As parents, school administrators and teachers know, head lice is one of the health troubles that seems to come with elementary school age children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that there are between 6 and 12 million cases of head lice in school children under age 12 each year. For a while, we had a handle on it — or so we thought. But the big story these days is that head lice is getting worse in central Ohio. Here’s why & how to stop it. Read on for some different ways to accomplish that goal.
Yes, you read that right. Super-lice. Unfortunately, resistant lice has been happening since the 1990s in the US, Australia, and Europe. If you haven’t experienced an increase in treatment resistant lice infestations in your school, you’re lucky. In 2015, the following states confirmed they had treatment resistant lice:
- Alabama Arizona Arkansas
- California Connecticut Florida
- Georgia Illinois Indiana
- Kansas Kentucky Maine
- Maryland Massachusetts Minnesota
- Missouri North Carolina Ohio
- Rhode Island South Carolina Tennessee
- Texas Virginia Washington Wisconsin
If you’re counting, that’s half of the states in the Union! And it gets worse. A study in 48 states by the Journal of Medical Entomology released in the second half of 2016 found that 98% of the head lice studied in 42 states were 100% treatment resistant. The treatment resistant lice had gene mutations that made them resistant to three types of insecticides: pyrethrins, pyrethroids, permathrins.
History of Insecticides for Lice
The first natural insecticide to kill lice in the US debuted in 1945. It was pyrethrin. By 1980, Nix was the most common over-the-counter insecticide to kill lice and it was almost 100% effective. By 2000, however, Massachusetts and Florida noticed a genetic mutation in lice that resisted treatment with pyrethrin. By 2009, pyrethrin was only 25% effective and by 2015 98% of the lice in 42 states were nearly 100% treatment resistant. That’s a complete turn-about within 15 years.
Parapro.com says that consumers contributed to the rise in treatment resistant lice because 69% admitted they over-used the insecticides and used more than recommended doses to try to increase the effectiveness of the treatments.
Reasons for Spread of Head Lice Generally
Just acting like kids makes children particularly prone to conditions that help spread lice. They not only hug each other more than adults, they also share brushes, combs, hats, and hair accessories. In today’s digital world, kids put their heads together when they share selfie photos and headphones, making it easy for lice to jump from one head to another.
Home Remedies Don’t Work
Google the phrase “head lice solutions” and you’ll find home remedies galore (and probably us, too). The idea is that the substances should suffocate the lice. And they do but live lice are not the only problem. Their eggs are. And the home remedies do not suffocate eggs because the eggs do not breathe. They will just hatch and infest your child’s head. Home remedies include mayonnaise, olive oil (for the natural products), petroleum jelly (a derivative of oil refining), and — if you’re into hazardous materials — even kerosene.
Lice Treatments Other Than Insecticides
There are new chemicals that appear effective against lice infestations but they are more expensive than the over-the-counter shampoos that no longer work. Your child’s pediatrician can give you a prescription if the shampoos do not end the infestation.
Nitpickers Rise Again
If you’ve ever wondered about the origin of the word “nitpicking”, you may find it interesting to learn that some people today prefer to have the nits picked out by hand rather than resorting to more chemicals. It’s a laborious and time-consuming process in which the nitpickers use special combs (or their fingers) to pry the lice from the hair.
To talk more about this topic, or anything else, please contact us. Our professionals are specialists in our exclusive, new medical device which they use to apply just the right of heated air to just the right spots on the head to dehydrate and kill both live lice and their eggs. The FDA approved treatment kills live lice and about 99.2% of the eggs in one 60-90 minute treatment. Best of all, there are no harsh chemicals in the treatment — and no nitpicking.