Risk Factors for Developing Lice

Lice may be found on various areas of the body like the scalp (head lice), pubic region (pubic lice or crabs) or on the clothes (body lice). Also be aware that lice may be found on other areas of the body as well such as the eyebrows, eyelashes and facial hair. Treatments do exist for lice, although you should do your best to avoid spreading lice to others and to avoid catching lice from others who have lice.

Personal Items

Sharing personal items like hair brushes, combs, hats, clothes, bed sheets, etc. with other people may help to spread lice. Preschool and elementary school children who commonly share hats, combs and other items are at greater risk of head lice than adults. Adults who live with small children may be at a greater risk as well. Pubic lice, also called crabs, may be spread from one person to another through sexual contact. As pubic lice are found in the pubic region, close physical contact during sex may put individuals at greater risk of pubic lice. To reduce your risk of lice, reduce your number of sexual partners and avoid sexual contact with individuals who have pubic lice.

Family Members

If you have lice, take the proper precautions to avoid spreading it to others in your household. Do not share pillows or bed sheets with other family members and do not share clothing. Wash your bed sheets and clothing in hot water to kill lice and bathe thoroughly. Body lice usually go away on their own if the individual bathes, washes their clothes and bed sheets, and wears clean clothes every day. Head lice and pubic lice may require special medication and/or combs to get rid of them.

Living Environments

Living in a crowded or unkempt environment may put you at greater risk of lice. If you do not wash your clothes or sheets, change your clothes or sheets and live in a generally unclean environment, you may be at greater risk of lice. People who are homeless or who are refugees may be at greater risk. To learn more about lice and what conditions or activities may put you at risk, speak with a healthcare professional in your area.

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