Flights: Head lice warning for passengers travelling on planes | Travel News | Travel

Flights could be spreading head lice through the seat cushions, according to experts.

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has found an increase in head lice cases in the last five years, with 45 per cent of parents admitting they had caught them.

Passengers travelling by plane could find their heads full of unwanted visitors by the time they land.

Dr Sharon Wong, Consultant Dermatologist with the British Skin Foundation explained that while they don’t “fly or jump”, they can live for up to 48 hours on a human.

This means that they can easily be transmitted elsewhere: “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.”

While planes are often cleaned between departures, a deep clean is something many do not see often.

Budget airlines can fly as many as five flights in one day on short routes, meaning many different passengers who could spread lice.

Mr Patel warned: “If the seat comes into contact with a passenger with head lice, it’s very probable that some of the bugs could linger in the headrest.”

Other experts refute the claims, stating that the risk is “incredibly low”.

Dr Tess McPherson, a Consultant Dermatologist with the British Association of Dermatologists said: “They are unlikely to jump off heads onto seats, as they like warm places, and in any case will only survive a short time.”

For families who know their children are infected with head lice, it is best to try and protect other passengers from catching this.

This can mean taking particular sprays or shampoos on holiday alongside sun cream.

Mr Patel advising looking for products that contain “cyclomethicone and isopropyl myristate” as these dry out the critters.

A comb that removes nits – the head lice eggs, not the head lice themselves – can also help.

He even suggests parents should not fly if they know they have head lice as they can easily spread among other passengers without realising.

Flight attendants have admitted some of the most disgusting secrets from a plane and just how infrequently they can be cleaned.

They often advise against walking barefoot on planes due to the fifth hiding in the carpets.

Drinking hot drinks is a no-no due to the lack of cleaning the water tanks get.

However, some passengers have reported bed bug bites after sitting on a flight.

While rare, bed bugs can easily be spread between soft furnishings, requiring planes to partake in deep fumigation to remove them.

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