Parents are often diligent about teaching children not to share brushes or combs to prevent head lice. Most kids even know that sharing hats, hoodies or helmets is not a good idea. Yet, have you ever stopped to think about all the other ways head lice could easily be passed from one person to the next?
Although children are much more likely to contract head lice, anyone of any age is at risk if they come into contact with a louse or nit. Head lice do not fly or jump. They crawl from hair strand to hair strand. If a person infected with head lice is inhabiting a seat long enough, it is highly probable that a louse or two could have found its way onto the seat cushions, just waiting for a new human host.
Here are a few places you might want to think twice about the next time you visit them.
Even if you are traveling to a short destination, flight times can be plenty of time for head lice to make their way onto seatbacks. Have you ever asked for a pillow or blanket on a particularly long flight? So have hundreds of other people who could potentially have had head lice. Flight crews are required to lightly clean planes between flights. But, airlines admit, deep cleaning of planes does not happen daily or even often. In fact, they get deep cleaned a lot less often than you would think, usually about every 100 days depending on the airline. If an airline has up to five flights per day on a plane, think of all those passengers coming and going from a single seat. It’s enough to make you start scratching your head.
Head lice are most commonly passed on through direct head to head contact. The second most common way they are transferred is through items that head lice are lingering on. For example, if a person with head lice is sitting in a movie theater recliner for the duration of a movie, it is likely that an adult louse would find it’s way onto the seat cushion. That could mean that the next person to sit in that chair would be easily accessible to provide the louse a new host. Without a human host, lice will die within 24 hours. They are always looking for the warmth and sustenance that humans provide.
Before you grab your popcorn and soda, you might consider wiping down the seat headrest as a precaution. At the very least, don’t be gullible enough to think you could never catch head lice.
Gym Class and Locker Rooms
Not all people think to look for head lice at the gym. Yet, people bring personal items, use towels and leave items laying around all over locker rooms and gym floors. Do you share a locker with a friend at your gym? Do you make sure to use a clean towel at every workout? Have you ever thought to deep clean your gym bag or equipment? Head lice are definitely something that can be passed on from your encounters at the gym. Take notice next time, and steer clear of possible head lice risks.
Many experts agree that direct head to head contact is much riskier than these types of scenarios. However, they do happen, and people do contract head lice from places that head lice have fallen off onto or crawled onto. Check yourself for head lice and ensure that your household stays head lice free.
Don’t know what to look for? Contact Lice Clinics of America for a head screening. We can show you how to look for head lice and give you advice on treatment options.