Super Lice. Is it real or just hype?

The recent study by the University of Illinois has created quite a bit of controversy. As a person who has had at least 18 years of experience dealing with head lice, I do not think the findings are particularly surprising or new. The study confirmed something I realized a long time ago. The synthetic pyrethroid products are ineffective. The product Nix and the prescription strength 5% topical product do not work to kill head lice or their eggs. The product Rid contains the true pyrethrum extract from chrysanthemums, and is still effective in most cases, but not in the “10 minutes no longer” that is cautioned in the instructions.
The “super lice” may be a true mutation that means some infestations will be less responsive to some treatments, but not every infestation is in fact “super lice“. There is so much unreliable and harmful information that is being included in the articles that are circulating about the super lice. In one article, a supposed expert is recommending people sleep in the OTC products with a shower cap. I guess she has not heard of the 2 year old who suffocated because the shower cap slid over her face in the night. And another expert actually suggested that nit picking and combing is ineffective.
I have learned over the years that proper application of any product, and an additional 20 minutes of wait time, greatly improves the efficacy of any treatment. And I have found that the nit removal process is the only way to be sure that complete eradication is achieved.
Finally, I find it most disturbing that the country is alarmed to hear that the parasite has mutated and become harder to deal with, and the American Academy of Pediatrics has created new guidelines which promote children attending school with active infestations. Head lice may not lead to any other serious health issues, but there are many families and individuals who are struggling with issues which make an infestation of head lice a problem of astounding proportions. I have personally assisted mothers who are paraplegics, fathers in stage 4 lung cancer, teenagers with severe autism, and children with various problems from down syndrome to aspergers to cerebral palsy. These families have the right to send there children to school without the threat of being infected with a “nuisance parasite”.

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