Some head lice are now resistant to treatments
Head lice not responding to common over-the-counter treatments such as permethrin have been found in 25 states, including Illinois, according to a new study by the American Chemical Society.
“Head lice has grown resistant because of the continued exposure to permethrin in over-the-counter medications,” says Dr. Akanksha Hanna, pediatrician at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. “The constant exposure leads them to evolve and become resistant to the drug. This is evident when over-the-counter treatments are no longer effective at eradicating lice.”
Head lice are a parasitic insect that can be found in people’s hair, eyebrows, eyelashes and scalp. They feed on human blood several times a day and live close to the scalp. While they are not life threatening and do not carry diseases, they can be very uncomfortable.
Lice are spread by close person-to-person contact. Lice don’t fly or jump, and pets don’t play a role in the spread of human lice, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To prevent the spread of lice, parents should inspect their child’s hair regularly and teach children not to share items that touch their hair, such as combs, hair accessories, jackets and hats.
Parents should take the following steps if their child gets lice:
- Notify the school and everyone who has been in contact with your child.
- Treat your child’s hair. The best way to treat it depends on your age group and for children it is always good to consult their doctor first.
- Clean toys, furniture and everything that your child may have been in contact with.
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