When you think about head lice, chances are that you probably picture a child being sent home by the school nurse. It is quite common for children to get head lice from time to time. However, many people do not think about getting head lice as an adult. Do adults even get head lice?
What is Head Lice?
Lice are tiny little insects that feed off of blood of their hosts. In people, lice attach themselves to hair and feed on blood. The most common type of louse is head lice, which tend to live on your scalp.
How Are Head Lice Transmitted?
To understand the likelihood of contracting head lice, it is important to get a sense of how head lice are transmitted from person to person. Specifically, head lice are transmitted from direct contact with someone who has head lice to someone that does not.
You must have contact with someone else’s hair in order to get head lice. This is because head lice only live on the head. They do not live on any other parts of the body. Children often are the ones to get head lice because they tend to have more contact with others through play.
This also means that there are a number of ways that you cannot get head lice. For example, you cannot get head lice from shaking hands or simply being in the same room with someone who has lice. This is because head lice cannot jump or fly.
Do Adults Get Head Lice?
Thus, this brings us to our overarching question – do adults get head lice? The simple answer to this question is yes. Adults can definitely get head lice. In fact, any person that has hair can contract head lice. However, it is not something that tends to be very common in adults.
There tends to be certain types of adults that are more likely to get head lice. Parents of small children are often at a higher risk as they can contract head lice from their children. Lice can spread fairly quickly with close contact. Thus, if a child brings home head lice from school, it can quickly spread through the family. Since moms tend to have longer hair than dads, they are the most likely parent to get lice.
Do Adults Without Children Get Lice?
It makes sense that parents can get head lice given that it is typically spread by children. However, it is worth asking whether adults without children can get it. The reality is that any adult who has hair can get head lice. However, it is incredibly rare for adults without children to get head lice.
One of the major reasons for this is that people typically do a good job of controlling head lice. Schools check for it in children and parents are typically very careful about completely stopping an outbreak. This also means there is far less head lice in the adult population. In some countries who are less careful about head lice, it can spread more in adults.