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Head Lice in the Elderly

lice tips elderly grandparents babysit grandchildren get head lice

Updated on August 14, 2020

By Karen Sokoloff

The good news for senior citizens is that they are at low risk of picking up a case of head lice. The bad news is that if they are around people who have they are certainly not immune.

If you are a senior citizen, unless you are around children a lot, then your chances of getting head lice are slim. Head lice are conveyed from head to head when somebody who is infested comes in close contact to your head. If you are a typical senior going about your daily business, you are at low risk of being exposed to lice. If, however, you are (a saint!) who babysits for your grandchild while your son or daughter works, or if you drop by for regular visits, then, yes, you are at higher than average risk for your age bracket of getting lice.

Grandparents are often the most surprised group when they learn that they have head lice. When their kids were growing up head lice were very uncommon. Today head lice run rampant among children, especially young ones. Since grandparents are not always involved in the schools and the day-to-day life, it can be quite upsetting to them when they learn that they have picked up a case of head lice from the grandchildren.

If as you have aged, you have decided to wear your hair short or pulled up in a bun, then you are significantly reducing your chances of contracting a case. Lice need to be able to access the hair In order to climb to the scalp to feed on the blood. If the hair is less accessible (i.e. short or up), that will make it more challenging for the lice to find.

Professional lice treatment may be especially helpful for seniors for three reasons:

  1. Finding nits (eggs) and lice is challenging. Both camouflage in the hair and the nits are particularly tiny making it difficult to spot them. If your vision is no longer acute, that makes the task almost impossible.

  2. To extract the nits requires a lot of manual dexterity. You need to be able to squeeze and pull nits that are glued to the hair. If there are several nits, you will be working on many strands of hair.

  3. If you live alone, it is extra challenging to get rid of a case. You must access all of your hair, including the hair in the back of your head, in order to remove all of the lice.

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 has checked thousands of seniors; some are lice free and we can give them peace of mind. Others, in fact, have contracted a case and we ensure that they are cleared and can resume their daily activities without fear of having an ongoing case. For more information on head lice and the elderly be sure to check out our Education Center and call LiceDoctors at 214-382-9727 and an experienced tech will make a house call to you to treat you in in the comfort and privacy of your home in the Carrollton area.