Drug-resistant head lice spreading in 25 states — should you be worried?

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HUNTSVILLE, AL - A new and potentially drug-resistant species of head lice is showing up on the heads of kids around the U.S.

So far, health officials have found this type of lice on the heads of children in 25 states, including here in Alabama.  Health officials say 95 percent of recently tested lice populations tested positive for a mutation making them resistant to over-the-counter treatments.

Dr. Lawrence Robey, Director of the Madison County Health Department, said he doesn't want parents to panic.

"This is no reason to really panic, lice are not associated with the transmission of disease... they don't cause any major health problems," said Dr. Robey.

Dr. Robey says before you panic and think you or your child has a strain of this type of lice, make sure you're following every instruction on lice treatments.

"If they tell you to apply the product to dry hair, they mean dry hair. If they tell you to leave it on overnight, they mean leave it on overnight," said Dr. Robey.

Dr. Robey says repeat treatment in seven to 10 days is a requirement, not an option because the initial treatment won't kill the eggs.

"So if you do the second treatment you catch the new ones that hatch out and you can kill the lice that way," said Dr. Robey.

If you're still concerned about you or your child picking up lice, there are some prevention options like wearing long hair tied back, not sharing hats, combs or brushes.

"Just check your child periodically.  If your child's itching, check their scalp.  If you get a note from school, don't take it lightly," said Dr. Robey.

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