Super Lice Outbreak Amplified as Texas Schools Don’t Have to Send Kids Home
You may have heard about the 'Super Lice' outbreak that swept the country - including Texas - in the middle of 2016. These nasty critters are generally immune to your over-the-counter treatments parents tend to reach for first when their child is infested with lice. What makes things worse is that schools in Texas, and many other states, do not make it mandatory to send kids who are infested home.
In the TV show The Doctors, an elementary school girl from Dallas was dealing with her fourth case of lice in 2016 and according to her mother, it took 16 hours to remove said lice the last time.
The two periods during the year where lice infestation is at its peak are right after winter and summer breaks. Kids have slumber parties, take selfies together (their heads are usually touching!) and do more outdoorsy things. As a result, January sees a spike.
Monica Keshwara of Memphis, Tenn., who is known as the 'lice nurse' in her community, says battling lice is incredibly frustrating, especially with the influx of super lice.
She told CBS News that parents:
Spend hundreds even thousands on prescription medication which may or may not work.
The best way to handle lice is by taking preventative measures during peak season (now!). During winter months when kids huddle up together, it's a good idea to make regular checks to spot head lice before they have time to multiply.
Today's Parent suggested four tips:
- Keep It to Yourself - the best defense against lice is to avoid head-to-head contact and other people's hairbrushes and hats. Shorter hair also makes it less easy for lice to latch on and makes it easier to spot.
- Treat It - Many say to skip the chemicals and go for products that dissolve the waxy exoskeleton of these nits. Here are Today's Parents recommendations. Sometimes a smothering agent such as coconut or olive oil could also do the trick. Consulting a lice-removal service is another step if these options fail.
- Comb It - When looking for a lice comb, your best bet is to find ones made with fine metal teeth that are close together. This makes the comb more effective at removing eggs before hatching.
- Clean House - Put anything that can fit into a dryer, into the dryer (obviously not a toaster or any kind of electronic). More like sheets, pillow cases, hats, etc. Keep them in the dryer for 30 minutes. If you can't fit say, a couch, into a dryer, objects should be sealed in garbage bags for two days. Lice die within 24-48 hours away from their blood supply.
Lice can live up to 30 days on a person's head. Be vigilant about them!