Myth vs. Fact: Are Lice More Attracted to Certain Blood Types?
For many generations, the scientific research available on head lice has been limited. For this reason, many people have come to assume some things that just aren’t true. This is especially the case when it comes to the causes of head lice. Old myths about the causes of lice infestations continue to pop up, causing unnecessary panic among parents. One of the warnings that parents still come across is that lice are attracted to certain blood types.
While it’s understandable for parents to want to rely on any and all information they can gather in order to protect their children, listening to rumors can cause you to deal with unnecessary fears. This is why you should only rely on trustworthy sources to keep you informed of the proper ways to defend against infestations. Rest assured, Fresh Heads is here to set the record straight about the connection between lice and blood types. The answer is, that although this is a widely popular myth, there is a small element of truth to it. However, this element of truth has next to no impact on the chances of your child getting, or not getting, head lice. Let’s explain:
Lice Are Attracted to All Blood Types
First of all, lice don’t have to have the same blood type as their host, and lice don’t prefer a specific blood type. So, regardless of whether your child is A, B, AB or O, it won’t increase or decrease their chances of getting lice. However, the ability of lice to transfer from one head to another is based on the compatibility of the new host’s blood Rh factor.
What Is an Rh Factor?
In addition to its type (A, B, AB, or O), blood can have a positive or negative Rhesus factor, or Rh factor, which is the presence or absence of a certain type of protein found on the outside of the blood cells. For this reason, each blood type can be further grouped as either Rh positive or Rh negative.
Lice Require the Same Rh Factor in a New Host
Once they hatch, head lice must continue to feed on blood with the same Rh factor for their entire lives. This is because if they change Rh factors, the incompatibility will cause their intestinal tract to explode. For this reason, lice will stay on their original host even if there are other feeding areas nearby.
Lice can therefore only transfer from one person to another if the previous host and new host both have the same Rh factor. This means that A+, B+, AB+, and O+ children can pass lice to each other. Conversely, A-, B-, AB-, and O- can pass lice to each other.
Lice Will Change Rh Factors to Avoid Starvation
In the event a louse is starving, it can feed on a host with a different Rh factor. Yes, this will eventually lead to that louse’s death. However, if the louse is a female who is able to lay her eggs before dying, the infestation will continue unhindered—as her hatchlings will be compatible with the new host from the moment they start feeding. After all, survival is a louse’s main instinct.
In the End, Blood Type Doesn’t Play a Role
In the end, it’s true that the speed with which lice are able to spread among a group of children in a class or group can depend on the positive or negative Rh values of their blood. And on some rare occasions, your child could avoid becoming infested if their Rh factor is incompatible with another child who has a lice infestation. However, due to the prevalence of each of these blood groups, as well as the prevalence of lice, your child’s overall chances of getting infested are the same.
Professional Head Lice Removal Treatments in Jacksonville, FL
It’s important to know the truth about lice infestations to determine what’s a real concern, and how to get the right treatment. Many parents seek out our head lice removal clinics because we provide facts to disprove myths and provide science-based treatment. This is why you should entrust your child’s health and safety to our professionals.
Get Rid of Lice with Help from the Professionals
Fresh Heads Lice Removal is a professional head lice treatment center that offers head lice removal in Jacksonville, Orlando, and Savannah. Inquire about our AirAllé® treatment, which can solve your child’s lice troubles in just over an hour! Our trained professionals give you the best and most comfortable care for your lice-related concerns. Book your appointment today!
Schools Without Lice
At Fresh Heads Lice Removal, our mission is to get rid of lice in schools across the United States. We’ve partnered with the Lice Clinics of America to create the Schools Without Lice program. Through this program, we provide school nurses and teachers with free screenings, resources, and treatments. Together, we can have schools without lice!