How Long Do Head Lice Last?

How Long Do Head Lice Last?

Head lice are tiny insects that live on the head. They are not able to jump or fly, but instead cling to the hair. They are spread through head-to-head contact and the sharing of personal items. They cannot be transmitted to animals. If you suspect your child is suffering from head lice, make sure to treat them as soon as possible.

Whenever possible, wash the affected items, especially clothes, in hot water. If the items are not washable, place them into a plastic bag and store them for two weeks. Then, you can dry clean the clothes. Typically, this is enough to get rid of head lice. However, if you find that lice persist after treatment, see a dermatologist.

Head lice are usually treated within two to three weeks. This period will vary depending on the number of lice that have infested your hair. When using medicated shampoos, be sure to follow the directions carefully. Untreated lice may live as long as 30 days on your head. Fortunately, treatment for head lice should kill off these parasites within a few days. If you are worried that your child is suffering from head lice, call a doctor immediately to confirm their diagnosis. Also, make sure to inform your child’s school and day care.

Head lice can live for several hours under water. While chlorine in swimming pool water is unlikely to kill these parasites, it’s unlikely that the water in a swimming pool will spread the parasite. The main method of spreading head lice is by sharing personal items that have been infected by the lice. Therefore, children should learn to avoid sharing items with other children at the pool.