Parents beware: Super lice are here, and they’re threatening to ruin your March Break.
According to experts, a new strain of mutant lice immune to most over-the-counter treatments is making the rounds.
Stacey Silverstein, the co-founder of Lice Crew says super lice have developed an immunity to the pesticides in most lice-prevention and lice-removal products.
“If you’ve had lice, you’re more desirable,” Silverstein told the Toronto Sun, noting that lice leave a scent in the hair that can attract more lice in the future. Pesticide-free prevention sprays can help mask this scent, stopping lice from returning.
With clinic locations across Canada, The Lice Crew offers services to educate schools and day-camps on lice and lice prevention, and even has lice-removal services using all-natural products.
Lice are parasites that infest body hair, feeding on blood from the scalp to survive. Like normal lice, super lice often present with itchy scalp, visible lice and eggs (nits), red bumps on the scalp and a tingling sensation from lice movement.
The difference between super lice and normal lice is that super lice are resistant to treatment, and will remain unbothered even after you apply popular over-the-counter remedies.
“If you do have head lice, you should tell your friends and family,” Silverstein added. “Because if you make them aware that you might have given them head lice, then they’re going to do something about it.”
Silverstein notes that almost 50 per cent of people with lice show symptoms, meaning many people may unknowingly have and spread lice.
Lice can be spread through person to person contact, or with direct contact to an infested item such as hair brushes, pillowcases, hats and toys.
Silverstein recommends checking your children (or yourself) for head lice with a professional lice comb, a stainless steel comb with rounded, micro-grooved teeth for removing lice and eggs.
If a lice infestation should occur, experts suggest focusing on controlling the people affected before moving onto tackling your home.
- After treatment, wash all hair brushes and accessories in hot water and let soak to kill any lice and eggs
- Put any cloth items that may have been in contact with the infested person in the dryer, on high heat for 30 minutes
- Vacuum or lint roller any other surfaces such as couch cushions or car seats