What are the Facts about Super Lice?


At 24/7 Pediatric Care Centers, head lice comes up every year as a problem for families and their children.  This year is no different.

Have you heard or seen the news reports about “super lice?” A single study was released claiming “super lice” had spread to 25 states in the U.S. Attention to the report in news media seemed to suggest that 2016’s head lice had elevated to the danger level of killer bees. That’s far from the truth.

We agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics, which has updated its head lice guidelines. Here are the facts as we know them:

  • Lice in some states have become resistant to over-the-counter products, but prescription products will be effective.
  • A healthy child should not be banned from attending school, but should be able to finish the school day, be treated at home, and then return to school.
  • All members of the household should be checked for lice and nits once a family member acquires lice. Pillow cases and hair care equipment should be washed, but there is no need for full-blown household disinfection with pesticides. Lice die within 24-48 hours of leaving the scalp.

Treating head lice is a matter of applying medication that is readily available over the counter (Nix or Rid). Stick to the directions to leave the treatment on long enough and retreat a second time five to seven days later. Using a small, fine-tooth comb to comb the nits and lice out of the hair is very effective as well. You may need to repeat the process multiple times if lice remain a problem. Call us at 24/7 Pediatric Care Centers to make an appointment if those measures are not effective.

Remember that lice are not a life-threatening problem for children. Head lice outbreaks appear in groups of children from every walk of life. The lice do not spread disease, and they do not “jump” from one child to another. They are spread by head-to-head contact or sharing of combs, brushes or hair accessories.

So, we’d like to reassure you: none of today’s head lice are “super” in any way. They’re a nuisance and inconvenience, but can be easily eradicated. Be sure to call us if you have any questions.

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24/7 Pediatric Care Centers are Jacksonville pediatricians, Jacksonville Beach pediatricians, and Fleming Island pediatricians providing care for children from newborn to 18 years. Our 24-hour office also provides services for non-life-threatening illnesses to registered patients 24 hours a day.

24/7 Pediatric Care Centers is not a substitute for Emergency or Trauma-related medical care.
If you feel your child is experiencing a life-threatening event, immediately call 911.