In the United States,
Anyone who comes in head-to-head contact with someone who already has head lice is at greatest risk. Spread by contact with clothing (such as hats, scarves, coats) or other personal items (such as combs, brushes, or towels) used by an infested person is uncommon.
Head lice infestations are common, affecting an estimated 6 million to 12 million people each year. Lice are most common among school-age children who are more likely to have close contact with each other or share combs, brushes, hats and other objects that touch the hair.
While anyone can contract lice, they are particularly common in children who attend preschools or elementary schools. It is important to note that having lice is not a sign of poor hygiene. In this article, learn more about how people get lice.
Preschool and elementary-age children, 3-10, and their families are infested most often. Girls get head lice more often than boys, women more than men. In the United States, African-Americans rarely get head lice.
Adults are not immune to head lice. In fact, if you have any close contact with children or even parents of children you can be at risk of catching them if they have them. Lice transfer primarily through head to head contact, so you would have to get close to the other person.
Getting Lice While Bald
They find it difficult to feed and quickly die off. Lice may attempt to attach, but the environment is unsuitable for their survival. While bald people may become temporarily affected by head lice they often leave for a better suited host or die off. Thin or sporadic hair can still attract lice.
Lice are attracted to the blood they get through your scalp – short, long, clean or dirty.
No one is immune, but frequent head checks help
Anyone can get lice, and personal hygiene has nothing to do with the likelihood of being infested, Rukke said.
There is no specific hair type that lice prefer. All lice need is a clean strand of hair to attach to. It doesn't matter the thickness, the length, if it's been colored, if it's straight, or if it's curly. It has been found that people with longer hair tend to report getting lice.
Head lice are annoying, but they're not dangerous and they don't spread disease. They're not a sign of poor hygiene — head lice need blood and they don't care whether it's from someone who's clean or dirty. It's best to treat head lice right away to prevent them from spreading.
Adult lice can live up to 30 days on a person's head. To live, adult lice need to feed on blood several times daily. Without blood meals, the louse will die within 1 to 2 days off the host.
Symptoms. You don't usually start experiencing scalp itching when lice first arrive in your hair. You may not experience itching until about 4 to 6 weeks after lice exposure. This is because the lice take time to multiply and cause symptoms of itchiness.
The peak season for lice infestation is August through October and again in January. Head lice are tiny parasitic insects that feed on human blood. Lice come in three forms: nits (eggs), nymphs (baby lice), and adults. Nits are white or yellowish-brown and about the size of a poppy seed.
While head lice live in your hair and feed on your scalp, body lice usually live in your clothes and bedding. They travel to your skin several times a day to feed on blood. Your clothing seams are the most common places for body lice to lay their eggs (nits).
Any braid type that keeps your hair pulled back and contained is perfect for helping to prevent your contact with head lice. A bun keeps all of your hair gathered together and pulled back out of your face, also a great style for keeping it away from lice.
Items that cannot be laundered such as headgear, earphones, and bike helmets, can be placed in a plastic bag and put in a freezer. If the freezer is 5°F or lower, all lice and eggs should be dead within 10 hours. Also, keep items and areas off-limits to people for 48 hours to limit exposure to any live lice.
Head lice most often affect children. The insects usually spread through direct transfer from the hair of one person to the hair of another. Having head lice isn't a sign of poor personal hygiene or an unclean living environment. Head lice don't carry bacterial or viral diseases.
It's important to note that head lice do not hide in mattresses during the day like bed bugs—they want to remain on the scalp of their hosts continuously. And lice can only crawl—no jumping or flying, which means they can only be contracted by direct contact.
Parasites such as lice have a role in the conditioning of a 'natural' immune system and reducing the likelihood of immune dysfunctions, a study of mice from a Nottinghamshire forest indicates.
Head lice and coily hair: Signs and treatment. Head lice have difficulty gripping onto coily hair. As a result, Black people with coily hair and others with this hair type may be less susceptible to head lice. Head lice are small insects that live in human hair.
Lice Can Thrive Anywhere with Hair
A lot of people assume that short hair is the answer to prevent lice, but this is only a myth. Lice are transported via direct head-to-head contact with someone who has lice. Therefore, if you have any amount of hair, you can still get head lice.
If your clippers have been exposed, you'll need to know how to clean them so that the lice aren't spread from person to person. This means that you'll need to clean and disinfect your clippers and kill the lice.