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Why Families Are Prone to Sharing Head Lice

mother and child playing in a park toddler raised in the air head to head with mom

Updated on April 10, 2019

When one person in a family has lice, it's just an unfortunate reality that they are probably not alone. Close families often share more than affection, sometimes they share lice.

Most of the families LiceDoctors has treated (nearly 80%!) have multiple cases of head lice. In a family where one child has head lice, especially when the child is very young, the next most likely to have it is, you guessed it, MOM! Brothers and sisters are also at rist, but not as much as the primary care giver. 

We think of lice as a childhood affliction, but there is a good reason why moms are at risk. Head lice are extremely contagious. If they have access to another head, especially if the one they are on is crowded with other lice and eggs, they will take advantage of that opportunity. What they are looking for is ample opportunity to feed on the blood of the head about three times daily. They want to go to a fresh head where there's less competition. When children are little and moms are carrying them around and are in very close contact, the chances increase significantly that the child will pass along a case of head lice. The same applies for young siblings who are often on top of each other. Although no one wants to get head lice, it is actually a sign of family togetherness!

No matter what you may have read on the internet, or how your parents responded to lice when you were a child, lice are generally not transmitted through objects such as combs, toys, clothing, or furniture. Lice need the heat and humidity of the human head to thrive and most of all they need access to blood. They will stay put on their current head (food source) unless they have direct contact with a new head. Older children and teens may be less snuggly than when they were younger and therefore not as likely to hug their parents, so are less likely to pass along a case to mom. But, depending on their typical play, older children may be more likely to "share" with their siblings. Rough housing and wrestling bring heads into close contact. Reading books and playing video games can bring heads into close contact. Taking selfies can bring heads into close contact. 

Lice hits every family differently, and LiceDoctors can help no matter how many or how few have gotten it in your family. We know that you want confidence and assurity that everyone in your home is clear and that this case of lice has been defeated, and that's where we excell. We have successfully treated over 450,000 cases and we would be honored to treat your family as well. For more information on the spread of head lice be sure to check out our Education Center and call us day or night, any day of the week and weekends at 800-224-2537 .

family mother, father and baby lying head to head on a bed