How is pediculus humanus capitis (head lice) spread?

Updated: Mar 01, 2018
  • Author: Lyn C C Guenther, MD, FRCPC, FAAD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Head louse infestation is spread by close physical contact and occasionally by shared fomites (eg, combs, brushes, hats, scarves, bedding). [4] Lice can be dislodged by combs, towels, and air movement (including hair dryers in either low or high setting). [9] Hair combing and sweater removal may eject adult lice more than 1 meter from infested scalps. Head lice can travel up to 23 cm/min. [6] The head louse has difficulty attaching firmly to smooth surfaces (eg, glass, metal, plastic, synthetic leathers). [4]


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