When my clients do a good job of reporting their head lice situation to friends and relatives, I will sometimes get calls from concerned individuals. They are primarily concerned about the possibility that they will get or may have gotten head lice from their friend/relative. In an effort to clear up some of the concern, the following is a list of ways you will NOT get head lice from a friend or relative:
1. Standing next to them
2. Having dinner with them
3. Walking into their home
Refusing to enter someone's home because they have had lice (and you only know they have had lice because they have TOLD you like a good citizen of the world), only creates and adds to the stigma associated with lice. Casual social interaction will not lead to the spreading of lice from one person to another. Direct physical contact needs to occur in order to give the lice an opportunity to move from one head to another. About 90% of the time, head lice move from one host to another by direct head-to-head contact. The myth that people develop chronic lice because they aren't cleaning their home well enough is just that...a myth. Families who develop a pattern of re-infestation do so because they fail to identify and treat each affected family member properly.
You don't have to hug your friend, but please don't avoid them. Remember, once a person has been treated properly (that is a big caveat), they no longer pose a risk of cross-infestation to you. For more information, please email me email@example.com.