Head lice is a common ailment that affects most families at least once in their lives. While there are some simple things families can do to minimize the chances of getting head lice, there are other factors that are beyond their control – like a person's blood type. Believe it or not, head lice and blood type may go together; the type of blood is a biological factor that can determine whether or how often a person may get head lice. Head lice do have a preference when it comes to the type of blood they consume.
WHAT BLOOD TYPE DO LICE PREFER?
When we receive calls from clients who have never dealt with head lice growing up, but found it on their child, they often are not just trying to figure out who their child got head lice from, but maybe why their child tends to get lice more frequently than others, or than they did when growing up. There are many factors that can contribute to a child being prone to getting lice, such as having clean hair, not dirty hair (lice find it easier to attach to clean hair). Among these is the type of blood.
If you are wondering do lice like certain blood types - some studies suggest that yes, they do. Studies that have been conducted indicate that positive blood type attracts lice over negative blood types. So lice have a preference for positive types of blood. Head lice have the ability to feed and survive off of all different blood types. However, when head lice begin to feed after hatching from their egg, lice want to stick with the same blood type throughout their life that they initially fed upon.
For example: If one member of your household with a blood type of A has head lice that makes it to another family member's or friend's head whose type of blood is B or O, the louse can infest them and feed off of their blood, but lice do not like it. If faced with life or death from starvation, head lice will feed on a different type of blood than what they were originally accustomed to if they have absolutely no other options.
Rhesus Factor Matters
Another factor that can determine if head lice are passed between family members is the Rh or Rhesus factor of their type of blood. The Rh factor is the protein found on the blood cells that make a person's type of blood A, B, AB, or O negative or positive. If a person's blood cells have the rhesus protein on the surface of the blood cells their type of blood is positive, and if they do not, their type of blood is negative.
As stated previously, while head lice can feed on different blood types, lice cannot transfer and survive on different Rh blood factors. A louse that has fed on positive blood cannot then move to a head and consume blood with a negative Rh factor. If moving from a type A blood to a type B blood, both of those blood types must have the same Rh factor for the louse to survive. For instance, if a louse has been feeding off of a blood type of A positive and subsequently finds its way onto the head of a person whose blood type is B positive, then it can continue to survive off of that particular blood type. If it moves from type O positive to type O negative, the louse cannot ingest that while lice can switch the types of blood they consume, as may happen when moving from one family member to other family members via direct head contact, they require the same Rh factor.
LICE WILL CHANGE RH FACTORS TO AVOID STARVATION
If lice from the head of an individual with a lice infestation with the blood type A positive (Rh +) transfers to the head of another individual whose type of blood is B negative or O negative (Rh -), they cannot survive. If the louse tries to feed off of the head of an Rh-negative individual after feeding off of an Rh-positive individual, this will prove to be their last meal. When this happens, the louse's intestinal tract will explode! As you can imagine, after they begin feeding, this will end the louse's life. This scenario is the same if a louse has begun feeding off of a person with a rhesus negative type of blood that transfers to the head of a person who has a positive Rh factor.
Lice do not want to change blood types, especially when it involves moving from positive to negative, or negative to positive Rh factors, but lice will do so in an effort to survive. The louse consumes blood only from the human head, so when faced with the prospect of starving to death, they will switch which will lead to their death. This does not mean that a new host who possesses an incompatible blood type with that of the louse's previous host will not get head lice. If the female louse lays eggs before dying, that person will have an infestation too.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN SPECIFICALLY FOR YOUR FAMILY?
What does this mean specifically for your child and household? If you are still wondering if lice are attracted to certain blood types, and if so, what blood type do head lice like, let's review this information on a personal level.
Lice prefer positive blood types, so if your child's blood type is positive, they may be more prone to head lice infestations. If they tend to get them more frequently than you or other members of your household get them, it is possible that their types of blood have something to do with it since lice do not like to transfer between certain blood types, rather, they would prefer to stick with the same type of blood throughout their life. If someone in your household never gets head lice, it could be that their blood type is of a different Rh factor than others in the home.
If you, your child, or someone else in your household seems to be plagued repeatedly by head lice infestations call LiceDoctors at 800-224-2537. An experienced head lice technician will come to your home and provide lice treatment to everyone using an effective, all-natural combing process with professional lice comb that will get rid of lice. Unlike hot air devices used by lice clinics for treatment or other lice shampoos that are not approved for everyone, LiceDoctors lice treatment is safe for everyone, including babies and the elderly. While she is there completing the lice treatment, the technician will provide you with a follow-up plan that will ensure this case of lice does not come back. In addition to showing you how to prevent head lice, she will also educate you on her technique and show you the tools you need to perform treatment for lice in the case of future infestations on your own.