Who knew? Lice can swim—or at least they can survive underwater.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), studies “show that head lice can survive underwater for several hours but are unlikely to be spread by the water in a swimming pool.”
Head lice hold tightly onto the child’s (or adult’s) hair and essentially hold their breath when underwater. Contrary to some peoples’ opinions, chlorine does not kill head lice.
It is also important to know that head lice can be spread when children share towels, washcloths, and any other items that have been in contact with the hair of someone who had head lice. In addition to towels this applies to other bathing accessories like hairbrushes, combs, curlers, etc.
Also, the CDC reports, “Swimming or washing the hair within 1–2 days after treatment with some head lice medicines might make some treatments less effective.”