Head Lice Are Bad Enough But Now Super Lice?

by SKHC Editor on September 24, 2008

What does head lice look like?

Head lice, or pediculosis, are tiny insects that crawl from head to head, latch onto hair follicles, and then feed on tiny droplets of blood. Sounds gross, right? School nurses, teachers and parents know these little pests are no strangers to day care centers and elementary schools. Young people are in close quarters making it easy for these sesame seed-sized-insects to spread. Adults aren’t exempt from these annoying little critters but the itchy condition is most common in school kids, particularly girls. Head lice are bad enough but now there’s the fear of super lice.

Super lice are the same as head lice except they are believed to have become resistant to over-the-counter lice treatment and medications. For years researchers have been warning that head lice not only in the United States but around the world are developing immunity to the strong insecticides used in over-the-counter and prescription shampoos. Shirley C. Gordon, an associate professor at Florida Atlantic University who studies persistent head lice, notes it takes only three to five years for the bugs to adapt to a new product. Manufacturers of these over-the-counter products beg to differ and health officials continue to recommend products such as Nix and RID. Health officials agree that the permethrin in Nix, the pyrethrin s in RID, the lindane in Kwell and the prescription malathion in Ovide may not work on everyone but it still works on some people.

Whether you’re dealing with a case of head lice or the feared super lice what product are you using to get rid of lice? Are you using RID? How about NIX? Are you removing lice the old-fashion way with a tried and true fine-toothed nit comb? There are many new products that you may or may not have heard of such as Lice B Gone which is a non-toxic shampoo, Accu-Life Lice Cure which is a lice and egg removal system, or the urban legend of mayonnaise – HeadLiceInfo.com suggests you opt for olive oil which is easier to remove from hair. If you’re a school nurse checking students for head louse do you use the wood applicators AKA “chop-sticks” or have you tried the new Neon Nits Head Lice Locator? For a light-hearted book to read to your students or children check out Yikes-Lice! by Donna Caffey. Share your best remedies, stories and remember to take this week’s democracy poll!

Source: MSNBC


Azoth September 12, 2009 at 10:57 am

Need to get the word out about the mutant strain of lice. There really is a strain of lice that is highly resistant to all of the traditional treatments.

We’ve been engaged in “Bug Wars” for almost 3 months now. Tried all the over the counter stuff. Tried 5% Permethrin Cream. Bought 10% permethrin insecticide intended for farm animals. Also Mayonase – Olive oil. Use the steel combs on a daily basis. Boil cloths, sheets, pillow, towels in water every day. Spray bed, furniture, bathroom, car several times a week with very strong insecticide.

Permethrin paralyzes the lice, so most of them die of starvation. But atleast 10% come back to life after the Permethrin wears off and go on laying eggs.

I shaved off 99% of the hair on my entire body, but they still manage to reproduce and thrive by hanging out in areas which are very difficult to reach – in ears, nostrils, eye lashes and “where the sun don’t shine”.

Trust me its really disgusting dabbing toilet paper with insecticide, sticking it up your nose and leaving it there for hours at a time.

Adding to the disgust are all the little scabs that form over the bites and seem to serve as protective shelters for blood sucking lice .

My doctor is afraid to have me come in the office – afraid his staff or other patients might catch them. He writes scripts over the phone.

I’ve beaten the population back to small numbers but still can not kill them off. Even tried bathing in a 20% solution of bleach. Recently bought Malathion from a local garden supply and bathed in a 1% solution.

I keep a small bottle of 1% malathion with me day and night and dab it on my nose, head, legs, arm, genitals any time I feel the slightest movement.

I tried ordering 3 mg capsules of Ivermectin over the internet but might not have taken a sufficient quantity. I only took 3 at a time and did not take it on an empty stomach. So now I’m trying it again taking 6 at a time on an empty stomach.

We’ve been very careful with our life style over the 3 months, working from home and avoiding public places as much as possible in order to try to prevent spreading these lice around our community.

One thing is for sure. We caught them through the routine of daily life. We did nothing more risky then eating in a public restraunt or sleeping in a decent hotel. So these lice are going to spread and increase in numbers until there is a major outbreak around the country.

The CDC and local medical experts need to gear up for these parasites quickly and not waste time with traditional treatments.

We’ve spent over a $1000 and nearly 3 months trying to get rid of these infernal bugs. Imagine what it will be like for large populations to deal with a major outbreak of these highly resistant lice.

It could make the H1N1 flu virus look insiginificant in terms of the economic and social impact.

Someone at the CDC needs to figure out how to deal with these things before it gets completely out of control.

superlice treatment? October 24, 2009 at 4:48 pm

Yup, I know EXACTLY where you are coming from when you say “superlice!!!” They are super…super hard to kill anyway. We spent hundreds too similar to Azoth’s experience above…hundreds, and even got a doctor prescription for Lindane, and still, didn’t kill them all. The eggs seemed to be the toughest for our family, but it’s finally over.

We keep our daugther’s hair in braids now and she is not to borrow things anymore, like hats.

CDC is really trying to combat these things, but honestly they don’t know what is going on and why they are mutating in such a rapid fashion that is becoming literally unstoppable. I don’t see “fleas” mutate like this…so why lice?

Anyway, great article!

Azoth December 4, 2009 at 7:58 pm

Sorry to say that I am still battling the mutant lice. Have a few lessons learned to share.

1) Using Bleach and /or Malathion is a bad idea.

2) Some people have hair all over their bodies that head lice seem to love.

3) Be aware that scratching can dislodge lice eggs and they will have 10 to 15 days to hatch and re-infest you.

4) Kerosene is like napalm to lice – HOWEVER:

Hundreds sources state that kerosene should never be used under any circumsances. Yet kerosene (or DDT) is what was used in the good old days before dozens of bug medical treatments took over the market. Make NO mistake – Kerosene is flamable and poison so it will make you ill if you leave it on your skin for more than a few minutes at a time. Too much exposure to kerosene will kill you. But if you have had lice for six months and have already tried using alcohol, bleach, malathion, etc … and just cant get rid of them, you might be desperate enough to try kerosene. If so recommend diluting it 1:1 with vegetable oil and leaving on for no more then ten minutes before thoroughly washing it out. Of course great care must be taken to avoid flames, sparks, etc. So although using kerosene to kill drug-resistant lice is dangerous as hell, the good news is that its cheap and it highly effective.

candice March 25, 2010 at 4:23 pm

I have been trying to get rid of lice in my kids for 3 months I tried everything and they are always coming back help what to I do I even tried old and mouth wash it kills them and I shake there heads over the tub and they fall out I pick and pick and they keep coming beck please help

ed October 7, 2010 at 10:06 pm

I got crab lice. Went to Home Depot bought some malathion and made a water solution of 10 tbls to one gallon. Soaked my body in it for 15 mins and rinsed off. Hope it killed the eggs too.


Destiny December 2, 2010 at 11:07 am

Azoth, wow! Thank you for sharing that story, I do hope that you have managed to find a way to get rid of them and if so please update!

I recently spotted lice on my sons hair earlier this week. The month prior there was an outbreak at his school. They have a no lice no nit policy, yet he managed to get it. So we made sure the family was all treated with an over the counter lice remover (R&C Shampoo and Conditioner which was under $12), clothing, hats scarves, coats and bedding were washed that were used within the last 48 hours. Thankfully R&C worked really well, I saw dead lice rinse right out of his hair. Their medical ingredients are Piperonyl Butoxide Technical 3.0% and Pyrethrins 0.33%. I feel I need to mention that since the article says that Pyrethrins may not work on everyone, however they didn’t mention Piperonyl Butoxide Technical, and so far R&C has always worked for me.

Now for nit removal…They’re hard to spot…I think I managed to get 2 out but I have not seen any others (light blond hair…FUN!). Since I must wait 10 days before using R&C again to kill off any possible hatchers, I have used regular olive oil to grease up his hair and go through it with a nit comb which was included with the treatment. If you have to treat lice…invest in those long metal nit combs, and always stay close to the scalp. The one that was included with the R&C was short, small, hard to use and hard to keep clean, I’ll be sure to grab one of those longer nit combs on my next trip to the store.

For anyone who has never tried R&C, I recommend giving it a shot, its cheap and it’s always worked for my family. A quick way to find out if any of your treatments work for you is if you do spot a louse after treatment and it has not died or slowed enough to easily comb it out, then you should find a different product.

Just be careful! Treating your scalp too often with harmful products is not safe.

Good luck! I can officially call myself a nit picker=)

tired mother May 14, 2013 at 8:26 pm

You will also have to wash your bedding in hot water, vacuum the carpet and your furniture/curtains. Tie up your stuff animals for at least 2 weeks in a sealed tight bag.

Bob Baft July 7, 2014 at 8:57 am

If you don’t get every single egg/nit, you’re going to continue to have lice. And self-checking isn’t possible…they usually lay the eggs at the back of the head.

My wife and I have been nit picking my daughter’s hair together and we still miss some. You have to continue with the treatments while nit picking for weeks. That way, when the nits you missed hatch, the chemicals will kill them.

LiceFreee seems to work wonders. I spray this on her head before bed and put a disposable shower cap on her (even though the directions tell you to let air-dry). We’ve been finding the adults dead the next morning when we comb for nits (which you HAVE to keep doing).

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