SEATTLE -- If your kids are in school, you're bound at some point to get that note telling you that someone in class has lice. And getting rid of those little buggers can be more difficult than ever.
Section by section, Nancy Gordon is on the hunt. It’s a meticulous process.
“You have to make sure you comb through all parts of the hair first and get all the bugs out,” she said.
Pointing at one, she added, “That’s an adult bug.”
Gordon, the owner of the Seattle-based treatment shop Lice Knowing You, has been in the lice-removal business for years, but lately she's noticing something new.
“I would say they're bigger than what may have been found years ago,” she said. “People treat at home once, twice, even three times, and they don't end up getting rid of it and it comes back.”
It's estimated that more than half of all head lice are now what are being called “super lice.”
They've got stronger exoskeletons -- and have grown resistant to over-the-counter chemical shampoos.
“I did treatments at home ... did multiple treatments at home on all the kids,” said a Bainbridge Island mom who came into the shop to have herself and her three children treated. And she suspects super lice may be to blame.
“Obviously, what I did before, I didn’t want to go through that again. It took hours to do it,” she said.
The bugs feed on blood from the scalp and, over time, can take a toll on a child's health.
“They affect your sleep, your immune system if you've had them for long enough. We'll often see people who have swollen lymph nodes in the back of their neck,” Gordon said.
She added that the best treatment is to skip the shampoo and do it the old-fashioned way.
“If you don't have a good comb, you're really going to be in trouble,” Gordon said.
You can comb out all the lice and their eggs, or nits, in 30 to 90 minutes, depending on how long your child's hair is. After that, keep a close eye on their head.
“Once a week, sneak a peek is our motto here. If you get a note home from school, you`re going to check more frequently. If they come home from a play date, check.”
Lice cannot survive once they are not on the scalp.
In your home, you only need to wash your child`s bedding, and the clothes they are wearing that day.
Any toys they sleep with can be put in the dryer for half an hour.
Bugs will die once off the head for 12 hours.