As students head back to school this week, there’s a chance they’ll be sharing more than snacks and supplies.
According to a study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology earlier this year, new research now suggests a majority of lice— being called super lice — in the United States are resistant to the insecticides used in popular over-thecounter products such as Nix and RID.
"There’s nothing really super about them, of course," said Justin Tally, an Oklahoma State entomologist in a news release. "They are simply lice that are more resistant than previous generations to permethrin, the active ingredient in many head lice treatments."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say anywhere from 6 million to 12 million children ages 3 to 11 get head lice each year.
Common symptoms of head lice include itching, complaining of a tickling feeling as if something is moving in the hair, difficulty sleeping, irritability and in severe cases, sores caused by scratching.
Look for small white flakes near the base of the hair follicle — those are lice’s eggs, called nits.
Fully grown lice are about the size of a sesame seed.
How to treat it
According to scientists at Consumer Reports, wet combing is the best way to get rid of the pests.
Coat your child’s hair and scalp with conditioner or a lubricant such as olive oil.
Use a wide-tooth comb to separate hair into sections.
Follow with a metal nit or flea comb, concentrating on the area close to the scalp.
After each comb-through, wipe the comb on a paper towel and inspect for lice. Repeat every day until no live lice are seen, then every few days for about a month.