Many believe that a head lice infestation is a sign of poor hygiene, but lice actually prefer a clean head. Clean hair allows nits to securely attach themselves to the hair shaft and once hatched the absence of oils enables the bugs to crawl to the scalp to feed and multiply. Nevertheless, lice are not picky and will choose a clean or dirty head to feed off of. Let’s explore the facts of lice that are frequently overshadowed by common lice myths.
Survival of the Fittest
Head lice cannot survive without blood from a scalp for a long period of time. Mature bugs can live without feeding for up to 48 hours on furniture, carpets, bedding, or toys. Nits (lice eggs) can live for up to ten days off of the head.
The Spread of Lice
Lice do not have wings or knees; they cannot fly or jump. Lice crawl from hair to hair and head to head. They typically spread from one infested person to another when heads are in direct contact. Lice can also spread through the sharing of personal items, such as, combs, towels, pillows, clothes and linens.
Prefer Clean Hair
As mentioned earlier, lice would rather a clean head. Excessive hair washing will not deter lice from making a home on your head. Contracting a lice infestation does not mean you are unhygienic. Anyone is susceptible to contracting lice.
Wash your Washables
Lice can survive for up to 48 hours off of the human head on linens and clothing. Wash your pillow cases, sheets, blankets, and clothes to be sure these insects do not re-infest.
Itching May Not Mean Lice
An itchy head does not necessarily indicate that you have lice. Some kids do not experience any itching, but may still have head lice.
Head lice are very common and contagious bugs. If your child contracts head lice, it is vital that you make your child’s school, daycare, and parents of your child’s friends aware of the infestation. Treat your child and home immediately when a lice infestation is first identified.