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This is not exactly news to lice experts, who say this has been happening for years. In fact, the first report about the phenomenon came from Israel in the late 1990s.

But in a new study, scientists have shed light on the full scope of this issue. They found the drug-resistant lousy invaders are crawling on heads in at least 25 states, including California, Arizona, Washington State, Texas and states along the East Coast.

Related: The Cost of Resistance

Kyong Yoon, an associate professor of biological sciences and environmental sciences at Southern Illinois University, gathered lice samples from 30 states with the help of public health workers. Yoon tested 109 lice populations and found that 104 had genetic mutations linked to resistance to pyrethroids, a family of insecticides that includes permethrin, which is the active ingredient in common lice treatments sold at drug stores.

None of this is a surprise to Michelle Aloisio, co-owner of The Hair Angels, a lice removal salon in Pasadena, California, that also makes house calls. Aloisio’s employees don’t use these chemicals, and they don’t place much stock in them. She said they don’t work for killing nits — lice eggs. Many weary parents who come to Aloisio have tried the products to get rid of the critters.

Aloisio said getting rid of lice for good takes patience and expertise.

“There’s no shortcut to removing head lice,” Aloisio told LifeZette. “We remove all the nits strand by strand, layer by layer.”

The special combs Aloisio’s employees use remove up to 90 percent of the bugs and eggs if used correctly, she said. How do they get rid of the rest? With their fingers.

“No matter how much you tell yourself that it is not your fault, you still feel like you have done something wrong.”

The biggest misconceptions about lice are that they jump and fly, and that having lice means a lack of cleanliness, Aloisio said.

Related: Legionnaire’s Outbreak

Most lice are spread through head-to-head contact. Children can pass along lice if they’re sitting close to one another reading a book or taking a selfie. The popular practice of tweens and teens snapping and sharing pictures of themselves on their smartphones has aggravated the rise in lice transmissions.

Pamela Johnston, a mom in Fullerton, California, was angry when her daughter came home from school with lice in second grade.

“There was an epidemic of lice at school and they had everyone sharing headphones after I asked them not to,” she said.

Johnston tried over-the-counter products, but quickly called a professional who came to the family’s home.

“We also (ruined) our dryer washing every linen in the house,” she said. “We had to spend $1,000 on a new dryer. Lice is a very time-consuming and expensive problem.”

April Rylaarsdam, of Fullerton, said her daughter also had lice in the second grade. “No matter how much you tell yourself it is not your fault, you still feel like you have done something wrong,” she said. “This also exacerbates the problem because I suspect people try to ignore it and don’t take care of it.”

Related: Pox Americana

Rylaarsdam said the shampoos didn’t work, and the professional service was expensive.

“Super lice freak me out,” she said.

Aloisio said she’s receiving a steady stream of calls for help, but not because of super lice. “Anytime kids have been out on any kind of break — summer break, Christmas break — it’s busy for us,” she said.

To reduce the chances of catching lice, Aloisio recommends that girls wear their hair in a tight bun, or in braids. They might also spray their hair with a repellant like mint or tea tree oil.

“If anything, it just gives you the heebie jeebies, but it’s not a health threat,” Aloisio said of lice. “The thought of having it is far worse than having it.”

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