"Super" Lice, Simply Treated

segment on super lice - early show - Sept. 11, 2008 CBS

Some forms of lice, dubbed "super lice," appear to have developed resistance to medications in recent years, but the bugs can still be treated effectively and relatively easily, according to one pediatrician.

Dr. Daniel Rauch, of New York University, told Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith Thursday there "really is such a thing as a super louse, or lice, that are resistant to medication. The answer to that, though, is that we really don't need to treat them with ... medications. There are simpler methods of getting rid of lice.

"The best way to find (lice) is to carefully inspect the scalp. It's hard to find the active adult lice, because they sense the moving of the hair and they run away. They don't want to be found. What you need to do is inspect the scalp and hair close to the scalp, and look for the eggs."

Rauch says that, while unappealing, lice aren't actually harmful.

Still, people want to get rid of them, and the best way is "to smother" them, Rauch says. "You don't anything that's an insecticide or pesticide like some of the over-the-counter products that there really is an incidence of resistance to. Some of the lice eat that for breakfast and spit it out, and it's not very good."

One solution? Mayonnaise! "The benefit of this," Rauch says, is that "it does work. The downside is it's not particularly appetizing and has to stay on the head for probably two, three, or four hours. This is tough to do if you have a little child at home, and that's where some of the other products are much more beneficial -- something like Lice M.D., which has to be applied for ten minutes, and then you can start combing effectively.

"Then, some people believe in just conditioning the hair, very vigorously and effectively under hot water and then again, what's most important or equally as important as the product you use is -- combing effectively."

Olive oil left on for at least two hours can also do the trick, Rauch pointed out.

He added that the perceived resistance may simply be a matter of treatments not being applied properly -- not leaving them on long enough, or combing thoroughly enough.
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