How To Keep Lice From Spreading

Our mission at the Center for Lice Control is to control lice outbreaks. Here are the best ways to keep lice from spreading at home.
Keep lice from Spreading

How To Keep Lice From Spreading

You can get lice from positive interactions like hugs, snuggles, posing for pictures, and sharing brushes. This is why I like to say, only the sweetest people get lice. The bad news is if you have hair on your head during these activities, you can get lice and spread it. It doesn’t matter if your hair is clean or dirty, if you color your hair, if your hair is curly, frizzy or straight,  if your hair is long or short (you can have lice if you have a buzz cut).

Here’s the Center for Lice Control’s recommendations for preventing the spread of head lice:
  • Narrow the lice target
  • Combing head checks
  • Don’t share brushes
  • Communicating you have lice
By narrowing the lice target, we mean put long hair up in a bun, braid or ponytail. You can still get lice when heads touch but by putting hair up you are making an effort to keep your hair to yourself and are at less of a risk of having hair to hair contact.

Combing head checks are the best way to detect a case of lice in the early stages. We recommend combing head checks every other week, which is the perfect schedule of lice control. This way, you’ll find lice before that person has a contagious case, effectively stopping the spread of lice protecting family and friends from a lice outbreak. Families should be doing these head checks at home because relying on your school nurse to control lice outbreaks for an entire school is an unrealistic expectation.

Sharing brushes is the second biggest risk factor when it comes to sharing lice. If a person that has a contagious case of lice brushes their hair, a louse can get dragged out and onto the brush. The louse could hide in the base of the brush where loose hair gathers. The next person that uses that brush is at risk for getting lice because once that brush goes through the hair, the louse is going to grab onto the new host’s hair and now they have a new home. We recommend keeping loose hair cleaned off the brush and using brushes that have a white base so it is easier to inspect for lice.

Lice prevention should actually be called lice outbreak control. You can’t completely prevent getting exposed to lice but by doing a combing head check twice a month you can find a few nits before that person is contagious stopping the spread of lice. Relying on preventative lice products or essential oils to ward off lice is a fairy tail. We have clients that come into our salon often for treatment that use it all. Preventative shampoos, gels, hair spray, essential oils and they have lice. I have not found one of these products to be effective.

Finally, communicating you have lice to your school, sports team, friends and family you’re giving everyone a chance to check to see if they have lice too. No one wants lice and they definitely don’t want to share it but it happens. And it happens from all the right behaviors. We know it’s not the easiest phone call to make but it’s a very important way to control lice outbreaks from spreading and carrying on. By not telling anyone you have lice you’re putting your family at risk for getting lice right back.

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