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Summer camp surprises: Some lice becoming resistant to treatment

Doctor explains why some lice are resistant to medicine

SAN ANTONIO – Thousands of kids partake in daily or annual rituals whether it is selfies with friends or spending a week away at camp. But they also risk sharing something else: lice.

"I work with a lot of school nurses and camp nurses and it's something that they have to deal with all the time," Dr. Robert Sanders with University Health System Pediatricians said regarding the pests.

Sanders said this summer was no different.

"That close head-to-head contact. Remember, lice don't jump,” he said. ”You really have to have that close head-to-head contact. Potentially you have to share a hat or a comb."

While many parents may try over-the-counter treatments or home remedies first, they don’t work against super-lice. In those cases, patients need to see the doctor.

Some doctors will suffocate the lice, or kill the bugs' ability to breathe internally. However, newer forms of lice are resistant to those treatments as well.

“The lice or the bacteria develop ways to overcome the medication or the chemical we use to treat it," Sanders said. “They develop new ways to become resistant to those medications.”

Doctors believe the extensive use of pesticides have led to the lice becoming stronger and resistant to traditional treatments.


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