Many parents call us immediately upon getting the dreaded lice call from school or daycare. And it is true, most cases of head lice in the United States affect school-aged kids. That’s probably why it doesn’t even dawn on most parents to wonder, can head lice live on adults?
Discovering and treating lice EARLY is by far the best strategy to eliminate it quickly, and helps to make sure others don’t become infested and need treatment. Unfortunately, by the time a head is itchy, that person has usually had lice and been contagious for 2-3 weeks. We have been treating head lice for over 20 years, and in over half of the families we’ve helped, we’ve discovered lice on someone else in the household who had no symptoms and didn’t know they had lice yet. Head lice in adults are less common than head lice in children, but that appears to be mostly because of social behavioral differences. Once there’s a case in your home, the risk factors equalize, and you as a mom are absolutely at risk for catching it.
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 DOES AN ADULT GET LICE?
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 themself and their other clients so as not to spread lice around.
If someone in your household tests positive for head lice, then everyone is at high risk, regardless of gender, age, or ethnicity. Remember, the only people who can’t get head lice are people with no hair on their heads. Whether you are an adult or child, LiceDoctors will put an end to your lice problem.
You can count on LiceDoctors to find every case of lice in your household, no matter how early. LiceDoctors technicians use advanced lice checking techniques above and beyond the typical checks done at school or by the pediatrician. We guarantee that your technician-administered treatment will get rid of lice for the entire family. Our methods also happen to be the safest treatment methods available for little kids. Call LiceDoctors now at 800-224-2537 or book an appointment today!