Head lice can't fly or jump, and they're not transmitted by pets. They spread by head-to-head contact or via contact with contaminated personal belongings or home furnishings.

Head-to-head contact

This is the most common mode of transmission and may occur as children or family members play or interact closely together.

Sharing personal items

Less commonly, head lice may be transmitted via such items as:

  • Caps, hats and scarves
  • Brushes and combs
  • Hair decorations, such as barrettes
  • Headphones

Home furnishings

Head lice may sometimes be contracted by contact with contaminated:

  • Towels
  • Clothing
  • Blankets
  • Pillows
  • Upholstered furniture
Jun. 01, 2011