BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Super Lice, the mutated pest with the potential to shut down Alabama schools. It sounds like a villain in the next Marvel movie, right?
In reality, 25 states, including Alabama, have recently discovered they are home to the minuscule blood-suckers, which have developed resistance to traditional over-the-counter treatments. Just in time for the new school year.
It’s kind of alarming,” said Dr. Kyong Sup Yoon, who conducted the study which discovered the mutated lice. “A ton of products are not working.”
Yoon said that the mutation is similar to how some microbes become resistant to antibiotics. When a medicine (Permethrin, in the case of head lice) becomes overused, the species simply develops immunity to it.
“Permethrin is a great chemical because it’s very safe to use on humans,” said the researcher, “but we lost it because of the lack of resistance management.”
Dr. Yoon said that using traditional, over-the-counter remedies are likely to be a waste of money against the bug. Instead, contact your doctor for something prescription strength.
Debbie Busdiecker, who oversees school health for an Ohio Board of Health, says the most effective way to get rid of them is by picking them out of your child’s hair. One by one.
Still stumped? Here are a few more ways she suggests eradicating the pests:
– Avoid the chemicals and look for products that work by dissolving the lice’s waxy exoskeleton.
– Use a lice comb to remove eggs before they hatch.
– When you clean the house, anything that can be put into the dryer should go in for a half-hour; anything that can’t should be sealed in a garbage bag for two days.
(H/T WAFF 48)
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— Elizabeth BeShears (@LizEBeesh) January 21, 2015