PhotoWhen kids head back to school, you can be assured that they will bring home colds and other illnesses at some time during the year. One particularly nasty thing that you hope they don’t bring back is lice. They are horrible, creepy, and you can get itchy just thinking about them.

Because you’ll be in such close contact with your children when they’re home, it is very possible that these pests can spread to you and other members of the family. Taking care of them in the past has not been too difficult; however, this year might be a little different. A new strain of these pesky bugs has been shown to be resistant to the normal over-the-counter treatments that have been used for years. They have been called “super lice”, and researchers have found them in 25 states.

Becoming resistant

Lice and other types of bugs are beginning to build up a resistance to pyrethroids, which are active ingredients in most over-the-counter formulas. Kyong Yoon, who is an assistant professor at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, was part of the team that discovered this new and more powerful strain of insect. He cautions that consumers should be careful of the products they choose to treat head lice. “People using permethrin and pyrethrin based products will probably have a very hard time controlling the lice,” he said.

Pyrethroids have worked in the past by paralyzing head lice so that they couldn’t move. They lock onto the insect’s nervous system and are able to completely disable them. Inevitably, this causes them to die as well. Unfortunately, researchers are finding that lice are becoming more and more resistant to this paralyzing effect.

Possible treatments

So what can you do if your children come home with these little bugs all over their scalps? Who can you call? Ghostbusters might not be up to the task, but nitpickers might do the trick. Nitpicker companies are establishments where you can bring your children to have lice taken care of with a comb treatment. Many people refer to them as “lice salons”. With lice becoming more and more of a problem, you may be able to find one near you. Unfortunately, these businesses are not 100% effective. In fact, many studies show that they can be pretty ineffective depending on the person being treated.

Other more powerful treatments can be an option, but they tend to be pretty pricey. They can cost between $100 and $200 dollars, plus a co-pay to see your doctor for the prescription. But hey, sometimes the price is worth it to know that your child has a clean head of hair. If you can’t afford this level of treatment, then it is still recommended that you try the over-the-counter shampoos and treatments first. If you don’t receive desired results after the first few tries, then be sure to call your pediatrician. 

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