Fort Myers Parent Battle "Super Lice" in Peak Lice Season

According to LiceDoctors Head Lice Treatment Service, mutated strains of head lice, dubbed "super lice" are proving highly resistant to traditional chemical treatments contributing to jump in the number of cases reported.

Fort Myers, FL, September 21, 2013 --( If you have a school age child, then the words "head lice" likely strike a chord of fear. These bugs can be hard to find in the head and they are becoming more resistant to traditional chemical treatments. The beginning months of school generally reflect the peak of head lice season. Head lice are the second largest cause of school absenteeism after the common cold.

According to Wendy Beck, owner of LiceDoctors Head Lice Treatment Service, who is a pioneer in the field of lice treatment with 18 years’ experience, every year with the end of camp and the beginning of school, there are significant outbreaks of head lice. "This year we are seeing a significant increase in the incidence of head lice among school age children in Fort Myers as well as in surrounding areas," reports Ms. Beck.

Ms. Beck attributes the increase in large part to a growing resistance to the chemical treatments. "Often parents think that their children are lice and nit-free after treatment with pesticides, but if nits are left in the hair and there is no effective follow-up plan then the case will start up again. In addition, various strains of lice are so hearty that they are immune to chemical treatments.” In addition, some people with lice have no symptoms so they are not even aware that they are walking around in a contagious state.

Compounding the problem is the fact that nits often camouflage in the hair, rendering them very difficult for the untrained eye to detect. Nits are translucent shells that are glued to the hair shaft; they contain a small brown bug called a nymph. These nits are particularly difficult to find in dark hair. Pulling the nit from the hair and placing it on a white background allows the viewer to see if the object is a nit or simply a piece of dandruff.

In addition, based on recommendations from the American Pediatric Association, many schools have begun to move away from “no nit” policies. The rationale is that by the time head lice are discovered in a child’s hair, they have likely been there several weeks giving the lice ample time to spread to other children. Since children are missing so much school, and are not in fact sick, the suggestion is that it is better for these students to remain in school. In addition, it is important to distinguish between lice and nits; the lice are contagious, while nits (eggs) are not. However, because some students have nits and are not effectively treating them, the nits hatch and then the bugs will eventually be transmitted to other children, thereby perpetuating the problem.

The best way to identify nits is to bring the child to a bright spot, either by a window, outside, or where there is a bright lamp. The light reflects against the translucent shell which makes it easier to find them. According to Ms. Beck, "The most important thing to remember if your child has lice is that to truly eradicate a case, every nit must be removed. Once all of the nits are gone, then the child is completely lice-free."

LiceDoctors can be reached in Fort Myers at 239-305-8819 or on the web at
Wendy Beck