Bed bugs or lice, just the mention makes you want to itch.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates there are anywhere from six to 12 million infestations of lice per year. The lice are transferred most frequently by heads touching heads, not in the sharing of hats or scarves as was often the thought of the past. Activities such as sports, community napping, or playtime are the most common culprits.
A more common term that was first recognized several years ago is a strain of mutated lice, referred to as “super lice.” Super lice breed quickly and make them adept at avoiding louse heaven through genetic modification, which is why they are referred to with the “super” label.
Head lice are parasitic insects that improve their lifespan off of feeding on our blood. An adult louse is grayish white to tan in color and is about the size of a small seed. Eggs or nits look like little yellow or brown dots and are laid on the scalp.
Adult lice live about three weeks. Females only lay about five eggs a day. Each egg is essentially “cemented” to a hair follicle, so they do not easily fall out. They are immobile and do not grow or cause any health issues.
Henry Fox, owner of Henry N. Fox Professional Pest Management, Once adult lice are fully developed within the egg capsule, the nymph (immature adult) will break out of its shell and commence feeding. They molt and shed their skin multiple times until becoming an adult. Nymphs and adults will only feed on human blood.
Symptoms of lice
The symptoms of lice are itching, scratching, or a crawling sensation on the head. This can lead to an allergic reaction, infection, itching, or severe swelling.
Super lice don’t look any different from common lice. The primary difference though is they are more resistant to treatments which make them harder to eradicate and kill. The most popular over-the-counter treatment products are Rid and Nix which both contains permethrin, which has poor results and in essence lice ar thumbing their noses at it. The problem is these products target the adults and not the reproduction of the eggs.
New lice control products and cleaning
There are several lice control products now available. Sklice is available by prescription and contains the active ingredient Ivermectin which is used by professionals to control cockroaches.
Most professionals believe that lice will die after a 24-hour absence from the body. There are some though that think that lice can survive for several days away from their host. That part is up for debate.
The good news is bed bugs — lice or super lice are treatable, and so are linens and clothing.