adults can get head lice

Can Adults Get Head Lice?

When a child comes home from school or summer camp with head lice, parents often worry about siblings in the home. But, what about the adults? Can they get head lice, too?

The truth is that anyone can get head lice – even moms and dads. Still, adults are far less likely to get head lice than kids, and there are a couple of reasons for this. Let’s learn more about why lice prefer kid heads over adult heads.

Why are Adults Less Likely to Get Lice?

Anyone who has hair can get head lice – parents, teachers, daycare providers, etc. That said, head lice are most common in children ages 4-11. Girls tend to get lice more often than boys, probably because they have longer hair.

Some of the reasons why kids get head lice more than adults are because they:

  • Share their personal space. Kids don’t have the same boundaries and rules about personal space as adults do. For example, they often put their heads together when playing games or watching TV. This allows the lice to crawl from one head to the next.
  • Share items with others. Another thing that kids do more often than adults is share stuff like hairbrushes, hair ties and hats. This is especially common during sleepovers. If lice are present on one of these items, they can transfer to a new child’s head. 
  • Have different pH levels. When we’re born, our scalps have a neutral pH level of 7. Over time, the “acid mantle” on the scalp continues to form to protect against harmful environmental factors. Until this layer is formed, however, kids have a very different pH level that makes it easier for lice to invade.
  • Attend school, daycare and summer camp. Kids spend their time in places where lice are more likely to be. Lice remain a problem in overnight camps, daycare centers and schools. Lice are generally not a problem in the workplace. 

Bottom Line: Lice Love All Heads

In the end, lice are perfectly happy on any head. Adults can get them, too, though they are less likely due to the above factors. Remember, if your child does get head lice, it’s not the end of the world. Lice are treatable, and by being vigilant, you can prevent them spreading to everyone else in the household – even YOU!

To shop for lice treatment or prevention products, or to schedule an appointment for lice checks, contact My Hair Helpers today.

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