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“Super” Lice on the Rise: What You Need to Know

2010 07 25 Nice Lice Family

As if regular lice weren’t already on a parent’s list of nightmarish situations, mutant lice are now invading schools across the U.S. When it comes to pest control, Washington is the first states in the Northwest to deal with “super” lice. This means that the lice developed genes that protect them against permethrin, or pyrethroid, the ingredient in lice-controlling treatments. Oregon pest control experts share that it’s only a matter of time before super lice make their way across state lines as they show some levels of resistance to permethrin.

How Did This Happen?

The repeated use of permethrin to combat head lice led the parasites to develop genes mutations that resist the toxin.

What to Do

If your child has lice, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend using over-the-counter lice treatments first, along with other traditional treatment methods, such as combing wet hair to remove eggs. If those don’t work, doctors may prescribe medication or lotion.

Some people are taking a more green approach by visiting a professional who uses the Food and Drug Administration-approved AirAlle method. This method uses a special hair dryer that dries out lice and their eggs, followed by hair combing and special rinse.

Signs of Lice

If a child is not allergic to lice saliva, they may not scratch their head when infested. The best way to determine if your child has lice is with regular scalp inspections. If lice are present, you’ll see adult lice on the scalp and sometimes the eyebrows and eyelashes. Use a magnifying glass to look for tiny yellow, gray or brown oval-shaped eggs on hair shafts.

Pest Control for Schools and Homes

Integrated pest management (IPM) is the best form of lice pest control for schools and homes. IPM includes techniques, such as:

  • Regularly vacuuming
  • Not using carpeting or rugs in a classroom
  • Washing clothes and bedding in hot water to kill lice
  • Placing non-washable items in a plastic bag and then in the freezer for at least 10 hours
  • Not allowing children with lice to go to school
  • Giving each student a separate cubby or locker for their garments
  • Teach children to not share items, such as hats, combs, hair ties and similar items

If someone in your family has lice, talk to a physician about the best way to manage the infestation. To prevent and control lice in schools, use Eden’s integrated pest management services. Contact Eden today to learn more.

[Photo by: Mister-Mastro via CC License]

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