Good Housekeeping mag: Yikes! Super-Strains of Lice Have Spread to 25 States

Here’s what you need to know — and what you can do to treat them.

Published by Good Housekeeping Magazine, Feb. 26, 2016

To beat resistance or to avoid chemicals, parents may resort to home remedies that are ineffective at best, risky at worst: In January, a Massachusetts child suffocated in her sleep after her mother coated her hair with mayo and covered it with a plastic bag. Here are some steps for a much safer fix.

1. Call Your Pediatrician
“Not all communities have resistance, and your doc will know if it’s an issue,” says Cynthia Devore, M.D., a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). If there’s no resistance, she may suggest an OTC product with permethrin or pyrethrin — still a safe way to kill lice. If there is resistance, she may prescribe a stronger drug (but avoid Lindane, which the AAP no longer recommends — it’s been linked to seizures) or an OTC alternative.

The GHI Lab says: New Rx’s Natroba, Sklice and Ulesfia appear to be safer than Lindane. Also ask about OTC Vamousse Lice Treatment, a non-pesticide product with a form of sodium chloride (the same thing as table salt) that claims to kill lice. (There’s no solid evidence that natural “fixes” like mayo work, says Dr. Devore.)

2. Use an At-Home Kit
Whatever treatment you use, you must comb out the eggs (a.k.a. nits) with a grooved metal nit comb (left), even if the product claims to kill eggs (few do); otherwise, they’ll hatch in about 10 days and the cycle will continue. As for products that coat hair for easier combing or to loosen nits, check with your doc first. “Some ingredients, even in regular conditioners, can deactivate treatment chemicals meant to stay on the shaft,” says Dr. Devore.

The GHI Lab says: If your doc OK’s it, or you aren’t using a chemical treatment, try LiceMD Pesticide-Free ($12 for 4-ounce bottle, Amazon.com) or Licenders Natural Combing Solution ($85, Amazon.com).

3. Consider Outsourcing Nit-Picking
Though pricey, services like Licenders and Nit Nurses will do the time-intensive combing for you.

Read the full article here.