A Super Lice Guide: What Are Super Lice?

Have you heard people talk about super lice at the school gate? What are super lice? Are they different to normal head lice and should you be extra vigilant against super lice? You may have even read an article warning you about a new type of head lice.

The Hairforce are here to answer all of your questions about super lice.

What are super lice?

Super lice are quite simply head lice that have genetically mutated to become resistant to the active ingredients in the head lice treatments that are meant to kill them. To be blunt, head lice have grown out of the many head lice product treatments, so they no longer attack the louse sufficiently to kill them.

Read on to learn more about super lice and how they differ to normal head lice.

Do they look different to lice?

Super head lice do not look any different from regular head lice.  You cannot tell them physically apart from any other head lice. They are identified by their resistance to the treatments only.  

They still have the six legs with a serious claw on the end of each leg, they are the same size, they walk just as quickly, they feed just as much, and the females lay as frequently and as many eggs each day for the 30 days of their life.

Are super lice eggs differnt?

Super lice eggs are not different in any way from regular head lice eggs.  When the eggs hatch it is the lice that are then resistant to the head lice treatments and become known as super lice. Head lice treatments are not effective at killing head lice or super head lice eggs. 

It is extremely important to remove the eggs – the nits – or they will hatch, and the infestation will grow.  The best way to remove head lice eggs is with a long-toothed metal nit comb and some conditioner.

The conditioner will ease the metal nit comb through the hair and enable it to pull the eggs off the hair shaft which they are firmly glued onto. 

Wipe the metal nit comb with some toilet paper and put it straight into a bin. Once head lice eggs are detached from the hair, they are unable to hatch.  

Make sure that the nit combing is thorough, so you don’t miss anything.  When head lice lay their eggs, they lay invisible sacks of liquid so once you have nit combed you need to schedule more nit combing into the diary until all the eggs have come through and you have removed all of them.

How have treatment resistant super lice developed?

Treatment resistant super lice have developed because of how the parasite behaves and because of how humans behave. Head lice are all about survival and operate to the survival of the fittest principal. 

It is this that has ensured that they have been around since the beginning of human life. The first comb man made for instance was a nit comb. Survival of the fittest means that they operate a natural process of mutation in order to survive, so they have adapted and developed their resistance to the active ingredients used in head lice treatments. 

Additionally, humans have also assisted this process of resistance with the overuse and misuse of the products. In our desperation to get rid of head lice the products have been used in ever increasing amounts, so as with antibiotics they have become less effective as we have used them excessively, the same has happened to head lice treatments. 

Likewise, in our quest not to even catch head lice the treatments have been used ‘just in case’ when they should only be used when crawling head lice have been found. All of this has helped head lice become super lice and develop resistance to the treatments.  

What’s the best way to get rid of head lice?

The best and most effective way of getting rid of super lice is to nit comb.  There is no point in using treatment resistant lice products if they don’t work. You are simply putting chemicals into you and your child’s system for no reason. 

UK Government advice around the treatment of nits and head lice takes its lead from the Stafford Report, compiled by a group of UK doctors and scientists.  

This report declares nit combing as the most effective way to clear an infestation. But it also acknowledges that the general public lack the time, skill and experience to nit comb thoroughly enough after years of dependence on the head lice treatments.

Because of this, they need to recommend head lice treatments as a way of tackling the problem. At the same time, they also acknowledge that these treatments don’t quite do what they say they will do to shut down the problem now that treatment-resistant lice dominate, which is not really that helpful to parents in the long run.

A long-toothed metal nit comb is a super lice comb because, if you use it properly and thoroughly, it will enable you to get all the lice and all the eggs out of the hair. Super lice removal is about nit combing in an organised and thorough way – being forensic so you don’t miss a thing.  

Call us today if you need help with a Super Lice infestation.

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