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DOES CHLORINE KILL LICE?

DOES CHLORINE KILL LICE?
Created on 
March 27, 2017
Updated on 
November 8, 2022

During the summer months when water activities are common, families are concerned about their risk of contracting lice from water. LiceDoctors can put your mind at ease. Lice cannot swim, so you cannot get lice from a swimming pool. The CDC confirms this fact by stating that head lice can live underwater, even in water treated with chlorine, for hours but it is not likely that they will be passed along in swimming pools as they cling tightly to the human hair of the head they are on. While chlorine does not kill lice, if your child has direct contact or close contact with another child who has lice while in the pool water, they are at risk of contracting lice from that person. How alarmed should you be if you hear the words “lice swimming pool”?  Read the article to know the truth about popular questions about head lice and enjoy your time in the pool.

CAN LICE LIVE IN WATER?

Can lice survive in water if they fall off of a person’s head? Can lice swim? Lice cannot live in a body of water or swim. Once they fall off of the head, lice in the water begin to die. They will die within 24 hours of falling off the head, that is if they do not drown in the water first. Keep in mind that lice hold the hair very tightly, so they are unlikely to fall off.

DOES POOL CHLORINE KILL LICE?

CHLORINE INTERFERE WITH LICE

Lice are especially hearty creatures that do not die when exposed to many chemicals. Chlorine is a chemical that is used to keep pools clean. Does chlorine kill lice? Does swimming kill lice if there is a lot of chlorine in the water? Lice are becoming increasingly resistant to chemicals so don’t count on even the most chlorinated pool to kill lice because chlorine does not kill lice. The lice cling tightly to hair and will not let go when a person submerges in the water. The person will emerge from the chlorinated pool with their lice infestation intact.

DOES CHLORINE INTERFERE WITH LICE TREATMENT?

While chlorine in swimming pools will not kill head lice, it's important to know that it can have an effect on a chemical lice treatment. Over-the-counter treatments may not work as well if the treatment is administered within 1-2 days of exposure to swimming pools treated with chlorine as the chlorinated water may diminish its effectiveness. Following lice treatment with pesticides, it's best to avoid swimming to increase its potential benefits.

DO HEAD LICE SPREAD IN SWIMMING POOLS?

When a person with head lice enters a swimming pool, the louse will latch onto the strands of hair super tight with the claws on all six of its legs so as to not fall off. They are very strong and resilient, so they can maintain a firm grip and hang on despite any friction. This is why you cannot remove lice from your hair simply by combing and showering, you need lice treatment. Because of this, it is highly unlikely that lice will spread in a swimming pool. Rather, again, it is the direct head-to-head contact of individuals in the swimming pool that will cause the spread of lice, not from lice getting into the pool itself and they're making their way to another host.

CAN SWIMMING CAP HELP NOT SPREAD LICE?

does chlorine kill lice

Outside of the water, there are preventive tactics that can be used to lessen your chances of getting lice. What about in the water? Some people look to swimming caps to help stop the spread of head lice in the water. This will provide some protection if your child is close to someone with lice. The bathing cap has to be on tight so a louse cannot get into the hair by crawling under the cap.

IS SHARING TOWEL THE MOST POPULAR WAY TO GET LICE IN A POOL?

If it's unlikely to see lice spread in the water, except for direct head-to-head contact, then how are lice spread at the pool? Towels are one possibility, although not that likely. Lice don't like to leave the head, but the head lice may make their way to the towel of an infected person, so avoid sharing towels at the pool. There are other items that may be shared at the pool, such as pool toys, hats, hair brushes, or sunglasses. It's very unlikely that you will contract head lice from these items either. Head lice are usually not spread via the sharing of personal items, like a towel, rather, as mentioned before, head-to-head contact is the most common way to contract head lice. Lice do not like to go onto an inanimate object because they are parasites and need the body temperature of humans as well as human blood for their food supply.

CONCLUSION: THINK YOU'VE GOT A CASE OF LICE AT THE POOL? WE CAN HELP!

Do not let the fear of getting head lice to prevent you from fully enjoying your time in the water. While chlorine and exposure to water will not have an effect on head lice, it's highly unlikely that your child's head will be exposed to head lice in the pool water as lice do not swim. Think you got a case of lice at the pool? Call LiceDoctors at 800-224-2537! We will dispatch a technician right to your house so you don't need to worry about running into a neighbor at lice clinics. Compared to lice clinics, our at-home professional lice treatments are more private and convenient and usually carry a lower price tag. Do not let head lice ruin your summer plans! Our technicians will remove all lice eggs and bugs and get you back to your everyday life. One professional treatment with an easy at-home follow-up treatment plan and you are good to go. We can help, contact us!

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