The methods for preventing lice vary depending on the specific type of lice (head lice, body lice, or pubic lice). Because head lice are typically spread by head-to-head contact, prevention in children involves avoiding playtime and other activities that are likely to spread lice. Avoiding body lice involves bathing regularly and not sharing clothes with an infested person. Pubic lice can be avoided by not having sexual contact with an infested person.
Preventing Lice -- An OverviewThere are three types of lice: head lice, body lice, and pubic lice (also known as crabs). Each type of lice is caused by a different parasite (see Causes of Lice). The methods of preventing a lice infestation vary based on these types.
Head Lice PreventionHead lice are most commonly spread directly by head-to-head contact and much less frequently by head lice that have crawled onto clothing or belongings. As a short-term measure to control a head lice outbreak in a community, school, or camp, you can teach children to avoid playtime and other activities that are likely to spread lice.
Some other suggestions for preventing head lice include the following:
- Do not lie on beds, couches, pillows, carpets, or stuffed animals that have recently been in contact with an infested person.
- Do not share combs, brushes, hair ornaments, or towels.
- Do not share clothing, such as hats, scarves, coats, sports uniforms, or hair ribbons.
- Do not try on other people's hats (even in department stores).
- Avoid head-to-head contact common during play at school and at home (sports activities, on a playground, slumber parties, at camp, etc.).
- If you child is going to a slumber party, pack his or her own pillow and towel.
- Check your children's hair weekly for lice or nits. Treat the hair right away if you find them.
(Click Preventing Head Lice to read about other suggestions for head lice prevention in schools.)