A super lice outbreak has raised alert in 25 states across the U.S. and efforts are underway to contain the spread of these pesky parasites.
The new strain of lice that has recently emerged is highly resistant to conventional treatments. During another outbreak that occurred in 2000, those affected by lice resorted to pyrethroids, which are organic compounds found in the vast majority of insecticides and proven effective as insect repellents as well.
Pyrethroids used to be 100% successful in eradicating lice, but in 2013 it was discovered that these over-the-counter chemicals manage to kill just around a quarter of the parasites. That’s probably because lice have become accustomed to these substances that have been employed so extensively.
Gradually, they have grown immune to them, a similar phenomenon being recorded when it comes to bedbugs as well, which had also been combated with pyrethroids after DDT sprays were banned in the 1970’s.
So far, super lice infestations have been identified in 25 states, across the South, West and Northeast, and, as explained by Liz Solovay, director of the Lice Treatment Center, people of all ages have caught the highly contagious parasites, which used to be more commonly encountered among children.
Apparently there is a way to deal with these insects after all, thanks to a brand new medical device which was patented by Lice Clinics of America.
The gadget is called AirAllé and has received the FDA’s seal of approval, being proven capable of wiping out not just ordinary lice, but also more resistant ones.
As explained by Claire Roberts, chief executive officer at the lice-treatment company based in Salt Lake City, AirAllé works by combining steady airflow and heat in order to dehydrate the parasites and the eggs they produce.
A single treatment which requires just around an hour of the user’s time is enough to wipe out all the resilient super lice in one’s home, and the method is considered to be non-toxic for humans, and environmentally friendly at the same time.
One downside is the price of these extermination sessions, which can reach approximately $170, but results are guaranteed and well worth the price.
At times, the costs associated with such treatment will be reimbursed by insurance companies, but obviously, a less pricey solution is to avoid catching lice in the first place.
That is why it’s highly inadvisable to share accessories and devices that come into contact with hair, such as brushes, combs, hats, caps, hair pins, scrunchies, Alice bands etc.
It’s also important to bring one’s own pillow or bedding when taking part in a slumber party, so that transmission risks can be minimized.
In addition, no matter what age you may be, it’s essential to check your hair for lice on a weekly basis, especially if you live in one of the states affected by the current outbreak.
If your house becomes infested with lice after all, there are steps that could be taken in order to limit the scope of the infection.
For instance, it’s important to clean, dust and vacuum regularly, so that any fallen hair which may contain lice can be promptly removed.
Nit-picking can also be a solution when it comes to getting rid of the annoying wingless insects, but usually takes too long and can be quite unpleasant, which is why devices like AirAllé seem like the preferable solution.
Alternatively, prescription pills can be used against super lice, such as stromectal (ivermectin), which has been found more effective against the parasites than topical creams and lotions, according to Dr. Kevin Hatcher-Ross, pediatrician the Vancouver Clinic.
Moreover, it’s recommended to wash bedclothes for more extensive lengths of time, and to make sure that garments, linens and stuffed toys are free of super lice, by placing them in a dryer and running the appliance for half an hour or so.
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