Why Doesn't Alaska's Cold Weather Kill Lice?

glacier snow and ice over cold blue lake

Anyone who has had head lice knows how annoying it can be, but you can not harness the cold to get rid of them. You might think that one benefit of the cold and long Alaskan winter is that there are no bugs...right? Not so fast.

Head lice are oblivious to the cold weather. All they need to survive is a warm human head. You may have heard that putting combs or toys in the freezer or outside in the frigid air will kill any lice that are on them. The truth is that if deprived of the warmth and blood of human heads, all lice will die within a day whether they are outside or inside the home. Conversely, lice stationed on a human head that is outside in the cold will be unaffected.

magnified lousePhoto of magnified louse. If it were that easy to get rid of head lice, then lice would only exist in warm weather states and/or summertime. While we do see a peak in the incidence of head lice in the summer months, that is attributable to kids playing together at summer camp and on play dates. It is the close proximity to each other that fosters the spread of lice from child to child to adult, etc. Kids playing together in the summer are in more physical contact than in the winter when they are more likely to be seated in rows.

nits in hair getting lice treatmentNits (lice eggs) camouflage in the hair. Can you identify all of the nits in this picture? Note that when checking for head lice you are looking for bugs that have six legs and no wings. They do not fly from head to head; they walk quickly. They are brown, not white. Once lice are in the hair, they lay eggs--up to 6 to 10 a day. The challenge for most folks is that these eggs can be very small and difficult to find. In all but very light blonde hair, they camouflage in the hair. You don't want to leave any eggs in the hair to hatch or you will be dealing with head lice ad nauseam!

LiceDoctors can help you. Technicians have the experience that it takes to find and eradicate lice and nits. Give us a call in Alaska at 907-290-2307 today, day or night! Make An Appointment in Alaska Today!