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Experts warn that head lice have become resistant to over-the-counter remedies

Experts at the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis, America, are warning people that head lice have become immune to the most common treatments


The most popular over-the-counter remedies that would normally get rid of the lice are no longer working. As a result, lice or ‘nits’ as they are commonly known, are threatening to cause trouble for families across Britain this summer.

Data from experts has revealed that 98 per cent of head lice have developed a resistance to pyrethrins and permethrins – these are the active ingredients in most remedies available in pharmacies.

Dr Chris Belcher, the report’s lead author, has said there is ‘an increase in treatment-resistant super lice’ and ‘there are effective, non-pyrethrin, non-pyrethroid-based prescription agents that can be used if treatment with over-the-counter products such as Nix has been unsuccessful.’

In order to find a solution to the problem, the report urges parents of affected children to ask their doctor for alternative treatments.

While most treatments should only be used twice, the majority of people surveyed for the report admitted to using products at least five times before seeking medical assistance.

Some parents have been mistakenly using the products on children who have dandruff or glitter in their hair, not head lice.

This means the product is more widespread and becomes a common feature of children’s heads, which lice become used to and build a resistance to.

Researchers collected pests between July 2013 and May 2015 and the problem has been fuelled by the fact that 69 per cent of people overuse products to combat head lice.

Experts are advising parents on how to check for lice. You should first wet your child’s hair and then place a towel on their shoulders.

After this, you need to lather lots of hair conditioner onto the hair and then take a fine toothed comb to go through every section of their hair and scalp.

You also need to make sure to check behind the ears, in the nape of the neck. The conditioner will make them come out easily and make them easier to spot. 

Finally, you should brush the comb onto toilet roll which you then throw away or flush down the toilet

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