Selfies become new method for super lice to spread

Published: Sep. 1, 2015 at 12:00 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 11, 2015 at 12:45 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A couple weeks back to school and parents are having to do homework on something called super lice.

Super lice are infestations of head lice that do not respond to regular lice-killing products. They've mutated to the point of being resistant to the active ingredients in over-the-counter medications.

Lice is commonly treated by a group of insecticides called pyrethroids.One of those, permethrin, is the active ingredient in some anti-lice treatments, but lice populations can develop a mutation that make them resistant to pyrethroids. They're called super lice.
Kate Chappell with USC's College of Nursing says super lice is documented in South Carolina, although most health providers have not seen any in their practices. Chappell says to be aware that the Palmetto State is one of the 25 states with the tougher to treat lice, but not to worry that you're going to get hit by it.

She says common safety practices should be used like not sharing a hair brush, comb or –new this year – a selfie!

Chappell says so many young kids put their heads together for a selfie photo that healthcare workers are seeing lice movement because of so many snapshots. The head-to-head selfie allows for the lice to travel from one infected child to a new host.
Every year, around 13 million kids will get head lice and spread it to their friends and family members. Chappell says a school nurse should be able to walk parents through the simple steps to rid the student of the louse.

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