Can Adults Get Lice?

Who Can Get Lice?

While there usually is more concern and discussion of lice infesting children than adults, without a doubt people of any age can become hosts for lice.

image of body lice

Types of Lice

Three species of lice survive on and infest humans and each species gets its common name based upon the portion of the body they prefer to infest.

  • Head lice: Primarily are found in the portion of the body where hair occurs on the head
  • Crab lice: Primarily infest the pubic hair region of the body
  • Body lice: Actually lives in seams of the host’s underclothing and leave the clothing only to feed on the host’s blood, do not remain directly on the host’s body, continuously.

However, if someone is very heavily infested with head lice or crab lice, these lice species may and often do occupy other parts of the body.

Each of these lice is a blood-sucking insect that must remain in close association with people or else they will eventually die.

Lice develop in three stages – the eggs, the nymphs, which look like miniature adults and the mature, fully grown adult stage.

How Are Lice Transferred?

There can be a transfer of lice from an infested person to another person upon contact with someone who has lice or louse infested items such as:

  • Hats
  • Hairbrushes
  • Other clothing
  • Bedding

However, of the three lice mentioned above, head lice are the most commonly transmitted lice among young children in school.