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‘Super lice’ make their way into the Piedmont Triad

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Research from Southern Illinois University reports that 25 states in the country, including North Carolina, have "super lice." A genetic strain of lice that is resistant to over the counter and prescription treatments for lice.

Health professionals at Pediatric Hair Solutions in Winston-Salem said the term “super” doesn’t mean the louse or lice are any larger in size but it can be tough for people to get rid of.

License Practical Nurse Brittany Ayers said that appointments for their heat therapy Air Allé have doubled. Ayers said it may be related to the strain of super lice.

“They are now immune to the over the counter products you find at your pharmacy or grocery store and they're now immune to the prescription strength products that your doctors prescribe,” Ayers said.

The machine is FDA approved and uses the combination of temperature and air flow to kill the nit or eggs of lice. The center also uses non-toxic chemical-free solution and will fine comb through a patient’s hair with a nit comb.

Ayers said the misconception, due to embarrassment, is that having lice is a fault of the child.

“It's almost like a mosquito bite and some people think that it's because they're dirty. Lice actually love clean hair, they don't like dirty hair, they don't like a lot of products and they want to be able to move freely,” Ayers said.

Itching is the most common symptom, but many patients do not have any at all. Ayers said that lice do not like natural scents like peppermint, tea tree oil and rosemary. One suggestion she offered as a preventative solution is to spray a mist on children’s coats and backpacks before school.

“Check your kids at least once a month either visually or with a nit comb. Keep the hair up either in a bun or a braid because in a ponytail you still have free hair flowing and all they need is that one strand of hair to grab onto,” Ayers said.

The size of an adult louse is about 3mm and has a lifespan of about 33 days. An adult can lay up to 10 baby eggs or nymphs daily.

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