Preventing Super Lice: What all parents should know

TOPEKA (KSNT) — It’s a problem that can leave parents and kids scratching their heads: lice.

Kansas is one of 25 states found to have lice that are resistant to normal treatment, so-called “super lice.”

Most schools in the state are only a few weeks into the year and haven’t seen any cases of lice yet, but the Shawnee County Health Agency says Thursday morning they inspected several heads, and lice may be appearing at schools very soon.

“We’ve used the same type of treatment for 30 years to treat head lice, so it’s not so much that the head lice is different, it’s that they’re becoming immune to that treatment,” said Misty Kruger of the Shawnee County Health Agency.

Those lice are resistant enough, the eggs they lay even have new hatching cycles, which is why many over the counter medicines aren’t effective, and could mean more work for parents like Sarah Kolbek.

“If it’s harder to get rid of, I mean it’s a battle just to brush her hair in the morning, let alone trying to get all that lice out of her hair,” said Kolbek.

To prevent that from happening, there’s a few things to keep in mind.

Lice spread through direct contact. They can’t jump, they only crawl.

It’s also important to remind your kids not to share combs, brushes or hats, and when it gets cold enough to wear a hat to school have them put it in a pocket or backpack rather than hanging it on a hook.

In this case, that old adage about sharing isn’t really appropriate.

“You know you think about little kids and you teach them to share, and to be a good friend, so just being sure that they understand appropriate things that are, to share,” said Kruger.

Even with those precautions lice is still bound to spread, and if you get a note that someone in your child’s class is infected, “That’s not a reason to start treatment, you need to get them checked and make sure that they have it,” said Kruger.

Health officials say over treatment is one reason these new “super lice” have appeared.

If you suspect your child has lice it’s best to contact a doctor and have a proper check.

We’re told if your child does get lice, prescription medication should be strong enough to get rid of it.

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