How Contagious Are Lice?

One of the most common questions we hear all the time is: How contagious are lice?

The Facts About Lice (Are Lice Contagious?)

The first and most important thing to understand about spreading lice is that you are only contagious when carrying an adult female fertilized louse because she is the egg (nit) layer.  The other thing to understand is if you have hair on your head you can get lice. No shampoo, hairspray, jell or lice deterrent product will work 100% of the time.Lice Life Cycle

More than 90% of lice cases comes from head-to-head or hair-to-hair contact. You get lice when your head touches someone else’s head that is contagious. This happens through hugs, sharing pillows, talking pictures or selfies. Anytime hair touches hair you are at risk for getting lice if that person has lice.  While it’s unrealistic to stop people from hugging, snuggling and taking pictures, you can control lice outbreaks in a few ways.

Ways to Stop Spreading Lice

The best offense in fighting lice is a good defense. Here are some tips to defending yourself against lice:

  1. Narrow the target area by putting hair up in braids, buns, & ponytails.
  2. Use a mint spray. Mint sprays are the safest daily deterrent product (keep in mind deterrent products only work for a few hours so don’t rely on just using a deterrent product to control lice).
  3. DON’T share brushes, hats or helmets!
  4. The most important way to control lice is through regular combing head checks. A quick combing head check will find lice or nits very early and before anyone is very contagious with lice. This head check takes no more than 5 minutes done on wet hair once a week.
  5. If you do find lice, make sure everyone is checked one time with a combing head check or a visual head check for four weeks.
  6. Communicate if you do have lice so the people around you have a chance to take care of any other infestations. This will also keep lice from coming right back to your family.
  7. Most over the counter products no longer work, making an infestation difficult to beat. Don’t take our word for it, read this recent article from People Magazine. Use an effective treatment product with Dimethicone like KaPOW! It is guaranteed to work and is 100% safe.


Are Lice Contagious: Lice Life Cycle

While it’s important to note that lice are only contagious when there are adult female fertilized lice present, there is one gotcha we see all the time. You may be able to remove all of the adult lice while leaving their tiny eggs behind. This is one reason to do a thorough combing out with a proper nit comb (or to hire a professional). These nits lie in wait – only to hatch 7 to 10 days later. Many people think they’ve been infected again, when in reality the first treatment just wasn’t thorough.

Lice are not harmful just a gross, itchy and annoying to deal with. Visit for education, treatment services and KaPOW! lice products.