According to several published reports most lice are now what's know as super lice that are resistant to most over-the-counter lice shampoos. With kids heading back to school the doctors and experts are warning parents about the ways in which kids pick up the bug that feed on human blood in the scalp.
Kids are also encouraged not to share hats, combs or brushes. But are selfies causing the bugs to move from one head to another?
The topic has gotten a lot of media attention, but the Cleveland Clinic says there is no evidence currently to justify that concern. The Clinic said lice crawls -- it doesn't fly or jump.
Prolonged head-to-head contact is how the bugs spread.
"The limited moments of head-to-head contact involved in taking a'selfie makes the spread of lice during this practice very unlikely," according to the Clinic.
Shampoo shields: These products claim they can prevent or reduce the risk of getting head lice, but evidence is sparse. The Federal Trade Commission charged the manufacturer of at least one such product with false advertising.
Over-the-counter killers: As noted, over-the-counter products that contain pyrethrins or pyrethroids (like permethrin) are unlikely to offer much relief because many to most lice are now resistant to those chemicals. In fact, they could prolong a person’s suffering, because it takes a few days to know whether the product is working.
Household fumigants: These chemicals can be toxic if inhaled, and they pose an explosion risk near a heat source. They are also unnecessary. As noted, lice can’t live for very long away from actual human heads, where they draw their blood meals. So most lice around the house will die anyway.
Pricey prescriptions: Skip products containing lindane. This chemical is neurotoxic and carcinogenic to humans, and has been linked to reports of seizures and even deaths from improper use.
Some people recommend several in home products to use to suffocate lice. Items like mayonnaise, olive oil or butter. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) claims there is no clear scientific evidence these products work.
Here is what the CDC does recommend for treatment of lice:
Treat the infested person(s): Requires using an Over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medication. Follow these treatment steps:
Do not use fumigant sprays; they can be toxic if inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
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