Head Lice Are Getting Hardier. Here Are Ways to Squelch and Prevent Them.

Although research shows that head lice are becoming increasingly resistant to established treatments, there are still ways to conquer these critters. Better yet, learn to take actions that can help your kids avoid catching lice in the first place.

Drug-Resistant Head Lice

Recent research shows that head lice in 25 states have developed resistance to pyrethroids, the most commonly used class of over-the-counter insecticide treatments, according to Healthline. Head lice have evolved quickly with new gene mutations that make it easier for them to survive a chemical onslaught. This means that infestations often last longer, enabling them to spread further. As a result, there has been an increase in head lice cases throughout the United States since the late 1990s.

A 2015 study of head lice in 30 states shows that lice in 25 states have developed three gene mutations that greatly decrease their susceptibility to pyrethroid treatments. Lice in four other states had developed between one and three of the mutations, while lice in only one state, Michigan, did not have the mutations.

Research is ongoing to develop new treatments, with three new treatments available by prescription. In the meantime, there are still ways to effectively eliminate head lice with home treatments.

Next: Learn how to treat head lice!

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