CHARLOTTE, N.C. – As Halloween approaches, the creepy crawlers are coming out.
While most are props used to scare our friends and neighbors, others are very real.
We’re talking about lice. Halloween stores have entire walls of masks and wigs, with hundreds of people coming through the stores trying on the very costume you might end up buying.
And finding the right costume and the right fit could come at a small cost. With so many others doing the same thing, you could be putting yourself at risk for catching lice.
“There certainly is some increased risk by people sharing hats and wigs and clothing like that more,” said Novant Medical Director Dr. Charles Bregier.
Dr. Bregier says the risk really isn’t any higher than it would be trying on similar items at a department store.
“Really, it takes direct contact,” Bregier said. “It’s spread most commonly by people who sleep in the same bed or have other very close contact.”
Because lice require that proximity, kids more often spread the tiny insects. However, there are no studies that show lice is a greater concern at any particular time of the year.
“It really all comes down to, are you in a place where lots of people have it? And they’re in the clothing, they’re in the sheets, they’re in the towels, they’re all over the place,” Bregier said.
Even though the risk is small to begin with, there are still precautions you can take.
“Buy your clothes, take them home, and wash them in hot water and dry them,” said Bregier. “Any lice that could be on your clothes will be taken care of.”
In the end, lice get a lot of hype and may be a concern to worried parents, but Dr. Bregier says it’s not a particularly serious condition.