Do Head Lice Survive in the Cold?

This time of year some parents stop worrying about their children contracting head lice. Many feel that like other insect life, lice grow dormant in the cold weather and don’t pose a risk. What is the truth about head lice and cold weather? What should parents know? Here are some cold weather lice facts that will give you a quick lesson on what to know and expect.


Fact #1 – Lice Survive Through the Winter

Head lice are not like other types of insects that live outside and are therefore nowhere to be found once the cold temperatures set in. Lice are wingless insects that spend their entire lives on the human scalp and feeding exclusively on human blood. As long as their host is a warm 98.6 degrees and providing a comfortable, safe environment for them to live lice are not affected by the temperature outside.

Fact #2 – Being Stuck Indoors Can Increase the Spread of Head Lice

Winter may drive us mostly indoors, but in reality that poses a higher risk for the spread of head lice. Closed quarters inside a home with many people such as a holiday vacation, birthday parties or spending time after school with friends playing video games or doing school projects are all times when normal kids could pass on head lice to each other. When other times of the year they may be enjoying the wide open spaces of the great outdoors, winter gives children more opportunity to be closed up inside together. Watch for head to head contact through sharing pillows and blankets, sharing headphones or headgear, and make sure kids know not to trade winter gear if they do sneak outside for a little cold weather fun.

Fact #3 – Winter Weather Gear Poses a Risk

When beanies, hoodies, sweaters or hats are worn often the risk of passing on head lice or nits increases when those items are left around to infect other’s belongings. Have you ever noticed what your young children do with their coat, hat and gloves when they arrive at a friend’s house or a ballet class? Usually they all end up in a heaping pile by the door. That pile could be a disaster in the making if even one child’s hat or hoodie is infested with lice or nits. Teach children to always hang up their winter coats and place loose items like gloves or hats in their coat pockets. Take your child’s winter gear and place them in the dryer on high heat for 20 minutes. If you do this once a week, or as often as you feel is needed, it can go a long way in preventing head lice.

Fact #4 – Head Checks are Always in Season

Take the time to perform head lice checks on your children throughout the winter season. Using a fine tooth comb, sift through their hair and be on the lookout for nits, rashes, live lice or red bumps. If you have any concerns or questions contact Lice Clinics of America to speak with a professional about what to look for. We can give you immediate help and results to diagnose, eliminate and prevent head lice for your family this winter. 


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