Head lice resisting over-the-counter treatments - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Head lice resisting over-the-counter treatments

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Parents should not panic. Health officials say many options are still out there, they say the problem with certain over the counter drugs may just have to do with the way you use it.

Head lice medicine with the ingredient Permethrin may not work on this strain.

“The lice are kind of figuring out a way to get around it, making it stronger, but it's not a super bug,” said Alicia Whitley, Hamilton County Health Department.

In 25 states, Tennessee and Georgia included, lice are resistant the insecticide Permethrin. Head lice are in Hamilton County, but so far, not the strain that is so hard to treat.  

“We have not had any cases here at the Hamilton County Health Department. We do have cases of lice occasionally with our children, but we have not seen any super strains,” said Whitley.

Health officials say one reason products containing the Permethrin may not always work has to do with the way people use it. 

“What some people think might not be working is just user error,” said Whitley.

Following the directions exactly will not work 100% of the time on this strain, but it certainly helps. And for many folks, the health department is the first stop when they don't have a family doctor.

“We will usually use the first course of treatment which would be an over the counter medicine that you would buy at the pharmacy,” said Whitley.

If the over the counter drugs don't work, essential oils, like the ones offered at Access Family Pharmacy may do the job.

“We make a mixture here with five different oils. You usually put these on the same way as you would with other prescription items. Put that on overnight and then brush out the nits in the morning,” said Phillip Smith, Pharmacist, Access Family Pharmacy.

You may have lice crawling around if you are scratching around the neck and hairline excessively.  Remember the advice you've probably heard before. Don’t share hats, helmets, or combs. This is the time of the year when lice is a bigger problem.

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