While there is no specific answer to the question “how common is head lice?” there is some evidence that the nits are spread by direct head-to-head contact. In addition, head lice cannot hop or fly and can only crawl at a rate of 23 cm per second. The role of fomites in the transmission of head lice is still under debate, but two recent Australian studies suggest that pillowcases and classroom floor carpets are not a source of transmission. Likewise, pets are not considered a common source of transmission.
To prevent head lice from spreading to other people, parents should teach their children to wash and massage their own hair thoroughly. This will remove nits and dead skin cells that can cause dandruff and oiliness. Parents should also inform child care services, preschools, and schools that their child may have head lice. Children should also avoid sharing personal items, especially their heads with others.
In addition to home cleaning, child-care centers and schools should provide separate storage areas for clothing, bedding, and other items. Children should not be left alone in an area where they have nits, such as a classroom. Children should always be checked frequently. Families should also avoid having other people check their child’s head, because one person with head lice can infect others. Therefore, it is not recommended to treat people with head lice, unless you are absolutely sure that they have the infection.
When children are young, head lice are common. A single outbreak can spread through an entire family in just a few days. Despite the high prevalence of head lice in kids, it’s best to avoid spreading them to other people. Children should also avoid sharing personal items, such as combs, hair accessories, and hats. Likewise, moms should avoid head-to-head contact with their kids, as head-to-head contact is a common breeding ground for head lice.