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Lice FAQ's

Q: Is head lice a sign of poor hygiene or uncleanliness?

A: Lice are not an indication of hygiene, and actually prefer clean hair. Lice, however, are not prejudicial. They are only concerned with surviving and reproducing, seeking a warm scalp to feed and incubate their eggs (regardless of how dirty or clean a person is).

Q: Can lice jump or fly? How do lice spread?

A: Lice are unable to jump or fly. Lice have the ability to quickly move along the hair (at a rate of up to 9 inches a minute). The most common method of transmission is from head-to-head contact.

Q: Do I need to fumigate my house?

A: Use of fumigant sprays or fogs are not recommended. Fumigant spray and fogs can be toxic if inhaled or absorbed through the skin and are not necessary to control head lice. The best solution is to thoroughly vacuum floors, rugs, vehicles and furniture. Note: After a 24 hour period, any lice will perish without a new host to feed on.

Q: Do I need to get rid of my brushes, clothing and bedding because of lice?

A: Disposal of personal belongings is not necessary. Hair care items and accessories should be placed in a Ziploc bag and put in the freezer for a minimum of 2 hours. Bedding, clothing, pillows & stuffed toys should be washed and dried on high heat settings to sufficiently kill any lice. (If unable to wash, take items to the dry cleaner or place in dryer on high heat for a minimum of 30-45 min.)

Q: What should I do if I find head lice?

A: Take care of the problem as soon as possible to prevent further reproduction and spreading to others. Be a friend and tell your friends to have their hair checked. Notify the school, scouts, church, daycare and anyone else with a high likelihood of exposure. (Keep in mind, symptoms don't usually develop for 2-4 weeks.)

Q: Can I kill lice by dunking my head in water or swimming in chlorinated water?

A: Head lice can survive in water for long durations of time. The level of chlorine in swimming pools will not kill lice or eggs.

Q: How many people get lice annually?

A: Reliable data on how many people get head lice in the United States is not available. As a baseline, an estimated 12million cases of head lice occur each year in the United States.

Q: Are head lice dangerous?

A: Lice alone don't pose a significant threat. The general rule is that head lice do not transmit disease and are not dangerous. Unsafe treatment methods, physical symptoms, and secondary bacterial infections from scratching the scalp are the primary risks as a result of lice.

Q: Did we get lice from our pet? Can we give lice to our pet?

A: Lice are species-specific parasites. Head lice are specific to humans. You can't get lice from your pet, and likewise, can't give lice to your pet.

Q: Can I get lice from eggs or lice that fall out of someone's hair?

A: Lice eggs are firmly glued to the hair shaft by a cement-like substance, and are very difficult to remove. Eggs need the warmth of a human head to survive. Once dislodged, eggs are unable to reattach to the head. Lice and newly hatched nymphs need the warmth and humidity of a human head, as well as a blood meal every few hours to survive. Lice cannot live off the human head for more than 24 hours and begin to die after approx. 12 hours.

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