Head lice do not fly or jump. They are caught by direct contact with another person who has head lice. Because of this, children are usually more prone to head lice than adults. Children don’t understand personal space or care about it as adults do. However, that doesn’t mean adults are off the hook. There are thousands of ways someone can catch head lice.
Children are most likely to catch head lice because they spend their days with other small children in places where they are within close proximity to one another. School settings, preschool, daycare, dance classes, gymnastics, sports competitions or practices are all likely places children have direct contact with each other. Children are also more likely to sleep over at one another’s houses where they could catch lice from another person’s bed, pillow, stuffed animals or blankets.
In fact, adults with small children at home are much more likely to contract head lice as well. Being in constant contact, sharing clothing and furniture with small children makes them vulnerable in ways other adults are not. Don’t let that fool you! There are several other ways every day any adult can catch head lice.
How Are Adults at Risk?
Head lice are also passed along by furniture or fabric that head lice or nits may be hiding in. Airplanes, buses, public libraries or other areas where people spend their time sitting on cushioned backed seats could potentially lead to head lice for adults.
Next time you are at the movies think of all the people who have shared your seat. The soft, cushiony headrest could be hiding head lice or nits. If an infected person rested there for the length of a movie that is plenty of time for a louse or two to find its way inside the fibers of the seat. Perhaps even an unhatched egg or two was left as strands of hair fell out or swept up against the seatback.
Crowded places can put you at risk for catching lice. Ever been in a packed elevator and had a few people standing uncomfortably close to you? What about a mall during a busy season where large crowds are trying to push through onto the sale rack? Adults love to mingle at parties, concerts, amusement parks, restaurants, stadiums, hotels, pools, or anywhere that the fun takes them. All of these places that are crawling with people, could also be crawling with head lice.
Clothing or blankets and pillows also put children and adults at risk. Sharing is just not a good idea, no matter what age you are. This includes things you might not think of like scrunchies, helmets, earphones, or even towels.
Although the risk is higher for school-age children, do not consider adults immune to lice. Take precautions in these areas to keep you and your family protected against lice. The Lice Clinics of America can educate you on preventative treatments as well if you are worried about contracting lice. We also offer head checks for the family to ensure everyone is lice free.