WASHINGTON - A new super-strain of lice has evolved in 25 states, including both Virginia and Maryland, and it is apparently immune to most over-the-counter medications.
With all the selfie taking and shared electronic use, this so-called "super lice" are being given ample opportunity to easily spread.
Researchers presented their findings to the American Chemical Society last week. Their research shows that in 25 states, lice are mutating and evolving in a way that allows them to resist the chemical that is supposed to kill them.
"From what we see here in our salon, these lice have been resistant to these over-the-counter products and some of these prescription products for quite some time," said Lauren Salzberg, who is known as the Potomac Lice Lady in the D.C. area.
She stays very busy fighting lice and has helped almost 800 families since January to deal with the issue. Many of her clients are frustrated because the over-the-counter medication isn't working.
"We've had clients that come into us who have used these prescriptions, some of them have used them three times in a row," said Salzberg.
She said one key way lice are spread is from head-to-head contact. That means those selfies kids love to take with their friends can make a lice invasion super easy.
Opinions vary on how to deal with lice, but Salzberg's recommendation for prevention is simple.
"If every parent owned a lice comb and did a weekly lice check on their child, it's physically impossible to have an infestation," Salzberg said. "It's not to say that you will never get a bug in your head, but if you did a weekly lice check on your child, you would be able to catch a bug in your child's head and it won't have a chance to lay eggs."