Combing Away “Super Lice”
Dealing with lice is a very common issue, especially if you have school-aged children. In fact, the CDC tells us that there are up to 12 million children aged 3 to 12 who are infested by head lice each year.
Unfortunately, you may be faced with lice that are stronger than you think. “Super lice” are a credible threat. Could this be what your child has? Let’s take a look.
Unveiling super lice
Like the regular lice you knew when you were a kid, super lice are parasites that feed on blood from the scalp. They lay eggs on the hair shaft, bringing up a new generation of irritating pests right there on their victim’s head.
“Super lice” are so-called because they are resistant to many of the treatments that have been commonly used up until now. This includes any pyrethrin-based shampoos that you buy off-the-shelf. Super lice have evolved through exposure to treatments. Instead of killing them, the exposure made them stronger and more resistant to treatment.
It sounds a bit like science fiction, right? The reality is that super lice have been recorded in at least 48 states and studies have found that up to three-quarters of all lice are resistant to insecticides.
What parents find is that treatment with insecticide shampoos doesn’t work, so usually, they try again. Remember though, the lice are resistant, it doesn’t matter how many times you treat your child with the shampoo, it’s not going to kill them!
On top of this, your child is being repeatedly exposed to the insecticide. You’d think an over-the-counter treatment should be safe, right? Not so fast – pyrethroids are a known neurotoxin linked with a range of nasty side-effects. Exposure at any level may be unsafe.
So, where does this leave you when your child needs treatment?
Combing super lice
With resistance to insecticides on the rise, limited options are left for the treatment of super lice. When shampoos don’t work, you’re really only left with physical removal. For this reason, combing out the lice and the nits has become one of the most popular methods.
You can probably quickly understand that combing out super lice will be time-consuming. Imagine a child with long, thick hair – how well do lice and eggs stay hidden among their locks? In the past, parents may have shaved their child’s head, but this can lead to shaming and bullying at school. Even today, there’s a taboo around lice and you probably want to avoid the humiliation!
So you persist with combing out super lice. If you don’t have a lot of time, you might look for one of the many lice clinics that are springing up across America. That’s right, you can take your child to someone who is prepared to remove super lice for you!
Most of these clinics will painstakingly comb out your child’s hair, usually using some kind of lubricant such as olive oil to aid lice combing. They divide long, thick hair into sections and use fine-toothed lice combs to extract the lice and eggs.
What does this cost you? On average around $100 per hour. Now consider how many hours it may take to remove lice from long, thick hair. Add to that having more than one child infested – the cost just grew out of reach for many families.
Electric lice combs
If you’re among the many families who can’t afford the cost or time of a clinic for super lice removal, you’re left with combing hair out at home. You could use a standard, fine-toothed lice removal comb, and these very well might do the job. However, this is the most time-consuming of all methods and often requires multiple attempts to remove all lice and eggs.
Another option you could try is an electric lice comb. These work by zapping lice with an electric charge, which stuns or kills them. The lice are then combed out, along with any nits. Users of the comb and the infested child being treated are protected from being zapped; it’s 100% safe.
Here’s the thing, super lice aren’t resistant to electricity! They are “super” by name only - immunity doesn’t stretch to electrocution. An electric lice comb such as the RobiComb® helps to improve the effectiveness of your combing as the lice can’t get away from being zapped.
As compared to a clinic, what will this cost you? Well the good news for families is that electric lice combs can be purchased for less than $25. They can be washed, used on every family member and put away in case of a future infestation.
Overall, if you need to get rid of super lice, combing is a safe, non-toxic method that avoids the potential side-effects of chemicals. An electric lice comb is an affordable option that gives you an extra layer of effectiveness, above ordinary lice combs. You can zap those lice and have your kid back to school in no time.
- LiceGuard Webmaster