What Do Parents Need to Know About Super Lice?

What Do Parents Need to Know About Super Lice?

When the word “super” is in front of the name of a bug, it automatically makes you know it’s not your average insect. Superbugs, or types of bacteria, viruses, parasites, etc. that can’t be resolved with medication, are a major public health hazard because they are hard to treat. As superbugs have evolved, they have grown more and more resistant — causing the medical community to constantly search for new ways to deal with widespread common illnesses. 

Lice are no exception to superbugs. Known as super lice, these pests are notorious for being difficult to get rid of. In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about detecting and treating super lice. 

What Are Super Lice? 

If you’re a parent, you’ve undoubtedly heard of head lice. They are blood-sucking, small insects that can either be a gray color or red and live in hair almost anywhere on the body. Their eggs, called nits, are tiny and easily confused for a dry scalp or dandruff. Super lice have the same body structure, color, and characteristics as typical lice but are resistant to most common lice treatments. 

Because of this, doing regular lice checks for school-age children or people that are around large crowds is vital. Kids can get head lice from head-to-head contact, usually at school, after-school clubs, or other large gatherings.  

Why Are Super Lice More Common Now Than In The Past? 

The term “super lice” was coined after a study published in 2015 discovered that head lice were beginning to become resistant to the chemicals used in lice treatment. At this point, treatment-resistant lice were only identified in 25 states in the U.S. Researcher Kyong Yoon, PhD, who was a part of the American Chemical Society and on staff at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville at the time of the research, was the first to report this phenomenon in the 21st century. Previous research was much smaller than the 109 lice populations surveyed by Yoon and his team. 

Super lice are the most resistant to pyrethroids, which are chemicals found frequently in bug sprays and insecticides. While they effectively treat some types of lice, long-term exposure can be potentially hazardous to your health. 

But what causes this level of resistance? Like many antibiotics used to treat viruses, lice develop a sort of “immunity” against medications after being exposed to them for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, this is becoming more common as time goes on.  

Now, almost 10 years after Yoon’s study in 2015, they are present in all 48 contiguous states. 

What Are The Symptoms Of Super Lice? 

While the most common symptom associated with the presence of lice is an itchy head, itching can sometimes take weeks to be present. In the meantime, the lice infestation can grow exponentially. 

Other symptoms of super lice are 

    • White or gray “flakes” on the scalp: Lice are often confused with dandruff. If you notice that your scalp is extra itchy and dry, or see white or gray flakes that aren’t usually there, check for lice immediately. 
    • A rash: It’s normal for a rash to develop when you have lice. Red, itchy bumps will appear, especially if you’re scratching your head frequently or the lice are left untreated for a long time. These rashes can lead to swollen lymph nodes or sores near the edges of the hair. In some cases, it even leads to infection. 
    • Trouble sleeping: Because lice are the most active at night and in low light, you might have difficulty falling or staying asleep. Going without sleep can lead to increased anxiety, depression, fatigue, and other mental or physical health struggles.

If your child begins to experience any of these symptoms, get checked for lice as soon as possible. Using a fine-tooth comb or a magnifying glass, look closely at the scalp to see if you can see small, moving insects or nits crawling around. 

How Are They Treated? 

Here’s what you need to know about treating super lice: 

  • Trying to eliminate lice with a fine-tooth comb is not only time-consuming, but it is also ineffective. While you may remove many of the adult bugs and most nits, if you miss just one nit, the infestation continues.
  • Lice cannot survive off of their host, so while you may feel inclined to wash sheets and clothes, driving yourself crazy isn’t totally necessary. Lice need blood to survive, so they will die within 3-4 days without it. 
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) products will not work. In fact, the toxins and chemicals in these treatments can be harmful to your child. These treatments are ineffective against super lice — leaving many parents at a loss of what to do. 

Since the discovery of super lice, professionals have had to develop more intense head lice treatment methods. Despite their name, they aren’t indestructible. One of the best treatment methods for super lice is AirAllé. This treatment lasts about 30 minutes and uses a hairdryer-like device to blow the lice outside the insulating layer of the hair, which is the closest layer to the scalp. You can get this treatment at one of our conveniently located lice removal clinics. 

How Do I Find A Lice Removal Clinic? 

If your child has super lice, finding head lice treatment can be a challenge. 

Fresh Heads Head Lice Treatment Center is a lice removal clinic in Orlando, FL. Since we opened, we’ve been winning awards for our top-of-the-line care. With offers like a 45-day re-treatment policy and the quickest single lice removal treatment available, you can’t go wrong. In just under 90 minutes, your family can be lice-free. Plus, there’s no additional follow-up needed. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Schools Without Lice.

Schools Without Lice

At Fresh Heads Lice Removal, our mission is to get rid of lice in schools across the United States. We’ve partnered with the Lice Clinics of America to create the Schools Without Lice program. Through this program, we provide school nurses and teachers with free screenings, resources, and treatments. Together, we can have schools without lice!

Cases of super lice like these are on the rise.

Cases of Super Lice on the Rise Nationwide

At Fresh Heads Lice Removal, we understand how difficult and stressful it is to discover that your child has lice. However, parents are finding even more cause for concern as they hear about the emergence of treatment-resistant super lice. We’ll let you in on everything you need to know about super lice, and how you can protect your family.

What Are Super Lice?

Over the past few months, doctors across the country reported a 30% increase in super lice(with some states reporting a 95% increase), but what exactly are super lice? Super lice are a breed of lice that have mutated to form a resistance to insecticides. These lice are thought to have evolved pesticide-resistant genes to survive, which means that over the counter lice treatments are ineffective. In fact, a 2016 Journal of Medical Entomology study revealed that 96 percent of the lice in 48 states are resistant to pyrethroids (a type of insecticide commonly found in most over-the-counter lice treatments). Many experts believe that the emergence of these super lice is responsible for the overall rise in lice cases because the resistant nature of the lice to traditional treatment gives them more time to spread.

AirAllé®: Breakthrough Treatment for Super Lice

While over the counter lice treatments are ineffective for super lice removal, fortunately, professional treatment alternatives exist. At Fresh Heads Lice Removal, our professional technicians and experts take a safe and effective approach to lice treatment that is capable of addressing all lice (even resistant breeds). We stop super lice in their tracks using AirAllé®, a completely safe FDA-cleared medical device. A cutting edge device, AirAllé® kills lice and lice eggs through dehydration, and a single one-hour treatment kills head lice and 99.2% of lice eggs. Because it does not rely on traditional insecticides, AirAllé® is capable of successfully treating super lice. As an added bonus, because the AirAllé® device is so effective at killing lice eggs, the chances of your child needing a follow-up treatment is very small (less than 1% re-treatment rate).

Treatment for Super Lice in Jacksonville and Orlando, FL, and Savannah, GA

While super lice are a cause of concern, it’s possible to effectively remove them through professional treatment options. At Fresh Heads Lice Removal, we believe that getting rid of lice doesn’t have to be complicated, stressful, or expensive. We pride ourselves on being a lice service that your family can rely on for the safe diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of lice. We are able to effectively treat super lice through AirAllé®. At Fresh Heads Lice Removal, we are committed to safely and quickly removing head lice so your child can return to normal life as quickly as possible. Whether its super lice or normal lice, we help you select the most effective treatment option for your child or family member, so that we can help get them the relief they need. To learn more about our list of services and featured products, contact one of our Jacksonville, FL, Orlando, FL, or Savannah, GA Fresh Heads locations today!



Schools Without Lice.

Schools Without Lice

At Fresh Heads Lice Removal, our goal is to get rid of lice in schools nationwide. We created the Schools Without Lice program in partnership with the Lice Clinics of America to support nurses and teachers with free resources, screenings, and treatments. Together, we can take another step toward making schools lice-free!

vial of purple poison

The Dangers of Over the Counter Lice Treatments

When your child comes home with lice, your first instinct might be to run to the nearest drug store for a remedy. It’s understandable. You’re a bit panicked and that sounds like the fastest solution. We’d like to stop you in your tracks, though. Not only are over the counter (OTC) pesticide products ineffective, they’re also hazardous to your child’s health. Choosing a chemical-free head lice treatment is the wisest choice for your family. Here’s why.

OTC Lice Treatments Are Less Effective

Pesticide-type products have dominated the US lice treatment market for decades. Permethrin is a synthetically made pyrethroid that was once quite effective at killing lice. But scientific research has found that head lice have adapted over the years and developed a resistance to such chemicals. The efficacy rating of permethrin is now an underwhelming 20-30% in recent clinical studies, as chemical-resistant super lice spread across the country.

Chemical OTC Treatments Proven to Be Hazardous to Your Health

If the low rate of effectiveness isn’t enough to give you pause, the health hazards surely will be. Permethrin and lindane are the chemicals found most commonly in lice treatments, and both of them are proven to be toxic.

Permethrin is a neurotoxin that is found in many insecticides, including Raid. It is potentially carcinogenic and can cause the following alarming side effects:

  • Wheezing or coughing
  • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Skin irritation burning
  • Scalp irritation or burning
  • May affect the reproductive system
  • Nervous system symptoms such as excitability and convulsions
  • Allergic reaction

Lindane is a dangerous chemical that attacks the nervous system and is known to cause cancer. What makes it even more troubling is that it is easily absorbed through the scalp when used to treat lice. In 2015, the World Health Organization reclassified lindane from being a “possible carcinogenic” to “known to cause human cancer.” This is the WHO’s highest category of concern. Lindane can cause serious side effects such as:

  • Stinging, burning and itching of the skin
  • Rashes
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Uncontrollable bodily shaking
  • Allergic reaction

Chemical-Free Head Lice Treatment

It’s clear to see that over the counter pesticides are simply too dangerous to use on your family. And when there are nontoxic treatment options available that are also more effective, it’s a no-brainer. Lice combing and herbal remedies are safe options, but the most effective weapon against lice is actually using heated air.

The professional AirAllé lice device was specifically designed to dehydrate lice and their eggs with warm air. It is FDA-cleared and has been proven to be safe and effective at killing lice and their eggs—with a 99.2% rate of efficacy.

Fresh Heads Lice Treatment Centers are proud to provide solely chemical-free head lice treatments to our clients. The AirAllé treatment is our signature treatment at all of our locations. It’s fast, easy and so effective that it’s backed by our 45-day retreatment policy. If your child comes home with lice, make Fresh Heads your treatment of choice.


Are Drug-Resistant Lice Headed Your Way?

Head lice are a fact of life for parents of school-aged children. With 6 to 12 million children infested each year, it’s hard to make it through elementary school without about with the pesky parasites. Traditionally, over-the-counter treatments were enough to get rid of the problem. However, U.S. investigators are now warning that drug-resistant lice could be coming to a school near you!

As mentioned above, head lice are a very common occurrence for school-aged children and their families. Unable to fly or jump like fleas, head lice are transmitted via direct contact. After contact, they are quick to infest the head, feeding on blood and laying their eggs at the base of the hair shaft. While they do not transmit disease, they cause extreme discomfort. Until recently, there were simple topical treatments that, when combined with thoroughly cleaning your clothes, carpet, bedding, and furniture, could reliably eliminate the infestation. Those days could be numbered…

In at least 25 states, including Florida, analysts have found head lice populations that don’t respond to common, over-the-counter treatments. In one study, 104 out of 109 lice populations tested had a 100 resistance to permethrin, the most common pesticide found in over-the-counter treatments.

The cause of the resistance is a tale as old as time. After stronger pesticides were taken off the market, lice populations had generation after generation to develop genetic resistance to the only one left, permethrin.

The good news is that there are other treatments available. There are more intense pesticides that can be effective, but many parents are wary of using such strong chemicals on their children.

At Fresh Heads, we use a revolutionary new treatment called AirAlletm that uses only hot air to kill lice and their eggs. That’s right – there is an effective, science-based, pesticide-free way to kill head lice and their eggs at all stages of life!

Fresh Heads Head Lice Treatment Center is a science-based head lice removal company. Our highly trained technicians are skilled at getting rid of lice in one treatment session using the Revolutionary AirAlletm Head Lice Machine. We are the only single-treatment professional head lice removal company serving Jacksonville, Orlando, and surrounding areas that offers a 45-day guarantee. If you think you might be experiencing a head lice issue in your household, call us today! A Fresh Heads Technician will carefully inspect every hair on the heads in question.

head lice closeup

Super Lice

Is “Super Lice” Real?
New research published in the Journal of Medical Entomology, a publication of the Entomological Society of America, shows that lice are becoming increasingly difficult to remove. That’s thanks to a new strain of lice that is resistant to traditional treatments. In fact, this new strain of “super lice” is spreading more quickly than health experts had initially feared.

How Did These Lice Become “Super”?
According to the Journal of Medical Entomology, when over-the-counter treatments aren’t used correctly, or maybe not enough product is used to treat the lice, some lice become resistant. Another scenario is that some treatments may not be left on for the required amount of time, and the lice can not only survive, but they can also grow stronger. These stronger lice then get passed from kid to kid; and over time, they become completely resistant to chemical treatments of any kind.

Super Lice Study Conducted by the University of Massachusetts:
To address concerns about “super lice”, the University of Massachusetts conducted a study to examine the effectiveness of traditional chemical treatment for lice removal. Dr. John Clark and his team collected samples from all over the United States, including samples from Fresh Heads Lice Removal Salon in Jacksonville, FL and found all lice populations to be 100% resistant (saturation of resistant alleles) for all three mutations, MI/TI/LF. The preliminary results suggested that the resistance to “super lice” has spread across the USA, and is at saturating levels (in other words, nearly all lice are resistant to traditional chemical treatments, both prescribed and/or over-the-counter).

One of the goals of the study was to identify the geographical distribution of these resistance frequencies. Thus far, specifically, they found resistance saturation levels in Florida, Texas, New York, California, and Minnesota. They stated they expect to find it in many other states, in addition to those noted above. Approximately 100% of the lice provided by Fresh Heads Lice Removal were found to be resistant to any type of chemical treatment; thus making treatments by the Revolutionary AirAllé™ Head Lice Machine to be the only available chemical-free, single-treatment option that comes with a 100% guarantee.

Treatment by the Revolutionary AirAllé™ Head Lice Machine 100% Guaranteed:
So what should you do if your child comes home with lice? Don’t panic! Super or not, Fresh Heads Lice Removal is a Science-Based Lice Removal Company that is 100% equipped to deal with Super Lice! Fresh Heads is the Exclusive Provider of the Revolutionary AirAllé™ Head Lice Machine, which provides a single treatment that does not require follow up visits or rechecks. Clinical studies have shown that the AirAllé™ device, which uses only controlled heated air (no chemicals), provides a very safe, fast and highly effective way to kill all stages of head lice, lice eggs, and “Super Lice.”