Siblings and Head Lice: Tips

April 10 is National Siblings Day, and we are using the day to call attention to the fact that siblings are often the channel used by head lice to spread.

“The closer in age siblings are, the more likely it is for them to spread lice to one another.”  “That’s because they are likely to spend more time together and share rooms, hair accessories, and clothing that might carry hair with lice.”

According to a study of Norwegian school children, an infested sibling increases the odds of a child contracting head lice by 36 percent. In some school districts, if a student is found to have head lice, any siblings at the school are also checked.

Lice spread primarily through head-to-head contact. When siblings share a bed or bedroom, and one has head lice, others are likely to get lice, too. Lice don’t fly or jump, but if a louse is on a shaft of hair that falls on a jacket or hat or hair brush, it will crawl onto the next head it can find in a matter of seconds.

“Lice can’t live anywhere but on a human head,” Desmond said. “It is a matter of survival to get on the nearest head.”