Be a Hero Against “Super-Lice”

What’s worse than head lice? How about super-lice?

Parents who have signed a child up for summer activities–especially sleep-away camp—need to be on the lookout for this new strain of head lice. This mutant is impervious to traditional treatments.

Head lice are highly contagious. They spread easily from one person to another by close contact and when an infested person shares things like clothes, hats, hairbrushes and combs. They are most common in child care settings and among school-aged children.

For years, several over-the-counter treatments have been successful in defeating these foes of fun. But the pests have mutated to survive the treatments. Now, brands like RID, NIX and their generic versions (with active ingredients of permethrin or Pyrethrin), are powerless against super-lice.

In fact, resistance to these standard therapies is so common that some studies report that 99.6% of super-lice strains can survive them. That means practically all lice these days are super-lice–incredibly tenacious little bugs that are hard to kill off.

Kryptonite for Super-Lice

Thankfully, pharmaceutical companies have developed effective ways to blast these nasties. Prescription-only shampoos like Ulesfia, Sklice and Ovide are among the new treatment choices. They kill super-lice with alternate active ingredients, such as benzoyl alcohol, ivermectin and malathion.

Besides killing adult super-lice, some of the new treatments are ovicidal, which means they also kill the nits (eggs). This eliminates the need to repeat treatment, which is typical of traditional, over-the-counter anti-lice shampoos.

These FDA-approved medicated shampoos are incredibly potent. Misusing or overusing them can be toxic, so consult with a pediatrician before initiating super-lice treatment. Call the Cohen Childrens’ Medical Center Division of General Pediatrics or request an appointment to learn more.

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