6 to 12 million children get lice each year in the U.S., according to a recent article by CNN. While this may not be news to you as a parent, what is surprising is that lice are getting harder to kill and get rid of. CNN is calling it “mutant lice”, resistant to common, over-the-counter chemical treatments used to treat lice.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the first step to getting rid of lice is to use a treatment like Nix or Rid that you can find at your local drugstore. They’re easy to use and affordable, and until now, pretty effective and reliable when used correctly.

The problem: scientists are discovering that lice are beginning to become tolerant to these over-the-counter medications by gene mutation. The American Academy of Pediatrics assures us that while this isn’t a huge issue right now, it can be in the future.

So what should you be doing at home to prevent and control lice? Check your kids’ head and hair frequently, especially during the school season, and be on the lookout for frequent itching. Finding it early can reduce the chances of lice spreading to other family members or other children at school. If you find lice, use an over-the-counter treatment immediately and be sure to follow the directions. Also, it’s important to check everyone else in your home for lice (including you). Wash any clothing or bedding that the lice could have come in contact with. To prevent lice, don’t allow your children to share hats or hair brushes with other children. And if prevention and at-home treatments don’t work, contact your pediatrician.

Read the full CNN article here.

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