ALBANY, GA (WALB) - As if head lice weren't stressful enough, parents have a new bug to look out for. Super Lice are making their debut in Georgia.
Scientists recently published results of a study that found a mutant form of lice in half of America. But the most concerning discovery was the form of lice is resistant to over-the-counter treatments.
Experts said six to 12 million infestations occur every year among children ages three to 11. And the new study by American Chemical Society researchers found nearly 95 percent of the lice sampled in Georgia and in 29 other states showed that they were desensitized to pyrethroids, the chemical used to kill them.
Dougherty county health department director Remy Hutchins said now is the time for parents to make sure their kids are taking precautions as the school year gets going.
"Especially when fall rolls in, it gets a littler cooler. Children start sharing items. So, we want to make sure that everyone keeps their hats and their scarves to themselves. You don't want to share barrettes and bows," said Hutchins.
Symptoms include a tickling feeling of something moving in the hair. Also, itching, irritability, and difficulty sleeping. Sores on the head caused by scratching are other symptoms, which may become infected.
Hutchins said they're not aware of any cases of super lice in Dougherty county, but urged parents to still follow the normal recommendations when it comes to treatment.
That includes washing clothes, bedding, and towels in hot water, and any other items used by the person in a two day period. All household members and other close contacts should be checked, as well.
When treating head lice, supplemental measures can be combined with recommended pharmacological treatment. If you believe your child still has lice after treatment, Hutchins suggests consulting your doctor.
For more information, you can visit http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/treatment.html.