Many parents automatically think that because the weather turns colder, head lice die off. What happens to head lice during the winter? Is head lice still a problem I should be worried about?
What You Need to Know About Head Lice and Winter
Head Lice Do Not Die-Off
Head lice are still active and spreading throughout the winter months. Why do head lice stick around when the weather is colder when other insects don’t? Lice are human parasites. As long as the humans they inhabit are warm they are happy! Head lice need a host to provide shelter, warmth, humidity and food supply. Most people spend their time indoors and therefore lice are not left out in the elements to die. Their human host keeps them alive and well.
Cold Weather Doesn’t Change How Head Lice Spread
Summer camp, back to school, and spring break are all major times we see a spike in the spread of head lice. Without a doubt winter breaks fall in the same category. Children may not be outside on playgrounds or sharing swimming towels, but they are spending time with family or friends in closer confined areas doing various activities through the winter months indoors. Spreading of head lice can happen just as easily as other times.
What Should I Know To Prevent Spreading of Head Lice This Winter?
Knowing some of the biggest risks is a great way to avoid head lice. Vacations spent at cousin’s houses or visiting overnight with friends are a common risk. Make sure to pack your own pillows, blankets, and towels to help prevent spreading infection. Also, wash bedding as soon as your little one returns home to be extra cautious.
Winter Clothing and School Gear Should Not Be Shared
Hats, gloves, scarves, hoodies and beanies are all a source for spreading lice or nits during the winter. Have you ever walked into your child’s ballet or parkour class and seen a huge pile of shoes, socks, sweaters, and hoodies on the floor? Kids don’t think about keeping their belongings away from other items that could have head lice. Teach them to hang up their stuff and keep it away from the pile-up of potentially head lice-infested clothing of their teammates. Sharing winter gear as you enjoy the outside sports is also not recommended. Wash gear or place in warm dryer for 20 minutes to kill any head lice or nits that could be transferred to your child.
Contact Lice Clinics of America with any further questions, concerns or advice aboutwinter cases of head lice! We are your trusted source for prevention, elimination and all things head lice!