Head lice are tiny parasites that live on a person’s scalp and hair. Some people believe that head lice prefer clean hair, but research suggests this may not be the case.
They do not fly, hop, or jump but can crawl quickly. These parasites mainly transmit directly from one person’s head to another. Children
- sports activities
This article discusses whether lice like clean hair and how to prevent people from getting them. It also answers some common questions about lice.
Anybody can get lice, and the
For example, one 2015 study on primary school children in Iran found that children from families who share combs, do not have access to a bathroom in their home, and do not bathe frequently are more prone to getting lice. The researchers also found that children from larger families are more likely to get lice.
Similarly, the authors of a
The researchers of a
- school children
- people experiencing homelessness
- people in challenging living situations
The authors of the review also found that girls tend to get head lice more often than boys because they tend to group together more closely. The researchers also suggested that lice and nits may be more challenging to detect and treat in long hair.
People may be able to
- Avoiding head-to-head contact during play and other activities where close contact frequently occurs.
- Refraining from sharing clothing such as coats, scarves, uniforms, and hats.
- Refraining from sharing personal items such as combs and brushes.
- Disinfecting combs and brushes someone with lice has used by soaking them in at least 130°F (54.4°C) water for 5–10 minutes.
- Avoiding lying on furniture or items that have recently been in contact with a person with lice. These include beds, couches, pillows, and stuffed toys.
- Washing all washable items that a person with lice has used in the past 2 days before treatment using a 130°F (54.4°C) laundry cycle and high heat dry cycle. These items may include clothing and bed sheets.
- Drycleaning any nonwashable items that a person with lice has used in the past 2 days before lice treatment or sealing these items in a plastic bag for 2 weeks.
- Vacuuming all the areas a person with lice has sat or laid on, including the floor and furniture.
- Refraining from using fumigant fogs or sprays. These substances can be toxic for people and are not necessary to manage lice.
Below are some of the most common questions and answers about lice.
What are lice attracted to?
Lice can affect anyone. They are
Do certain hair types attract lice?
Head lice do not prefer a specific type, color, or hair thickness. However, in the United States, head lice are
Are some people immune to lice?
No one is immune to head lice. However, in the U.S., head lice are
Head lice do not prefer clean hair, and getting lice is not an indication of someone’s cleanliness or the cleanliness of their environment. However, some research suggests that some people may be more prone to lice than others.
While anyone can get head lice, a person can take measures to help manage them and avoid others from getting them. Individuals can speak with a healthcare professional for further information about preventing and treating lice.