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'Super lice' outbreak hits 25 states

By Shawn Price   |   March 3, 2016 at 2:11 AM

LOS ANGELES, March 3 (UPI) -- An outbreak of so-called 'super lice' has hit 25 states, forcing parents to deal with a bug that can't be killed by most over-the-counter medications.

As the outbreak has spread, parents are finding medicine that used to easily take care of the problem is now often useless. Pyrethroids were an invincible treatment to lice as recently as 2000, but work only about 25 percent of the time now.

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The states experiencing the populations of drug-resistant lice are California, Washington, Arizona and Texas in the West; Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio in the Midwest; Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, the Carolinas and Virginia in the South; and Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut in the Northeast.

A new treatment called AirAlle has been approved by the FDA and been found to be more effective than medication.

"We use heated air, and we dehydrate the lice and the eggs in a single treatment," said Claire Roberts, CEO of Lice Clinics of America. "It takes about an hour, and we guarantee it."

The treatments cost about $170 are covered by some insurance companies.

Prevention is still the best medicine however. Kids should be taught to avoid sharing combs, brushes, and hats.

If your child does come how with lice, the proven tactics of using a lice brush and picking through your child's hair still work. Also, vacuuming where hair has fallen, washing bedding in hot water and putting clothing and stuffed animals in a hot dryer for at least 20 minutes is recommended. Also, Pyrethroids can still be effective in some cases.

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