Gross question: Realistically, what are the chances of me getting lice from my coworker? — The Bump
School-Aged Children

Gross question: Realistically, what are the chances of me getting lice from my coworker?

She announced today that she was staying home because she noticed adult ones in her hair. She got them from her school-aged son. This is his third infestation and AFAIK her first. Five days ago, we were all at a team lunch. I sat next to her on a bench and our coats made light contact. I am very annoyed right now and am doing some half measures (laundry in hot water, oil in the hair) as we speak. It's slightly more complicated because I'm pregnant and can't just run out to the drugstore to get the OTC shampoos as most are contraindicated for pregnant women. The incubation period is 1-2 weeks, right?  How much longer until I know for sure?  Thanks.

Re: Gross question: Realistically, what are the chances of me getting lice from my coworker?

  • Don't panic.  It's really unlikely for an adult to pass lice to a co-worker.  I also had lice when my kids did several years ago.  It's not unusual for a parent to become infested from children, but adults don't tend to come into close physical contact with each other in the way a parent and child do.  Lice themselves can't move easily from one person to another, so even if you sat next to her, you're probably fine. 

    A LOT of factors have to line up perfectly for lice to move from one person to another: the infested person's stray hairs have to have nits on them, the nits have to be viable, you have to pick up the stray hairs and get them onto your body within a few hours of them falling off of hers, the hairs have to position themselves within a few inches of your skin in order for the nits to be incubated long enough to hatch, etc. Adults just don't get in each others' space the way kids do, which is why lice are a common issue in elementary schools but not in the adult population.

    Oils in your hair won't do a thing to the lice.  I found that OTC lice shampoo and little comb weren't all that effective either, so don't worry about that.  If you're concerned, put any clothing that may have come in contact with your co-worker's clothing or furniture into a hot dryer for 20 minutes.  A dryer on high kills both lice and nits.  You can vacuum furniture to suck up stray hairs that may have viable nits. Keep an eye on your hair for lice and nits.  Have your H check your head every other day for about 2 weeks.  If nothing shows up in 2 weeks, you're safe.

    When my kids (and I -- yuck) had lice, I found that the CDC website and my kids' school nurse were the best sources of information. 
    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
  • Ditto, the above! Lice can't really jump, they have to have a "bridge" from person to person. Don't worry, it's incredibly unlikely you'll get it from her!
    no day but today~ RENT  *HEG survivors*
    ::where a sig pic would go if TB wasn't a d*ck::
     Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers
  • I know this was posted a few months ago but I wanted to share this because it is the best! My daughter has got lice 2 times in one month, it was horrible! The school sends home a letter when any child on the class has it, so I started looking in to products to try to prevent further problems. Their is a product called the robicomb. It is a hand held comb that you put through the hair, it zaps and kills lice, you can hear it when it does. Now if I ever get a letter home I take it straight to her hair. It will find and kill the live and hopefully prevent a infestation. I would recommend using it after lice treatments to ensure all are gone and is safe for women who are pregnant. Best $15.00 ever spent for peace of mind!
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