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Frequently Asked Questions

How did my child get head lice?

Head-to-head contact with an already infested person is the most common way to get head lice. Head-to-head contact is common during play at school, at home, and elsewhere (sports activities, playground, slumber parties, camp).


Although uncommon, head lice can be spread by sharing clothing or belongings. This happens when lice crawl, or nits attached to shed hair hatch, and get on the shared clothing or belongings. Examples include:

sharing clothing (hats, scarves, coats, sports uniforms) or articles (hair ribbons, barrettes, combs, brushes, towels, stuffed animals) recently worn or used by an infested person;

or lying on a bed, couch, pillow, or carpet that has recently been in contact with an infested person.

Can swimming spread lice?

Data show that head lice can survive under water for several hours but are unlikely to be spread by the water in a swimming pool. Head lice have been seen to hold tightly to human hair and not let go when submerged under water. Chlorine levels found in pool water do not kill head lice.


Head lice may be spread by sharing towels or other items that have been in contact with an infested person’s hair, although such spread is uncommon. Children should be taught not to share towels, hair brushes, and similar items either at the poolside or in the changing room.


Swimming or washing the hair within 1–2 days after treatment with some head lice medicines might make some treatments less effective. Seek the advice of your health care provider or health department if you have questions.

Is itching a sign or symptom?

For those who have head lice, only around 40% will itch.  Itching is not always a symptom.  We itch due to a histamine reaction to the saliva of the louse (bug), similar to that of a mosquito bite.  Some of us are affected a great deal, while others do not have much of a reaction at all.

What are the signs and symptoms of head lice infestation?

  • Tickling feeling of something moving in the hair.

  • Itching, caused by an allergic reaction to the bites of the head louse.

  • Irritability and difficulty sleeping; head lice are most active in the dark.

  • Sores on the head caused by scratching. These sores can sometimes become infected with bacteria found on the person’s skin.

Do head lice spread disease?

Head lice should not be considered as a medical or public health hazard. Head lice are not known to spread disease. Head lice can be an annoyance because their presence may cause itching and loss of sleep. Sometimes the itching can lead to excessive scratching that can sometimes increase the chance of a secondary skin infection.

Does lice removal hurt?

Lice removal does not hurt. A good quality lice comb like our Professional Lice & Nit Terminator Comb with the proper tolerances between the long tines, is designed to work effectively on all hair types. We also use conditioner during our combing process making lice removal very comfortable. Some people are more sensitive to lice removal but if done by a professional service provider it is a painless experience. In fact many clients say they feel like they are getting a spa treatment and that the after-effect is soft, shiny and well-conditioned hair.

Do I need to spray my furniture and bedding?

Head lice are human parasites and require human blood to survive. They are not environmental pests so pesticidal sprays for furniture and bedding are unnecessary and a serious risk to health. Vacuuming is the safest and best way to remove lice or fallen hairs with attached nits from upholstered furniture, rugs, stuffed animals and cars. Remember that lice are not living in your environment, they are living on you.

Do I have to bag stuffed animals and other items?

Experts used to suggest bagging items such as stuffed animals for a number of weeks to help bring infestations under control. Since lice cannot survive without human blood, this is unnecessary. Vacuuming is a sufficient safeguard for any questionable areas or items that may be in contact with those who are infested. You can also put bed linens, stuffed animals and other items in a dryer for 30 minutes.

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