My question is Why are human children more likely to get lice than adults?
- Can be referred to lice/louse/nits
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Children generally don't care about their hair as much as adults do. So unless parents insist, they don't care for their hair as much (reference). Kids generally get lice because they are in close contact with each other during play-dates, slumber parties, and sports activities. They are also prone to exchange hair brushes and other personal items more often than adults (reference).
An interesting difference I came across between articles is that one article says that its
theoretically possible to get infested if your hair makes contact with items such as hats, combs, or brushes (reference).
Another article insists that
You’re extremely unlikely to get head lice by sharing hats, combs or pillows – a louse’s lifespan is very short once it’s removed from your head (reference).
Between the two, I believe that it is extremely likely that lice would spread if you use a infected hairbrush immediately after it was used by someone harboring the parasite since the time span is short.
Lice prefer clean hair, so in addition to closer contact among children, adults seem to use more hair product (gel, hair spray, etc.) than children in preparation for their day. Lice have difficulty moving through hair strands that are stuck together with product, so this may also contribute to the prevalence in children.