Can Head Lice Survive Off the Head?

Can Head Lice Survive Off the Head?

While head lice spend most of their time on the head of their hosts, some species can survive off the head for a short period of time. These bugs live on a hairy surface, such as the scalp, and feed on the blood of their hosts. Human head hair acts as an insulator and is a perfect place for them to lay their eggs. Even if you do not have a pet, you are still likely to contract head lice if you come in contact with an infested person.

Once a head lice has been removed from its host, it will usually perish. However, some types of lice can survive off the head for a day or more without feeding. Adult lice can survive for a day or two without feeding, while young lice may only survive a few hours. Lice nits will also generally die after a week. This is because they cannot survive in temperatures below the scalp. In case you accidentally come into contact with a head lice sufferer, you should use a preventative treatment.

Head lice are not difficult to spread from person to person. The most common way they spread is through head-to-head contact. This occurs during play, sports activities, and slumber parties. Even lying on the same bed with an infected person can spread the infection. However, pets do not play a role in spreading head lice.