'Super lice' on the rise as kids head back to school

Michelle Pedraza

LAREDO, TEXAS (KGNS) -- As kids are heading back to school, a certain type of head lice is leaving many parents scratching their heads.

It's known as "super lice," and has now spread across 48 states just in time for the new school year.

One mom from Laredo, Texas explained what she's doing to keep her kids safe.

Veronica Rios is a foster parent who has a lot of experience when it comes to dealing with lice. Over the past 11 years, she's fostered almost 100 children in Laredo.

"As soon as they come into my house, we start checking them, and as soon as we notice they have problem with the lice, we start cleaning them," said Rios.

She's currently fostering four children, and explained that lice is not something that happens at just the beginning of the school year, but all year round, since it spreads in seconds.

Her go-to remedy to combat the spread? Listerine mouthwash.

"In the bathtub, we put the Listerine in their hair," said Rios. "And then we cover the head for 10 to 15 minutes, and we comb their hair and everything comes out."

And with many parents concerned about super lice, the Laredo Health Department said there's really nothing "super" about them.

Dr. Hector Gonzalez, director of the department, explained the proper way to treat the parasites.

"Always first try the least invasive over-the-counter [medication]. Use it once, use it correctly. Doesn't work, use it a second time," Dr. Gonzalez said. "Doesn't work, now you need a prescribed medication, need to see your doctor," said Dr. Gonzalez.

The mother of three explained she's not worried about sending the kids back to school, and that treating lice also depends on hygiene.

"Take a shower, use shampoo if you can. Pick up your hair, because they can jump," Rios said. "Wash blankets, pillow cases - everything. As soon as you see one, vacuum if you have a carpet."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 6 to 12 million children across the U.S. get lice each year.

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