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Super Lice Not So 'Super' After All

Day Donaldson

News of the so-called "super lice" invasion has sent many parents into panic mode. It seems like schools around Wisconsin are “lousy” with the little guys, and are seemingly immune to traditional forms of lice removal.

But local pediatrician Dr. Michael O’Reilly believes the term super lice is a bit hyperbolic.

“It makes lice sound a lot more dangerous than they are. They’re really pretty innocent,” he says. “... No one’s ever died from lice. No one’s ever gone to the hospital for lice. So just hearing super lice makes them sound more scary than they really are.”

Dr. O’Reilly advises patients to continue to use over-the-counter treatments alongside certain home remedies like wet combing. While it make take more time than usual, over-the-counter shampoos are still generally effective on all kinds of lice. If that doesn’t work? Try, try again.

“This has been something that’s happened for a while. There’s always lice that, for whatever reason, are resistant to the over-the-counter treatments,” says Dr O’Reilly. “Then you just try a different treatment and that one usually works.”

Joy Powers hosts and produces Lake Effect. She joined WUWM January 2016 as a producer for Lake Effect.