Worried about super lice? Don’t be.
You may have heard the reports about so-called super lice. Researchers have found that most head lice are now resistant to the pyrethroid family of insecticides used in drugstore lice products. The most recent study, published in March 2016 by the Journal of Medical Entomology, found pyrethroid-resistant lice in 42 of the 48 states tested (Alaska and Hawaii were not included in the study).
The news has generated mild hysteria in the media; “Mutant ‘Super Lice’ Outbreak Has Now Spread to Nearly Every State,” read one headline, in which it went on to say, “A whopping 42 out of 48 states tested are overrun by this so-called super lice.” Another article states, “These buffed up creepy critters have gotten plenty of attention in the past few years, with warnings that they’ve been steadily spreading across the country.”
The notion that pyrethroid-resistant lice might “overrun” communities, or that these head lice are somehow “buffed up” suggests that they have become some kind of unstoppable force.
The reality, however, is much less sensational—it’s just that one treatment doesn’t work anymore. Super lice are immune to a single chemical. To say that this one immunity makes them “buffed up” is like saying that a person is invincible after receiving a tetanus vaccine.
Some think that over-the-counter (OTC) lice products weren’t very effective to begin with because they only killed live lice and not their eggs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledges that OTC products “can only kill live lice, not unhatched eggs (nits).” Nits, as anyone that has dealt with lice knows all too well, are the real challenge when it comes to eradicating head lice from a household because they latch onto hair follicles with a strong glue-like substance. Consumer Reports says that the most effective method of lice treatment is “to physically remove the insects and their eggs.”
The problem with nitpicking, however, is that it is prone to human error. Eggs are notoriously difficult to see and remove; and if you miss one, you’ll have a fresh case of head lice. Some parents have reported dealing with repeated outbreaks of head lice for years.
A scientific way to get rid of lice
An easier and more effective head lice treatment to get rid of lice has been developed by scientists at the University of Utah. The researchers found that lice can’t survive in arid desert climates. The researchers went on to duplicate the inhospitable conditions with a medical device that blows carefully controlled heated air on the scalp to dehydrate and kill live lice and eggs. It took ten years to perfect the device, which was cleared by the Health Canada and clinically proven to kill live lice and 99.2 percent of nits.
The product, the AirAllé medical device, is available exclusively through Lice Clinics of Canada, the world’s largest lice treatment network. The entire process takes about 90 minutes. Parents, educators and healthcare providers now have a safe, fast, effective alternative to medications and to manual nitpicking.
The AirAllé medical device doesn’t use chemicals, so it is equally effective against so-called super lice as it is against non-resistant head lice. The device has been so successful that there are now more than 230 Lice Clinics of Canada treatment centers in 20 countries, and more clinics are opening each month.