WICHITA, Kansas – Lice are becoming immune to over-the-counter medications and can now be found in 25 states, including Kansas.
After years of the same chemical treatments, experts say some lice have managed to adapt.
“Five years, ten years ago that did work that did get rid of lice, but you know the strong survived, and they’re immune to it now,” said Shannon Peterson.
Peterson started Head Lice Treatment of Wichita three years ago and believes there is a mutant or super lice problem in Kansas. It causes more than just an itchy scalp.
“There’s people who have spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars and have seen no relief because of the super lice,” she said.
School nurse Kris Pfeifer isn’t sure if the issue is a mutant breed of lice, but has already seen about a dozen cases so far this year and that’s more than usual just two weeks into the school year.
“I am in multiple schools, and I’ve seen them in both schools,” Pfeifer said.
So what do we do? Kansas schools work to educate parents on how to get rid of the pests.
“Over the counter shampoos, they can also get prescription shampoos and they should comb the hair with little chunks at a time with a very fine tooth, we call it a nit comb,” said Pfeifer.
Be sure to get all of those nits, or eggs.
Peterson says if a traditional treatment isn’t effective consider other options. She swears by the non-toxic dimethicone, an ingredient common in lotions.
She says getting rid of the stigma could go a long way as well.
“There’s no shame in having lice. If people would speak up and be encouraged to share, I think we could eradicate this.”
Experts say go with the over-the-counter medications first, but if you don’t see the pests clearing up after one or two treatments then get a prescription for more powerful lice-killing chemicals. There are several on the market.