Report: Spike in Bay Area lice cases after 'super lice' becomes resistant to some treatments

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Parents, you may want to check your child for head lice.

RELATED: Protect your child from lice

A new report says the Bay Area experienced a 20 percent spike in lice cases in January compared the previous winter.

Lice Clinics of America released new data Tuesday saying, it's possible the "super lice" of today has become resistant to many over-the-counter products.

"Lice are tiny, wingless, parasitic insects that feed on your blood," said the Mayo Clinic. "Lice are easily spread - especially by schoolchildren - through close personal contact and by sharing belongings."

RELATED: Head lice now resistant to treatment in California

The CDC estimates up to 12 million kids are infested with head lice each year in the United States.

Lice Clinics of America has 330 clinics across its network including Castro Valley, Fremont, Sunnyvale, Redwood City and Southern San Francisco.

Other factors for the increase in lice cases include lack of understanding by the public on the life cycle of lice and how they spread, according to the report.

RELATED: Consumer Reports suggests latest techniques to treat lice

"If you have school-age children in a region where lice infestations have been reported, it's important to take some immediate steps to either prevent your children from being infested or properly treat and kill the lice before they spread to others in your family and social group," Dr. Krista Lauer, medical director of Lice Clinics of America.

Dr. Krista Lauer recommends the following to make sure lice aren't living in your child's hair:

1. Inspect your child's head at home, especially if your child has an itchy scalp. Look for eggs, nymphs and adult lice. One adult louse can lay about 100 eggs during her life span. That's a lot of new lice.

2. Call the parents of your child's friends and have them check for head lice, remembering that earlier intervention can help to reduce the infestation level.

3. If you see lice-or if you are unsure whether you have lice-visit a professional lice treatment center.

4. Remember, traditional over-the-counter treatments contain pesticides that are no longer effective. Lice have evolved into "super lice" and have developed resistance to those pesticides. Find a treatment that is safe and effective.

5. Be safe this season by starting your child on a lice prevention regimen using trusted lice prevention products such as shampoos, conditioners, sprays and hair bands that will help to keep lice away from your child's scalp.
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