Super Lice Traced to 25 States

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Super Lice Traced to 25 States

There’s a new breed of lice surfacing across the U.S. that’s been dubbed super lice. That means the pests have developed a resistance to some of the over-the-counter treatments. Recent reports show the super lice have been identified in 25 states, including Wisconsin and Illinois, but not Iowa.

“As they’re exposed to those chemicals more frequently, they can change or mutate to develop a resistance,” said Nicole Baumann-Blackmore, MD, UnityPoint Health.

Baumann-Blackmore recommends that families still try over-the-counter drugs as a good starting point for treating lice. She said patients who find the chemicals ineffective should then see their primary care provider about the possibility of getting a prescription drug, which contains different chemicals.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says head lice infestations are most common among pre-school children attending child care and elementary-age children. The CDC estimates there are between 6 million and 12 million infestations each year among children 3 to 11 years of age.

Experts want to remind people that head lice are just a nuisance; they should not be considered as a medical or public health hazard and are not know to spread disease.

If you have any questions about lice or how to treat it, contact your UnityPoint Health provider.