Risk Factors: Who Is The Most At Risk?

very young smiling child elbows on the table holding face in hands, soft focus desserts in foreground.

By LiceDoctors Technician, Margaret Steingraber

When a lice infestation happens, many people have misconceptions about these critters. Part of the myth that exists is who is actually at risk to get head lice.  

Age plays a big role in the myth of who is at risk.  Although adults are certainly not immune, it would be an unusual for adults to be the ones who brought in the infestation to the family. Children share common areas at school and at home, so head lice can spread pretty quickly if they are not caught in time.  Head lice is most likely to be spread through head to head contact but can be spread through objects; children of all ages should never swap pillows, hair bows, brushes, or anything else that can physically carry a louse from one head to another.  

Race is another part of the myth of who is at risk.  There are mixed opinions out there about the role that race plays in the risk factors of getting lice.  According to the CDC, in the United States, African Americans are less likely to get lice because lice claws are “better adapted” for grasping the hair of non African American people.  At LiceDoctors, we are not sure about this. We think that African Americans are less likely to get lice because they tend to use stying gels and oils which make it harder for lice to cling to the hair. This leads us to the last part of this common myth about who is the most at risk for head lice.

When we think of oily hair, some assume that oily equates to dirty.  Dirty hair leads to the idea that a dirty environment puts one more at risk.  This is simply not true.  Lice find it easier to attach themselves to hair that is free of oil, hairspray, leave-in conditioners, or anything else we use in our hair.  So while a dirty environment is not ideal, it is not an invitation to head lice.

group of children in a bounce play structure some with faces painted smiling arms in air waving two finger peace signs.

Age, hair styling regimens, and environment all play different roles in who is the most at risk for head lice (just not the ones we usually think of). Following a few simple guidelines will help in reducing those risk factors to help prevent future infestations.

If you and your family find yourselves with head lice, you have come to the right place. LiceDoctors has eradicated lice in over 450,000 clients and your technician will take care of your family right in the comfort of your own home. Call us in the Alhambra and San Marino areas at 310-923-9787 for a home visit today. We have treated people of all shapes, sizes, color, heights, etc. because when it comes to head lice, ANYONE WITH HAIR is a potential candidate.