vacuum thoroughly and wash bedding in hot water. Worn clothing can also be washed and dried on a hot setting to kill the pests. Stuffed toys can be sanitized by placing them in a hot dryer for 20 to 30 minutes.
As for prevention, experts recommend not sharing items such as hair brushes, combs and hats. Children should be taught not to touch other people’s hair or heads.
A map of states where super lice have been detected is available from the American Chemical Society.
The good news…
‘If you use a chemical over and over, these little creatures will eventually develop resistance,’ researcher Kyong Yoon says. ‘So we have to think before we use a treatment. The good news is head lice don’t carry disease. They’re more a nuisance than anything else.’