You can get lice by coming into contact with either lice or their eggs. Eggs hatch in about one week. Lice can't fly or walk on the ground. They spread through:

  • Head-to-head or body-to-body contact. This may occur as children or family members play or interact closely.
  • Proximity of stored belongings. Storing infested clothing in closets, in lockers or on side-by-side hooks at school, or storing personal items such as pillows, blankets, combs and stuffed toys in proximity at home can permit lice to spread.
  • Items shared among friends or family members. These may include clothing, headphones, brushes, combs, hair decorations, towels, blankets, pillows and stuffed toys.
  • Contact with contaminated furniture. Lying on a bed or sitting in overstuffed, cloth-covered furniture recently used by someone with lice can spread them. Lice can live for one to two days off the body.
  • Sexual contact. Pubic lice usually spread through sexual contact and most commonly affect adults. Pubic lice found on children may be a sign of sexual exposure or abuse.
May. 22, 2012