Why does my child (or I) have them?

Head lice enjoy a clean environment, so don’t assume you’re dirty if you or your child contract them. It’s possible for anyone to get head lice.

Head lice are transferred from person-to-person by hair-to-hair or head to head contact. The lice do not jump, fly or swim. Lice walk from one hair to another.

Head lice cannot be transmitted by dogs, cats or family pets and they don’t come from trees. They live only on the human head although can survive off the head for up to 2-3 days.

Head lice can be spread by sharing the following items with a person who has lice, although this is far less common than head to head contact:

  • Bedding (bed linen, sheets, blankets, pillows, pillow-cases)
  • Brushes and combs (this is a common one)
  • Hair decorations, such as hair bands, barrettes, etc.
  • Hats and any type of headgear
  • Clothing
  • Cushions
  • Car seats
  • Headphones
  • Towels
  • Upholstered furniture (furniture with soft padding, such as sofas, armchairs, etc)

Lice can survive only 2-3 days away from the scalp, however that does give them 2-3 days to find their way back to a host. It is important to remember that lice are not breeding in your furniture or infesting your house. Vacuuming floors and upholstered furniture, washing bedding and drying in high heat for 20 mins is all you need to do. You are basically trying to pick up any stray lice, or hairs that might contain lice or nits so they do not have a chance to climb back onto someone.You do not need to spend money on special furniture sprays or laundry detergents.