Super lice invade: A study in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that more than 60 percent of lice are resistant two at least one common treatment.
But in some states, including Florida, Texas, and California, 100 percent of lice that were tested in the study had genes that gave them a resistance to pyrethroids, which are the most commonly prescribed treatment to get rid of the pests and are ingredients in Nix, RID, and other products, according to Yahoo News.
“If an organism is exposed to something that could kill it, it develops defenses,” Deb Lonzer with Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital, told Yahoo. “Lice that survive chemical treatments pass on their genes and that leads to resistant lice.”
As many as 12 million children get infected with the parasites each year in the United States, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most people get lice via head-to-head contact.
Dr. Lee Moorer, an emergency medical specialist in Denver, told Yahoo that pyrethroids and similar “drugs are no longer working, so parents are forced to turn to more toxic prescription drugs to treat kids or try natural methods like coating the head with Vaseline that may not be effective.”
Metrohealth Medical Center pediatrician Dr. Robert Needlman told Fox in 2008 that that around the world, lice are becoming more and more resistant to common treatment methods.
“Every once in a while, up pops a louse who is resistant to the poison and that louse is successful evolutionarily and more and more lice have that resistance,” Needlman said.
In one example, WOOD-TV reported that around the Grand Rapids, Mich., there has been an upswing in lice at several school districts.
“It’s not getting it,” lice technician Becky Curtis told the station, adding that normal lice treatments aren’t working. “They are going back to school, they are exposing other kids and then it’s just, it’s just multiplying.”
Moorer told Yahoo that the most effective way to get rid of lice is to shave one’s head. “This is both safe and 100 percent effective, so that’s what I’d do if my sons got lice,” he said.
But for people who don’t want to do that, it is recommended to go to a hair salon to get treated with a Lousebuster.
Also, the drug, ivermectin (Sklice), was found in a study to be highly effective in treating lice.