Do Head Lice Need Oxygen?

Do Head Lice Need Oxygen?

When it comes to head lice, do they need oxygen? The question is not necessarily a simple one. While they may not require oxygen to survive, some of their adaptations make this a question worth considering. As a result, effective countermeasures against head lice infestation are needed that take these adaptations into account.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are six to 12 million cases of head lice each year, and most occur in children ages three to 11 years. This is because children are often in close contact while playing. Lice have six claws, which enable them to latch onto a single hair shaft and reach the scalp to feed. Despite their size, head lice are not able to fly, hop, or swim.

One of the most effective ways to kill head lice is by suffocation, which reduces their breathing ability. To suffocate head lice, their spiracles must be blocked. A high-temperature wash machine is best for killing lice, but it should not kill the head lice themselves.

In a study published in the journal Pediatric Dermatology, researchers found that an entirely new non-neurotoxic treatment for head lice has a 91.2% treatment success rate within one week. This treatment is safe for children as young as six months.