While those of us who live in the city typically don’t worry about it, many people who live just outside of town, either on a farm or near one, have become concerned about whether it’s possible for lice to transfer from chickens to humans. We’ve also seen increased concern over this question as the demand increases for free-range or farm-raised chicken.
Fortunately for you, Fresh Heads is here with the answers you’re looking for! In this article, we’ll discuss critical facts about chicken lice, and how people came to believe they can transfer to humans (and why this actually isn’t the case at all!). We’ll also talk about the root cause of lice among humans, and professional lice treatments—like those from Fresh Heads—to defend you against this pesky parasite.
What Are Chicken Lice?
Chicken lice are an invasive species that thrives in different environments and affects most poultry breeds. This is why both small-scale and industrialized chicken farmers look for the telltale signs of chicken lice among each flock.
In particular, farmers look for chickens with a significant loss of feather coverage, patchy appearance on their skin, or that are itching uncontrollably. Lice-infested poultry also develop anemia. Although it’s extremely rare for most well-raised chickens to die from a lice infestation, it can affect their quality of life, as well as affect the quality of their meat if they are raised for food.
The Truth About Chicken Lice and Human Transmission
Chicken lice can be a real infestation that can affect your flock, but you don’t have to worry about them transferring to you or your children because that’s a myth! That’s because chicken lice are actually a different species entirely from their human-feeding counterpart. Chicken lice (menacanthus stramineus) have six legs and no wings, are brown or yellow, and feed only on the blood of chickens. Head lice (pediculus humanus capitis) also have six legs and no wings, but they are grayish-white, and feed only on the blood of humans.
What Causes Head Lice in Humans and What Are the Signs?
Now that you can rest assured that you can’t get chicken lice, you can focus on the real nuisance that can affect you and your family: head lice. Let’s cover some quick facts about head lice so you can know what you’re dealing with:
• You Can See Head Lice, but It’s Often Hard without a Magnifier
You will need a magnifying glass held close to your scalp to see either immature and full-grown pests. Adult head lice are about the size of a sesame seed. Lice nits are even smaller—the size of a poppy seed.
• Sleep Deprivation and Severe Itching Are Early Signs of Infestation
Apart from other scalp concerns like dandruff, if your child is complaining about having difficulty sleeping, or if they have uncontrollable itching, you may be dealing with head lice.
• Head-to-Head Lice Contact Is the Primary Cause
Lice experts and health professionals agree that head-to-head contact is the most common way to get lice. So, in order to avoid getting lice, don’t put your head in close contact with others. And if you do find out you have lice, you should warn others that you were in close contact with to check their scalps and seek professional lice removal services immediately.
Effective Lice Treatment in Savannah, Jacksonville, and Orlando
If you do find out that you have head lice, Fresh Heads offers a wide range of head lice removal services for your convenience! Our clinics use our exclusive AirAllé device, an FDA-cleared device that blows warm air to dehydrate and kill both adult lice and lice eggs in a single treatment! The best part about our services is that they are completely safe and natural, so you don’t have to worry about exposing your children to harmful chemicals. Book your appointment today.
Schools Without Lice
Our mission at Fresh Heads Lice Removal is to eradicate lice from schools across the US. We’re partnering with the Lice Clinics of America to create a Schools Without Lice program. Through this program, we provide school nurses and teachers with free resources, screenings, and treatments. If we work together, we can have schools without lice!