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Super Lice Outbreak: How To Treat And Protect Your Kids From Head Lice

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A new species of head lice is resistant to commonly-used over-the-counter drugs and treatments invades 25 states. Though a company developed a new potent drug to stem the super lice outbreak, parents are advised on ways to treat and protect their kids from head lice.

Head lice are tiny parasitic insects that live among human hairs and feeds on blood drawn from the scalp. This is a very common problem among kids because it is very contagious and hard to get rid of.

The rampant use of OTC drugs over the years led a build-up of resistance that make it even harder to kill head lice. More than a decade ago, pyrethroids worked 100 percent of the time but in 2013, its efficacy dropped to just 25 percent.

The Lice Clinics of America developed a new device for head lice. Dubbed AirAllé, the device is robust enough to kill drug resistant lice or "super lice" through dehydration. Aside from this new device that can help stem the outbreak, parents should also perform precautionary measures to protect their kids from head lice.

Ways To Treat And Protect Kids From Head Lice

1. Avoid Sharing Belongings

To protect the kids from acquiring head lice, avoid sharing items that touch the head such as combs, hair clips, hair accessories, hats, helmets, scarves and even towels. Sharing of things can lead to the spread of head lice.

2. Prevent Kids From Going Too Close Together

Head lice is very contagious even if kids play close together. When they play, they may place their heads near each other. Letting your kids play with a friend who has a lice, they may come home with it.

3. Avoid Sharing Spaces

Shared spaces like closets, drawers and areas where belongings such as hats and scarves are stored, can harbour head lice. Both children and adults should be cautious in using shared spaces. It is better to segregate belongings to prevent the spread of lice.

4. Remove Lice By Hand

For younger babies, the use of medicines is not advised. Removing the lice and nits by hand or by a fine-tooth comb is recommended. Wet combing can also be an alternative to pesticide treatments in older children. Remove the nits every week for at least three weeks in a row.

5. Clothes And Beddings Should Be Washed

Even though lice do not survive long when they are not on its host, it is best to wash beddings and clothes of anyone being treated of lice. Clothes that are worn in the past 48 hours should be washed with hot water.

Photo: Eran Finkle | Flickr 

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