Super-strains of lice spread to 25 states: CA is on the list
As many parents know, kids are increasingly bringing home some very unwanted guests — head lice. The pesky parasites are now a much worse problem than in years past, with strains resistant to most common treatments found in at least 25 states.
Lice — and other insects — are increasingly becoming resistant to pyrethroids, the active ingredients in most OTC concoctions, according to Kyong Yoon, an assistant professor at Southern Illinois University—Edwardsvillle. Yoon was part of the research team that initially discovered the new ultra-resistant strains, publishing their results in August, 2015.
Yoon and his colleagues wanted to know how widespread these resistant strains were.
"We collected 109 lice populations and 104 had high levels of gene mutations," Yoon reported at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in August.
Pyrethroids, which are synthetic versions of a chemical found in chrysanthemums, lock onto receptors in insect nervous systems, paralyzing the creepy crawlies and eventually killing them.
But over the years, Yoon said, lice have evolved in such a way that the chemicals no longer fit neatly into the receptors, thereby squashing the chemical's bug-killing ability.
Ultimately, there's one option that not only avoids making the resistance of these "super-lice" stronger but has been proven to be 99% percent effective at removing lice for good in one treatment (prescription brands are typically in the 80%+ effective range and require multiple applications). Popularized by San Diego based Organic Lice Solutions, the organic, pesticide-free hand-removal technique they utilize is a combination of methodical training, years of experience and exceptionally good eye-sight. By saturating the lice's environment with a specially formulated conditioner then using industry specific nit-removal combs to methodically cleanse every strand of hair, Organic Lice Solution's founder, Jessica Hart, reports stunning results: "We have long been of the mind-state that it was a losing battle to use dangerous chemicals to combat head lice, both for the potential repercussions on the patient and for the fact that insects typically develop resistance to pesticides. This is why we have developed our 'flooding of habitat' method", she explained. "If you take away the lices ability to breathe and remove them from their food supply, then they are done for."
What to make of all this? Well be careful who you bump heads with, and don't feed those pesky critters anything that will make them stronger. Any parent dealing with a lice crisis will tell you, they are already strong enough!
Educated parents are the key to a lice-free family. For more info on how to combat head lice and further expert advice dispelling common misconceptions about how head lice are spread, follow the links below: