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Super Lice In Northeast Ohio

At the start of the current school year, school districts, day care centers and parents continued to express concern about a strain of lice that has apparently become resistant to the usual over-the-counter treatments used to eradicate the bug. Referred to as super lice, studies were indicating as of August 2016 that the resistant strain had made its way into every state except Alaska. Local health officials, however, have stressed the need to be aware, but not to panic.

What is Lice?

Head lice are parasites, meaning they must have a human host to survive. You cannot get them from a dog, cat, or any other pet. Lice do not jump or fly, and are transferred only by direct contact.

A person’s likelihood of catching head lice is not connected to or exacerbated by poor hygiene. Children in schools and day care centers are vulnerable because of their close proximity to one another, coats stored side by side, and the tendency to share belongings, such as combs or hair ties. Once a child has developed a case of lice, the difficulty can come with not only treating the child, but also getting rid of the bug in clothing, bedding and throughout the household.

Treatment and prevention

Health officials have stressed the continued use of standard treatments despite reports of super lice. Super lice have not been deemed “worse” than regular lice, nor do they carry or spread disease. Standard treatments have continued to work, although the resistance of the super lice sometimes requires multiple treatments or a stronger dose.

The best treatment is prevention and early detection. Tell your child to avoid sharing combs, hair ties, hats, scarves and coats. Even earbuds are a problem, as the warm place behind a child’s ear is a favorite place for a louse. Activities that involve head-to-head contact, such as sharing a book or computer, should also be avoided.

Keeping your child’s hair in a tight ponytail or braid can be helpful by making it harder for a louse to latch onto a hair shaft. A bit of hairspray will keep those stray hairs contained.

Keeping coats and hats in common areas encourages the spread of lice. Unfortunately, this can be difficult to avoid when children keep their belongings in coat rooms or share cubbies and lockers with other students. Parents must simply remain attentive.

If there are reports of lice in your school or community, check your child immediately, as it can take as much as six weeks for a child to begin experiencing symptoms such as itching and burning. Check at the hair shaft, especially behind the ears, for small white nits, which are the eggs of lice. Also check vulnerable household items, such a bedding, towels and rugs. Catching a lice infestation early can make eradication easier.

Following the instructions provided with lice treatment products is key to getting a satisfactory result. If you have confirmation that the lice in your school or community is the resistant strain, be sure to follow specific instructions for re-treatment or multiple treatments. Pediatricians also may prescribe an alternative treatment for a resistant strain of lice.

Lice can be difficult to treat, often because family members can become re-infected by items in the household that were missed. At TNT Exterminating, our experts will handle clearing your home of this frustrating pest so that treatment of your family members will be fully effective and lasting.

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