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How Contagious is Head Lice?

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Updated on September 8, 2020

Updated by Tierna Moser

How Contagious Is Lice?

Is head lice contagious? Here at LiceDoctors we receive this question often. Parents whose children have friends with head lice, or who have been exposed are naturally concerned with the question is lice contagious or not? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Head lice is very contagious – especially when the person who has lice has had it for a long period of time resulting in a severe infestation. Lice have been around for thousands of years and they have managed to last by moving from head to head. If you put a child with lice near another child, chances are fairly good that at least one bug from the infested child will move on to the other child's head. If a severe infestation is present, the hair will be crowded with nits, so lice will try to move on to another head. When another available, presumably less crowded, head of hair shows up and is within reach, live bugs will happily travel to the new head. Why not? A non-infested head means less competition for a feeding spot for the newly arrived lice. 

How Long Is Lice Contagious?

For a case of head lice to be considered contagious, live bugs need to be present. Therefore, there is no time limit for improperly treated lice infestations. Cases of head lice will remain contagious as long as there are live bugs on the head. However, do not be lulled into a sense of security thinking that your problems are gone once all of the bugs are killed or removed from the head. To get rid of a case of head lice completely, each and every bug and nit (lice egg) must be removed from the hair. Left in the hair, just 2 eggs can start an infestation all over again.

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How Long After Lice Treatment Are You Contagious? 

Once allhead lice treatment contagious professional get rid of liceof the live bugs are removed from the head or killed, a case of head lice can be considered no longer contagious as the bugs are the culprit when it comes to spreading to others. The remaining nits in the hair are not contagious (until a few days after they hatch). On their own, nits will not come off of a strand of hair. Once removed, they will not re-attach to another strand of hair. It is important to follow up treatment to be sure there are no more nit sightings.

After a single treatment with LiceDoctors you are no longer contagious! Your lice technician will ensure that every single live bug and visible nit is removed from the hair at the time of service and will provide a follow up plan to ensure your family’s case of head lice is totally eradicated. If you discover lice on your child or your own head, give LiceDoctors a call 800-224-2537. We have a live lice expert who will answer your call from 7 am until after midnight every day of the week and we are eager to help you’ll you won’t have to deal with tears and fussing.

Who Gets Lice?