Holidaymakers could catch HEAD LICE from plane headrests

7 August 2018, 11:14

Itchy head flight

By Naomi Berners

Sit back, relax and...scratch?

Next time you're on a flight to somewhere exotic, you might want to give your headrest a quick spray with some lice killer before you recline and unwind.

It's been revealed that you can actually get yourself a headful of lice just by lolling back onto a riddled seat - and that's not a holiday freebie anyone wants anytime soon.


Credit: Getty

Dr Sharon Wong, a consultant dermatologist with the British Skin Foundation, has explained that the lice don't fly or jump from one person to another, but can last away from a 'human host' for up to 48 hours - plenty of time for them to latch themselves onto a headrest ready for their next scalp-based meal.

Read more: Passengers are calling for child-free zones on planes 

"Most commonly they infect another person via close contact and survive by blood feed from the scalp," she explained.

"However they can survive off the human host for up to 48 hrs – so within that time frame lice and eggs which have dropped off the hair shaft or hair strands which are infested with lice can potentially be cross transferred to another person by objects such as pillows, hairbrushes… and headrests."


Credit: Getty  

It is believed that short-haul planes will carry the highest risk of contracting head lice, simply due to the vast amount of journeys they do in a short space of time.

And the more journeys the plane makes, the more passengers come and go.

The best lice-repellent liquids will contain ingredients cyclomethicone and isopropyl myristate - and these kill the lice by 'dissolving' the outer coating of their shell, causing them to 'dehydrate' them to death.

Anyone feeling itchy all of a sudden?

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