With Halloween right around the corner and little ones enjoying dressing up in costume, masks and wigs and such, we thought it the opportune time to remind our readers how lice are spread and some tips for preventing lice transmission so your kids can enjoy this fun time of year lice free.
How Lice Are Spread
Lice are almost always caught by another person, usually children. This can be from head-to-head contact like when sharing a bed or playing in close proximity.
Contrary to popular misconceptions, lice are typically not spread by sharing items. Head lice must feed on human blood in order to survive. An adult head louse will die within 24 to 48 hours of being off a human head. Nymphs can only live for several hours without feeding. Nits must be kept warm by the scalp, and are therefore not viable when off of a human head.
For all of these reasons, it is not very likely that lice will spread by way of inanimate objects. However, it is not impossible, and therefore basic cleaning of bedding, carpets, upholstered furniture, hairbrushes, stuffed animals, hair ties, and clothing should be done whenever head lice are found in the home.
Can Lice Jump From One Person to Another?
No. Because lice cannot jump or fly, they crawl from one person to another, using their claws to grab onto hair. Head lice can’t survive more than a day or so without a meal of blood so those “on the loose” will soon die off.
How to Prevent the Spread of Lice
Keeping your head away from other heads is your best chance at not getting infested. If you have long hair, putting it in a bun or braid will help.
Because 50 percent of the time people get infested with other family members, make sure everyone in your family gets checked (and if necessary, treated) when any family member has lice. There are lice repellant products on the market that contain essential oils that lice don’t like to smell. In vitro tests show lice will stay away from essential oils used in those products.
Can I Get Lice From My Pet?
No. Lice do not live on animals. Pets play no role in the spread of head lice.
If There’s an Outbreak
- If you know of an outbreak in the area, avoid sleepovers and slumber parties until the outbreak clears up.
- Machine wash and dry, at high temperatures, any bedding, and clothing used by anyone having lice.
- Call Fresh Heads in the Jacksonville, Orlando and Savannah areas for head checks and if needed, speedy and efficient removal of all lice and nits.
Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to a happy and head-lice free Halloween!