Advertisement

Don’t only people who are dirty get lice?

Patricia Thompson
Pediatric Nursing
No, they are very small insects that spread easily from person to person through close contact. There are several types, but headlice are usually found on children who are together in groups at school or home.  Sharing personal belongings like combs can also spread lice from one person to another. 
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Ever stay at a NY hotel or a fun park hotel where kids run in the curtains (only kidding NY)? Lice can literally rub off the curtains where they are hitchhiking onto you. You may think keeping yourself as immaculate as a white linen suit will prevent you from getting lice, but think again. Lice are parasitic insects (like ticks) that need human blood to survive. You get lice through close contact with someone who has head lice, pubic lice (crabs), or body lice. Now, people who don’t bathe or wash their clothes as frequently as you do may become more susceptible to body lice because they remain in close contact with body lice-infested clothing. However, the cleanliness of a person or their environment will not be an issue for getting head lice. You remember those head lice checks at school where the school nurse had to examine every kid’s head.
 
Still, good hygiene is important in preventing the spread of head lice. So avoid sharing items that might have a hitchhiking louse or nit aboard like hair things, hats, scarves, and sports equipment like headgear.

Continue Learning about Lice

Preventing Head Lice: What Works, What Doesn’t
Preventing Head Lice: What Works, What Doesn’t
Autumn’s rites of passage include that dreaded note you may receive from school: head lice in your child's class. Thankfully, shaved heads and home-sc...
Read More
How do body lice affect the body?
Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhDDr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Body lice affect the body by causing your skin to itch. Constantly scratching your skin can cause ot...
More Answers
How do crab lice or pubic lice affect the body?
Diana MeeksDiana Meeks
The biggest effect of pubic lice is the intense itchiness they cause in the genital area. The itchin...
More Answers
What are lice?
Dr. Michael Roizen, MDDr. Michael Roizen, MD
Lice are tiny insects that live on humans and feed on blood, infesting up to ten million schoolchild...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.