While a strain of treatment-resistant “super lice” has spread to half of the states in the United States, including South Carolina, there is no sign of them in Beaufort County and Jasper County public schools, officials say.
Beaufort County public schools periodically see cases of lice, and even less often, stubborn infestations that take extra time and effort to eradicate. However, district spokesman Jim Foster said, in those cases, school nurses find the culprit is not a mutant strain of lice that can survive over-the-counter and prescription treatments.
Rather, nurses learn that parents haven’t followed medical professionals’ directions to a T, Foster said.
“Doctors give parents instructions. If those instructions aren’t followed correctly, then the infestation doesn’t go away,” he said.
Because head lice do not spread diseases, cases of “super lice” are not reported to state health authorities.
It was researchers from Southern Illinois University who reported in August that the bugs had been found in 25 states in the country. In recent weeks, a host of media outlets began reporting those findings again.
The researchers also disclosed they have received funding from companies that treat head lice.
Treating head lice:
Children should avoid head-to-head contact, sharing hoodies and hats, scarves, coats, sports uniforms, barrettes or hair ribbons, combs and brushes, headphones or towels.
If you think your child has head lice, check the scalp, behind the ears, and near the neckline at the back of the neck. It is easiest to check when the hair is damp.
To treat lice:
- Common over-the-counter treatments are Nix, Rid and A100. Follow the directions closely, especially how long to keep the medicine on your child’s head and how long before you should wash the child’s scalp again. Some products keep killing lice even after the product has been rinsed off the head.
- Check or comb your child’s head each day after the lice treatment. It may take seven to 10 days for all of the bugs to die after the first shampoo or creme rinse. If your child still has lice a week later, you can try the same treatment again, or call your health care provider about a prescription treatment.
- Examples of prescription lice treatments include Elimite, Spinosad, Ulesfia, Ovide and others. Your health care provider will take into account your child’s age and allergies when making a decision on a prescription lice treatment.
- Wash the infested person’s bed linens in hot water and dry in a hot dryer for at least 20 minutes.
- Wash any clothes that were worn during the week before the lice were found.
- Dry-clean any coats, jackets, favorite toys, throw pillows or other objects that might have touched your child’s head.
- If something cannot be dry-cleaned, put it into a plastic bag and store it away from the child’s belongings for two weeks. This prevents any living lice or any newly hatching lice from surviving.
- Check the heads of your other children or any other child who may have shared a bed or other sleeping space with the child who has lice.
- S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control
- Farrell: 'Mutant head lice' in SC just really good at dating, Aug. 24, 2015