Cold Weather and Head Lice. What are the Effects?


With the cold weather fully set in and chilly wind blowing it can be hard to believe that head lice would still be a concern for anyone. How does the cold weather make a difference for head lice infestations and what do parents need to know about keeping kids safe in the winter months?


Head Lice Trends During the Year

Head lice stay alive all year round, so the truth is the cold weather has little effect on the spread of head lice. Head lice are not dormant in the winter months as some people assume. Head lice are capable of survival in any temperature as long as their host is a warm 98.6 degrees. What is less likely in the winter months is the spreading of head lice from head to head contact. Children are not running around the neighborhood hand in hand with their friends, climbing on playgrounds, rolling through the grass, or visiting each others homes as often. It is the season where people spend the most time indoors, with their immediate family for fear of braving the winter storms. Famed author Paul Theroux captured this concept quite well when he said, “Winter is a season of recovery and preparation.” Sometimes it just feels like the time of year to stay home and stay warm. But don’t let that fool you! There are some hidden dangers in the cold winter months that could lead to head lice.


Cold Weather Clothing

Have you ever dropped your child off at gymnastics class, preschool, music lessons, or a basketball practice and noticed that all of the children excitedly remove their hats, gloves, scarves and jackets onto one giant heaping pile near the door? This is a danger for head lice infestation that parents should be aware of. Teach your children to properly hang up coats on hooks, place them in a cubby or set them aside on a bench away from the pile of other children’s belongings. Warm hoodies and beanies are sometimes susceptible to head lice in the winter months. A warm, moist head is ideal for head lice and their nits. If a child infected with head lice is wearing such clothing nits, lice eggs or live lice bugs can easily become attached to the fibers of the material. If another child shares this head gear or leave their clothing on top of it, there is a real possibility of a lice finding its way onto your child’s belongings.


Gatherings Indoors Including Holidays

When the snow is falling and wind is howling it is sometimes a great time to snuggle up as a family and relax by the fire, watch Netflix or read a good book. Holidays also bring large groups of people together where the possibility of head lice really spikes. All in all, just remember to be as cautious of head to head contact in the winter months as you would the rest of the year. Be aware of symptoms of head lice such as scratching or irritation. Do not just assume that because it’s cold outside lice are not still lurking.  


The experts at Lice Clinics of America, St. Charles are always here for you if you have questions, concerns or need advice about head lice. Contact us today!


Leave a Comment: