Lice love winter! Like humans, lice see the colder season as the perfect time to nestle up in warmth. Unfortunately, the coziness they seek is found on human heads. Lice are wingless insects that survive by feeding on blood from human scalps. They are easily transmissible through both direct and indirect head-to-head contact. It’s important to be prepared for lice this winter because getting treatment at the first sign of itching, crawling, or scabbing can help to stop an outbreak in its tracks!
Where Do Lice Come From?
Lice are unavoidable. Scientists believe they’ve been hopping from human to human for around 800,000 years. Unfortunately, humans are ideal carriers for lice. Homes, schools, playgrounds, stores, laundromats, hospitals, offices, planes, and many other spots are transmission spots for lice.
How Do You Get Lice?
People get lice from other people. However, that doesn’t always mean getting lice through direct contact. Any type of head-to-head contact spreads lice. Here are the most common ways to catch lice:
- Hugging or huddling.
- Playing closely with another person.
- Sitting closely with another person.
- Sharing hats, helmets, scarves, hair ties, headbands, or other personal items with others.
- Sharing towels, pillows, bedding, or sleeping bags with another person.
- Sharing combs and brushes with another person.
- Sitting on a plush surface that was recently used by a person with lice.
People of all ages can get lice. However, the lice problem in Florida schools is caused by the simple fact that school-aged kids are more likely to “huddle” together in close contact while playing. Lice will often crawl from one child’s hair to another as kids play. Classrooms can also spread lice. One smart lice tip for teachers in Florida is to avoid stacking coats, hats, and other personal items belonging to students. Lockers, cubbies, and individual hooks are better for separating soft surfaces that could allow for lice transfers.
What Do Lice Look Like?
It’s hard to see lice in person even if you’re dealing with a nasty infestation. First, lice are very small. The same goes for lice eggs (nits) that cling to hair shafts with a sticky substance. What’s more, lice hate light. They hide quickly when placed under light. In fact, the hard-to-see aspect of lice is one of the reasons why at-home lice treatments are so ineffective. Most people aren’t able to target all lice because they don’t see the lice and nits buried deeply in the scalp. A professional lice removal clinic in Florida can identify, target, and kill all active lice and nits present on the scalp.
While lice and nits are small, it is possible to see them with the naked eye. Lice can be brown, white, or gray. When looking for lice, focus on the high-visibility areas around the neck and ears. A louse is roughly the size of a sesame seed. Any rounded specks seen on hairs are actually nits.
What Are the Symptoms of Lice?
One of the more disturbing things about lice is that you may be six weeks into an infestation before you experience your first symptom. It’s not uncommon for itching to start several weeks after lice have made a home on your scalp. Once symptoms do begin, they can be both painful and disruptive. Here’s a look at the common symptoms of lice:
- Intense itching.
- Visible lice and nits. You might actually mistake them for dandruff! However, you’ll notice that they don’t brush away easily the way that dandruff does.
- Sores and bite marks on the scalp, neck, and shoulders.
- Irritability and discomfort.
- Swollen lymph nodes.
The itching and swelling associated with lice are caused by your body’s allergic reaction to these biting insects. While most symptoms range from unpleasant to disruptive, some people experience serious health issues caused by lice. Lice can actually cause anemia if left to stay on the scalp for a long time. In addition, having lice increases your risks for bacterial infections because it’s easy for bacteria to enter sores caused by lice.
How Do You Treat Lice?
The only way to treat lice is to kill them. Unfortunately, lice don’t die easily. Many people incorrectly assume that they can get rid of lice by washing their hair because it will drown lice. In reality, water alone simply does not kill lice. Lice are experts at holding their breath in water. Combing out lice also doesn’t work. In fact, it’s easy to spread lice in your home when using improper comb-out methods.
Complicating the issue is the fact that most lice outbreaks in Florida involve super lice that have grown resistant to treatments and medications that were once effective for killing lice. As a result, mobile lice clinics, at-home lice treatments, and homeopathic lice treatments are all ineffective against lice. Common lice treatments often give people a false sense of security that ultimately allows lice to spread even more!
Lice Lifters of Florida offers all-natural and safe professional lice treatments performed by trained lice technicians in a comfortable, kid-friendly salon setting. Our nontoxic lice treatments are 99.9% effective against lice! Lice Lifters even provides a 30-day guarantee for clients seeking professional lice removal in Boca Raton. Our treatments work because they target both live lice and nits. Most popular lice treatments only brush out easy-to-find lice on the surface of the scalp without addressing hidden lice and nits. That means that the infestation returns each time new lice eggs hatch on the scalp. Lice Lifters is proud to offer pediatrician-endorsed lice treatments that help to keep homes and classrooms around America healthy.
How Can You Prevent Lice?
Preventing lice isn’t always possible. Even a person with sparkling personal hygiene can contract lice. However, there are some best practices for reducing your risk for catching lice. Follow these lice-free tips:
- Avoid hair-to-hair contact with others.
- Never share personal items that touch the head, neck, or shoulders with others. This includes brushes, combs, towels, pillows, blankets, hats, scarves, helmets, headphones, hair ties, and much more!
- When given the choice, always select solid chairs over plush, upholstered chairs when in public.
- Avoid stacking coats, hats, scarves, and other personal belongings when people get together.
- If you believe you’ve been exposed to lice, wash all clothing and accessories in hot water. Items should also be dried using high heat. Any items that can’t be washed can be sealed in a plastic bag for two weeks.
- If an infested person has been in your home, vacuum the floor and furniture as quickly as possible.
How high is your chance of getting lice after being around someone with lice? If you’ve had hair-to-hair contact, the chances are relatively high. However, being in the vicinity of someone with lice doesn’t guarantee that you’ll have them.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CD), head lice survive less than one to two days if they fall off a person without the ability to feed. Nits that have fallen from a person will usually die within a week if they aren’t able to maintain the same temperature found close to the scalp.
Winter Is Still a Great Time for Lice in Florida
Lice love wintertime in Florida. Head lice prefer to be warm. As a result, the mix of mild Florida wintertime temperatures with an influx of people creates perfect lice conditions. Lice outbreaks begin to peak when school gets back in session because classrooms are ideal spreading grounds for lice. Lice activity often ramps up during the holiday season because family gatherings, sleepovers, and travel all allow lice to find new victims.
Florida’s popularity with out-of-state travelers during winter also contributes to the state’s lice problem. Everyone from snowbirds to sun-seeking vacationers bring their lice with them when they visit Florida during the winter. As a result, lice stay very active all winter long in the Sunshine State.
Where do lice on schoolchildren come from?
School-aged children generally get lice from other children. Kids commonly pass lice to friends, siblings, teachers, and parents. The reason why kids are more likely to have lice than adults is because they spend large amounts of time together in close quarters.
How often do teachers get head lice?
A teacher can technically get lice as often as school outbreaks occur. Using good practices for avoiding hair-to-hair contact, not sharing personal items, and vacuuming a classroom somewhat regularly can protect teachers against lice.
Winter Is Lice Season in Florida
Dipping temperatures do nothing to cause lice populations to dip. While lice love winter everywhere, Florida’s warm temperatures create an ideal setting for lice to thrive from the moment kids are back in school. Don’t let lice linger! Lice Lifters of Florida offers all-natural lice treatments at our salon in Boca Raton. Our safe treatments are perfect for all ages. We’ll confirm the presence of lice on your scalp before starting treatment. Book your appointment now!