Health Alert: Super lice strikes San Diego - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Health Alert: Super lice strikes San Diego

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Students are being sent home from schools in record numbers as 'super lice' strikes San Diego County.

Teachers do routine head checks but lice is still spreading faster than ever. Administrators are calling it an epidemic.

"Years ago you really could go down to the local drug store and buy the over-the-counter lice shampoo, use that and then comb out the nits, and you were really good to go," said Donna Taconi, Carmel Mountain Preschool.

Over the years lice has become resistant to over-the-counter chemicals, so these days, schools are often telling parents to bring their kids to a professional salon that deals with head lice.

One mother and daughter's lice nightmare began months ago at a slumber party.

She initially used an over-the-counter treatment to remove the lice. "It felt like we got all the bugs out and most of the eggs and then there was some relief for a couple of days," she said.

Unfortunately, the bugs came back because even if you kill all of the lice, it is likely more than one louse laid eggs and nothing can kill these tiny eggs called nits.

Simple Head Lice Solutions operates four salons and have skilled experts in removing lice. They use an oil to suffocate the bugs, then remove each nit.

"We've treated children from 2-years-old all the way up to moms and even grandparents. Unfortunately, there is a really harsh stigma attached to lice, but lice aren't a bad thing they are attracted to cleaner hair without products," said Danielle Kline at Simple HLS.

"I have to check them before they're allowed to come back just to make sure there are no nits in their hair," Taconi said.

"No Nit" policies are controversial. The American Academy of Pediatrics says "No Nit" policies aren't necessary and lead to increased absenteeism.

The policies vary by school and district. San Diego Unified, for example, allows students to return to school with nits as long as no live bugs are found.

While discovering lice is the first step, following through and checking regularly after treatment is the key to making sure it's gone for good.

"If you have nits in your hair there is a possibility it's likely you have lice and if nits are not removed they will eventually hatch," Kline said.

Experts say one home remedy for killing lice is olive oil. You can drench your head in it to kill the bugs.

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