If you’ve ever had head lice, you know it’s something you’d never wish upon your enemies. Head lice are highly prevalent in children aged 3 to 11. Lice are more likely to make their way into your house if you’re a parent, teacher, or caregiver.
Medically Reviewed by Dr. K 26 Nov 2021.
5 Ways to Lower Your Odds of Getting Lice
You may have lice and be completely unaware of it. Lice eggs (nits) are challenging to detect at first and may not irritate. Although it is not always feasible to keep these mites at bay, you may decrease your risk by following a few straightforward measures. Here are five things to keep in mind when it comes to lice prevention.
Watch Your Head
Lice attach themselves to the body. They are unable to fly or leap. Head-to-head contact is the most common way for them to spread. To get lice, you generally have to be near someone who has it. As much as possible, avoid activities that entail hair-to-hair contact.
It’s Nice to Share, But Not Always
That hat on the shop shelf may seem appealing and would make a fantastic selfie, but think carefully before trying it on. If you share hats, sweatshirts, towels, mattresses, and pillows with someone who has or recently had lice, you may risk catching it. Lice may spread via combs and brushes. This kind of “shared contact" is rare, but it does happen. After sliding off the body, lice may survive for a day or two. Never share anything that comes into contact with the head to avoid lice.
Don’t Lend an Ear
Lice seldom survive on hard surfaces like plastic, although they may sometimes be found on earbuds for a brief period. Don’t share headphones at home or at the gym to reduce your chances of becoming infected.
Avoid the Comfy Couch
It may be tempting to sit on the comfortable couch at the doctor’s office or the library, but consider who sat there before you. On upholstered furniture and carpets, lice or lice eggs (nits) may survive for up to 48 hours. A wooden or plastic chair is a better bet. Lice like to hide in stuffed animals as well.
Do Your Laundry
Are you concerned that you may have been exposed to lice? When lice are exposed to temperatures of 53.5°C or higher for 5 minutes or longer, they perish. Toss your clothes, hat, jacket, scarf, gloves, and other things into the laundry to avoid a lice infestation. Use hot water (54.4°C or more) and a high-heat dryer. Put your combs and brushes in the washing machine as well. Can’t wash something? Place it in a plastic bag and store it for two weeks.
- American Academy of Dermatology: “Head Lice.”
- CDC: “Prevention and Control,” “Epidemiology & Risk Factors,” “Treatment.”
- FDA: “Treating Head Lice.”