Researchers found head lice that is becoming resistant to over-the-counter treatments. It is dubbed “super lice,” and experts say it's spreading as school is starting back up again.
They gathered lice samples from 30 states, and found 25 states are currently affected, including Tennessee and Arkansas.
“We are the first group to collect lice samples from a large number of populations across the U.S.," says Kyong Yoon, Ph.D.
Dr. Yoon says out of 109 lice populations tested, 104 had high levels of gene mutations, which have been linked to resistance to pyrethroids.
Pyrethroids, Dr. Yoons says, are a family of insecticides used to control mosquitoes and other insects. It includes permethrin, which is the active ingredient in some common lice treatments sold over the counter.
Health experts say the best way to fight lice is to pick the knits out with your fingers.
They say if one person in a household has head lice, it's important not to treat the whole family, because if people without lice are treated, they could become resistant to that shampoo.
Experts say schools are not responsible for cleaning up or reporting cases.
It's not a communicable disease and the bugs don't carry disease, so it's not required to be reported to the health department.
Experts say the good news is head lice is more of a nuisance than a real health threat.
The original report was published by the American Chemical Society.
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