Winter Head Lice. Is it possible to get lice in the winter? While it is true that head lice do not like cold weather, head lice are, in fact, present 12 months of the year. Even during a chilly New England winter, head lice are spreading successfully amongst elementary school aged children. And some of those children have had head lice since they started school in August!
How is it possible for children to not know that they have head lice?
First of all the majority of children with head lice actually never experience any lice symptoms, including itching. Because, in order for a head lice colony to have time to establish itself successfully on a human host, the colony needs to be undetectable to the host for a good 2-3 months. Interestingly head lice are able to remain undetectable by transmitting substances when they bite a human. These substances include saliva, an anticoagulant, and an anesthetic. Therefore you won’t feel a louse biting you, nor will you experience itching like you would with a mosquito bite.
Winter Head Lice. Do Hats spread head lice? In fact hats are very unlikely to spread head lice in the winter time. Because the survival of a head louse is entirely dependent on staying on a human scalp. First of all head lice spend their entire lifetime on a human scalp. There is little or no reason for a head louse to leave the host scalp unless the colony is already successfully established.
Therefore when putting on or taking off hats, lice are able to hold on to the hair shaft with highly adapted claws so that they will not end up on a hat. In addition lice would never willingly travel to a hat. Because hats have no food for lice, who need to feed every 3-4 hours on blood from the human scalp. Furthermore, lice could never lay eggs on a hat, because they can only lay eggs on the human hair shaft.
During egg laying head lice secrete an egg adhesive that hardens onto the hair shaft, securing the louse egg to the hair shaft. Lice lay their eggs (nits) 3cm from the scalp. This ensures that the egg will remain at the optimum temperature to mature and hatch. If you discover that your child has nits 4-6 inched from the scalp, this indicates head lice infestation began 2-3 months ago.