Kansas City,
13:02 PM

Reader's Digest: 12 Unsuspecting Ways You Can Get Head Lice

By Jenn Sinrich

You know that lice can spread quickly—but do you know how and where? 

Family get-togethers are wonderful, but they are also a great excuse for relatives to squeeze together for a family photo. “Almost all head lice infestations happen from direct, head-to-head contact, which gives lice the opportunity to transfer from one head to another,” says Krista Lauer, MD, at Lice Clinics of America.

Sleeping in tents with others means sharing close quarters and, sometimes, even head-touching. In addition, as Christopher Harrison, MD, physician of infectious diseases at Children's Mercy Kansas City, points out, the seams in tents or sleeping bags are places for lice to hide (although they don’t live too long without a host to feed on). 

Hiking in groups, especially trips that involve staying in hiking shelters, could increase your chances of getting head lice, according to Dr. Harrison. “Shelters along well-established trails could become infested, since the hikers who sleep in a given shelter rotate each day,” he says.

“This direct, head-to-head contact is the perfect opportunity for head lice to transfer from one head to another,” says Dr. Lauer. “However, keep in mind that head lice are not dangerous, and an infestation is an indicator of being social and having friends, nothing more.”


Read the full list via Reader's Digest

Learn more about the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children's Mercy