New 'mutant' head lice making the rounds

More information about a new kind of mutant head lice.

In Health Works it's not news anyone wants to hear, head lice makes you squeamish already, now there are mutant lice making the rounds - which are even tougher to treat.

In a couple of dozen states, Michigan not included yet, there are lice that are resistant to over the counter treatments.

It's alarming- because so many products aren't working and so many kids are vulnerable to lice.

"They like clean, they like dirty, they like rich, they like poor," said Dr. Joann Robinson, Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital. "Even adults can get head lice."

The small sesame-seed sized insects like to live in human hair and are passed from person to person by crawling.

Robinson says they're usually spread through close contact like the sharing of hats, combs, brushes or pillows. Head lice don't spread disease but they can cause itching when they bite.

Itching is one of the telltale signs your child has lice, especially if they're itching behind the ears and at the back of the neck. Lice are very tiny brownish-grey crab-like bugs and they move fast.

They also leave little white lice eggs, called nits, in the hair.

"They will almost look like dandruff flakes," Robinson said. "Except they may be approximately one-inch away from the scalp and they're sticky."

Michigan is the only state so far to have a population of lice that is still largely treatable with common over the counter treatments.

Robinson recommends first trying over-the-counter products specifically made to get rid of lice. If the treatments don't work she advises seeing your doctor for prescription treatment options. 


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