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Health Team

'Super lice' invading NC

Posted August 19, 2015

Just in time for the start of the traditional school year, a strain of drug-resistant head lice has spread into North Carolina.

Head lice of all kinds can spread quickly within a classroom, where children share combs and brushes, hats, headsets and earbuds. Even a hug with head contact gives the lice an opportunity to move from child to child.

As many as 12 million school-age kids, mostly between 3 and 11 years of age get lice each year.

The typical treatment is an over-the-counter shampoo containing insecticides called pyrethroids, but the new strain of lice appears to have developed a genetic resistance.

A low-cost treatment is to use a fine-toothed comb to pick out as many lice as possible from a child's head.

For those with longer hair, doctors recommend smothering the lice by massaging mayonnaise onto the scalp, blocking the lice and their eggs from getting air. Cover the head with a shower cap and leave the mayonnaise on overnight.

A doctor can also prescribe a treatment like Ovide for kids over the age of 6.

17 Comments

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  • Mardi Long-Barton Aug 21, 2015
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    Here's my own personal PSA for the start of a new school year:

    This article suggests the old mayo on the head overnight trick, but - believe me - don't count on this, as it did NOT work for this household 5 years ago. And left a horrible mess even covered. What did work was using Cetaphil soap (google to find the treatment steps, very specific and tedious, but worked), and alternated that with coconut oil and anise oil mixture, as well and (cough, cough - hate to say it for curly hair) flat iron, then combing through each section, with a light and magnifying glass for the nits (eggs).
    Horrible situation, I'd never been through growing up. It never spread to me, and the only reason I can surmise is due to using WEN cleanser on my hair, which has rosemary in it - a natural repellent.
    Also, the only "product" designed specifically for lice, that we used which worked, as something you order online, and I HIGHLY recommend it. It is called "ClearLice", and WORKS! They have the shampo

  • Roy Hinkley Aug 20, 2015
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    Don't waste your time, he refuses to learn.

  • Matt Wood Aug 20, 2015
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    You have no clue what you're talking about. "Warm and moist" has NOTHING to do with whether genetic mutations occur.

  • Sean Creasy Aug 20, 2015
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    The problem with your statement is that most illegals here aren't from Mexico but much further south such as El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, etc...

  • Susan West Aug 20, 2015
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    I don't know about head lice, but if you're blaming these things on Mexican immigrants, Mexico has the same vaccine schedule as our country, they're free, they have a higher compliance rate, and a lower incident rate. Check out the WHO site for more information.

  • Roy Hinkley Aug 20, 2015
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    Wow, you really just can't see past your disdain. You should research this topic some more.

  • Sean Creasy Aug 20, 2015
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    And just what geographic area do you think provides a "perfect climate" for genetic mutations to thrive? Warm and moist where personal hygiene isn't a high priority... Also areas where having head lice is abundant and people are treating themselves in mass numbers on a regular basis ,hence the genetic mutation that is resistant to normal treatment..... Just a hint: that's not around here!!!

  • Roy Hinkley Aug 20, 2015
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    Your suspicion is unfounded. The latest information indicates the super lice have genetic mutations that provide resistance to OTC treatments. Scientists believe the mutations are a result of overuse of OTC treatments which provided an opportunity for the lice to adapt.

  • Solomon Mcdonald Aug 20, 2015
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    The last case of smallpox was reported in Somalia in 1977. The last case in the US Was IN 1949. I'm pretty sure Obama was not invokved

  • Susan West Aug 20, 2015
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    Almost two years ago our family picked up lice in an international trip ( and pneumonia and an intestinal parasite, but that's another story ). I have extremely long and thick hair and two chemical RID treatments did not work. What ultimately worked was using vinegar to loosen the eggs and combing everyday with that lice comb and olive oil. I really think patience is the key.

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