Super Lice, What Parents Need To Know
Iowa is one of 42 states where so-called super lice have been reported, according to a study in the Journal of Medical Entomology.
Super lice look and act like normal lice but have become resistant to some lice treatment products.
First, understand that lice are extremely common especially among pre-school children at daycares and elementary school children. An estimated 6- 12 million infestations happen each year in the United States among children age 3-11.
Personal hygiene or cleanliness in the home or school has nothing to do with getting head lice.
WHAT THEY ARE:
Lice, normal or super, spread by head-to-head contact, and much less commonly, through contact with clothing like scarves and hats.
The Iowa Department of Public Health said super lice live less than two days if they fall off a person and the eggs called nits will die if they are not kept at the same temperatures as that found close to the scalp.
TREATING YOUR KIDS:
A 14-day treatment schedule is recommended, see the link to the online guide below.
Iowa Health officials recommend carefully follow instruction for the treatment product. Some products require a second treatment. Also, don’t use hair conditions because they can act as a barrier to the treatments.
Over-the-counter treatments should be tried first. If you child has super lice then prescription treatment may be needed if the lice persist.
Officials said sometimes reshampooing the hair too soon like less than 2 days after correctly applying and removing permethin can lead to infestation.
TREATING YOUR HOME:
Parents should machine wash and dry clothing, bed linens, and other items that an infested person wore or used during the two days before treatment using the hot water at 130°F and high heat drying cycle.
Clothing and items that are not washable can be dry-cleaned OR sealed in a plastic bag and stored for two weeks.
Vacuum the floor and furniture, particularly where the infested person sat or lay. Spending a lot of time and money on housecleaning activities is not necessary.
Officials recommend not using fumigant sprays or fogs because they are not necessary and can be toxic if inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
Brochures from the Iowa Department of Public Health about head lice and treatment: