Experts Warn Parents About Emergency of Super Lice
Infestations of head lice are fairly common among school-aged children. Upon contracting these parasites, the lice are then transmitted to other members of the household. Although lice do not transmit diseases, they can indirectly cause bacterial infection as a result of scratching.
As if this were not enough to cause some parents to worry, researchers from the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville have reported the presence of a new strain of lice called super lice in 25 states.
What makes these lice different?
Super lice are essentially the same as their normal counterparts. They also live on human hair and feed on blood drawn from the scalp. In terms of appearance and behavior, there is no noticeable difference.
What researchers have discovered is that this strain of lice has a high amount of resistance to pyrethroids, a family of chemicals that is commonly found in over-the-counter treatments for lice infestation. Several countries around the world, including those in Europe, have stopped using these chemicals. In fact, only a handful of countries, including the United States and Canada, still use over-the-counter treatment products containing pyrethroids. According to the American Chemical Society, this new strain of lice has undergone a genetic mutation that has allowed it to be resilient against pyrethroids.
Discovering a new strain of lice
Earlier in 2014, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst reported that they have found another strain of lice that is resistant to the chemicals that are commonly used to treat infestations.
Although many countries in the world have stopped using pyrethroids, the American Academy of Pediatrics still recommends the use of these chemicals unless super lice have been detected in your area. According to these experts, it is crucial to follow the instructions of over-the-counter treatment products. Failing to closely follow the manufacturer’s instructions can undermine the efficacy of the product. The use of these products should then be supplemented with wet combing and the removal of nits.
If these products do not work or if you live in an area where this new strain of lice has been detected, you should consult a doctor. Your doctor may prescribe a different treatment which may work on mutated lice.
Parents should also discourage their children from sharing hats and combs with their peers as head lice can be easily transmitted through these. It is also advisable to constantly check your child’s hair even if he or she is not complaining about itchiness. If you are struggling with a lice situation, call the pest control specialists at AAI Pest Control.