Nobody Panic, but Super Lice Exist

Doctors are spotting a harder-to-get-rid-of strain of lice in kids. Here's what you need to know

We thought “lice” was pretty much our least favorite word, but it’s been bumped to #2 on the list in favor of (omg) “super lice.” According to CBS Pittsburgh, there’s a new strain of louse going around that’s resistant to many of the usual treatments. A local dermatology practice sees about 10 cases of super lice a month, reports the local affiliate. It turns out that lice, over time, can develop defenses against many of the methods we have to fight them, leaving only powerful pesticides to combat them, which can carry risks for kids who use them -- which kind of sounds like the plot of a scary science fiction movie.

As many as 12 million American kids contract lice each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Translation:It’s gonna happen to you at some point, so listen up. Treatment options range from home remedies like coating hair with conditioner and combing out, to powerful and controversial Lindane, which, according to the FDA, carries a risk of seizure.

If your kid comes down with lice, don’t immediately pull out the big guns. There’s no harm in trying gentle home remedies like mayonnaise or tea tree oil first. You can also opt for over-the-counter medicated shampoos and sprays like Nix containing permethrin, according to CBS-Pittsburgh. And while it's very time-consuming, you can also comb them out manually or (more expensive) pay someone to do it for you.

But if you can’t shake the little buggers, it’s time to ask your pediatrician about other treatment options, which might include prescription Sklice, or AirAlle (formerly known as LouseBuster), a heat device available at some salons. Both, according to Yahoo News, have been shown to be very effective even against stubborn cases.

There’s also the totally old-school Rx-free solution: shave your kid’s head!

Mom of two Sasha Emmons is a writer and editor. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

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