Super lice is becoming a super problem. Science has been warning us all for years that the overuse of medications would result in medication resistant super bugs, and now scientists have discovered a new strand of lice, known as super lice.
According to KOMO News, some experts believe that about 60 percent of all lice are now super lice, meaning they are resistant to the chemicals that are traditionally used to treat them.
So what is the big difference between traditional lice and super lice? According to ABC News’ Good Morning America, these new super lice have developed harder exo-skeletons and lay their eggs at different times, making them more difficult to kill with over-the-counter lice shampoos.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that lice survive by feeding on human blood and are most commonly spread by person-to-person contact. Lice move by crawling along the scalp and hair strands because they cannot hop or fly.
When one person in a household has been diagnosed with an active infestation, all members of the residence should be checked, and those who are also infested should be treated. For those who are both infested and who share a bed with someone else, their bed-mate should also be treated to prevent the spread of the infestation.
The CDC has posted some information on treatment on their website as far as early treatment:
“Hats, scarves, pillow cases, bedding, clothing, and towels worn or used by the infested person in the 2-day period just before treatment is started can be machine washed and dried using the hot water and hot air cycles because lice and eggs are killed by exposure for 5 minutes to temperatures greater than 53.5°C (128.3°F).”
“Items that cannot be laundered may be dry-cleaned or sealed in a plastic bag for two weeks. Items such as hats, grooming aids, and towels that come in contact with the hair of an infested person should not be shared. Vacuuming furniture and floors can remove an infested person’s hairs that might have viable nits attached.”
Because super lice have harder exo-skeletons, traditional over-the-counter, and some milder prescription medication do not penetrate the bug’s as easily, therefore, they do not die off as quickly. Scientists are also saying that the super lice are able to change up their egg laying and hatching patterns to avoid being killed off.
Super lice are only one of the examples of what a super bug can turn into. If lice can evolve enough to resist traditional treatment methods, then there is no doubt that other viruses and bugs can and will do the same.
[Image by CDC/James Gathany via Wikimedia Commons]