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Can Adults Get Lice or It's a Myth?

Can Adults Get Lice or It's a Myth?
Created on 
February 28, 2019
Updated on 
July 13, 2021

“I’m sure I don’t have lice.” We have heard that statement from many parents calling seeking head lice treatment for their children only, thinking head lice in adults is not possible. Can adults get lice in their hair? If not, then why don’t adults get lice? If so, how do old people get head lice?

Can Adults Get Head Lice?

When people talk about getting lice as adults, it is almost always caught by the kids in their life. At school and daycare, young kids wrestle on the floor, braid each other’s hair, and sit close on the bus to whisper secrets. As kids get older, slumber parties, contact sports, group selfies, and sharing accessories still pose a lice risk.

Because parents are frequently in very close contact with their own kids, mom has often caught lice before she even realizes anyone has it. Mom can even serve as a conduit, spreading the case to brothers and sisters who may have no close contact with the child who brought the lice home. But we get calls every day from adults who swear they haven’t been in contact with ANY kids, which raises the question: do adults get lice from other sources?

How Common Are Head Lice and Nits In Adults and Elderly People?

While the incidence of head lice cases in adults is lower, it is still possible for adults to contract a case of head lice. How does an adult get head lice? The same way a child would - most commonly by way of direct head-to-head contact with another person, such as a child in their care. What about the elderly? Can you get lice when you are older? Head lice on old people is not unheard of. The good news for senior citizens is that they are at a lower risk of picking up a case of head lice. The bad news is that if they are around people who have lice, they are certainly not immune.

What Causes Head Lice In Adults?

What Causes Head Lice In Adults

If you are still wondering can adults get head lice, the direct answer is yes. But how is it possible, especially if you have no children at home or have never had lice? Causes of head lice in adults are the same as those of a child. Head lice are conveyed from head to head when somebody who is infested comes in close contact with your head. Even if you do not live with someone who has lice, you can still contract a case from a number of contacts:

  • Kids
  • Grandkids
  • Colleagues

Besides exposure to infested children, other causes of lice in adults include hugging someone with lice, spending the night with someone with lice, leaning over someone and allowing long hair to brush against them, and borrowing clothing/accessories that someone has just worn. In rare cases, exposure may occur while trying on clothing or sitting on a public seat.

Another question we hear is can adults get lice in hair salons? Salons and stylists in the US are highly regulated by local boards and are not allowed to treat someone on whom they find lice. However, it is not the hairdresser’s job to diagnose lice, early cases of which may not even be visible to the naked eye. Getting lice as adults is very possible and if you find any case of lice on yourself or your family, cancel your appointment and inform your stylist so they can mitigate the risk to themselves and their other clients so as not to spread lice around.

How Do Adults Get Rid of Lice?

Do adults get head lice? Yes. To get rid of lice in adults and the elderly, don’t go looking for lice treatment shampoo for adults because the lice are resistant to these products…

To get rid of lice, the most efficient treatment involves manual extraction of all of the lice and nits from the hair. This is no small feat, especially if you live alone. If you feel especially itchy or you get a call from your kids telling you that your grandchildren have lice, there is no need to worry. LiceDoctors will ensure that you are cleared and can resume your daily activities without fear of having an ongoing case.

Call LiceDoctors at 800-224-2537, and an experienced tech will make a house call to you to treat you in the comfort and privacy of your home.

We provide a friendly in-home lice removal service

Book your appointment today

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