The new “superlice” has been found to be resistant to many over-the-counter treatments against the head lice. On the other hand, prescription remedies can still combat the bug. Instead of heading to the local pharmacy, parents are recommended to bring their child to see a doctor regarding head lice.
Lead author of the study Dr. Ellen Koch said, “The failure rate of these products has increased dramatically in many areas of the United States. This leads to increased cost, days missed from work and school, and frustration among our patients.”
Dr. Barbara Frankowski added, “In fact, if you look hard enough, you can probably find lice on someone’s head in almost every school in the world on a given day.”
Head lice are more commonly seen in children because their hair is thinner, which allows lice to easily grasp it. However, while it has long been believed that lice target poor or unclean children, these are merely myths. In fact, lice has an easier time grasping clean hair rather than dirty hair.
The researchers have been tracking the effectiveness of over-the-counter head lice remedies and have found that lice have began building a resistance, thus decreasing the effectiveness of these treatments.
The most common drugs that had dramatically lost their effectiveness are pyrethrins and permethrin, known to consumers under the brand names of Nix and Rid.
There is very little evidence that home remedies such as olive oil or mayonnaise can help rid children of lice. Prescription drugs such as ivermectin (Sklice or Stromectol), malathion (Ovide), spinosad (Natroba), and benzyl alcohol (Ulesfia) have all been found to still be effective.
The problem with prescription medications is, they are quite costly if families don’t have insurance. And even if the insurance covers some products, they may not cover others.
It’s important to note that lice do not jump or fly from head to head. Close contact is required for lice to move from one person to another.