It is a myth that chlorine in the pool kills lice. It would be a convenient solution for parents, but no such luck. Chlorine has no effect on lice.
So then, is drowning the lice in swimming pools an option? When your hair gets wet, lice go into a state of “suspended animation”. What does this mean? Well, remember that game you used to play as a kid called “Red Light, Green Light” and when the leader said “red light” you had to immediately freeze and stay that way until he said “green light” or you’d get eliminated? As soon as your head gets wet, lice go into “red light” mode (they freeze) and they can stay that way and hold their breath for several hours! So in order to drown lice, you’d have to keep your head completely under water for more than 2 hours.
There is a silver lining to all this. Even though the pool won’t kill lice if you have it, you also can’t get lice in swimming pools. The live bugs won’t leave someone’s head when it’s wet, since they are in suspended animation. And the nits (eggs) are glued onto the hair with a cement-like substance that is unaffected by water or chlorine.
Your family might be on vacation this summer, but lice aren’t! Don’t get a false sense of security that you’re out of the “lice zone” just because your kids aren’t in school.
Many parents assume their kids have less chance of getting lice in the summer than during the school year. Not true. Lice enjoy going to summer camps as much as kids do. And we’ve treated several families who reported getting lice from their visit to Disney World. Any time you’ve got large numbers of people together you’ve got a breeding ground for lice. If you travel to other countries, keep in mind that most cultures aren’t as bothered by lice as Americans are, so they often don’t treat it thoroughly, if at all. So in many foreign countries lice are more widespread than here in the U.S.
Don’t let this news put a damper on your summer fun. Just take as many precautions as you can (don’t share hats, pillows, brushes; girls wear your hair up). Use our Absolute Clear Head Spray as a preventative during the summer. And if you suspect you’ve got lice, or you just want peace of mind, you can always schedule a FREE head screening with Lice Centers of Ohio.