How do I treat my home for lice?
Don't panic. Cleaning the home will be easier than you think. There are a few basic steps to ridding your home of lice.
A louse can survive for up to 48 hours without a host. It is important to clean properly during this time period. Follow the steps below immediately after each treatment.
Bed: Sheets, blankets, pillow cases, and duvet covers should be put in the drier for 30-45 minutes on high heat or placed in plastic bags for 2-3 days. (washing optional)
Couch: Vacuum and cover with sheet or blanket for 2-3 days.
Hair Combs & Accessories: Place in plastic bag and freeze over night, or submerge in disinfectant, or bag for 2-3 days
Clothing: All clothing worn in last 2-3 days should be put in drier for 30-40 minutes on high or left unused for a few more days.
Automobile: Vacuum well or cover seats with sheets for 2-3 days.
Toys: Isolate toys for 2-3 days
Note: Plastic bags do not suffocate lice, they simply isolate them. Placing possibly infested items into an unused closet or garage space is sufficient. Head lice do not travel long distances when off of the human head. Nits (lice eggs) need the warmth and moisture of a human head to hatch; they are not at risk of hatching when off of the human head.
What are head lice?
Head lice (Pediculus Humanus capitis) are parasitic insects that live on the hair of human heads and feed on human blood.
How do you get head lice?
Transmission through direct head to head contact is the most common way a person becomes infested with head lice.Young children between the ages of 3 and 11 years of age are at the highest risk of becoming infested with lice. However, anyone with heart can get lice by using/wearing items used by an infested person. Lice can also be transmitted in public areas such as movie theaters, cloting stores and even airplanes.
Were you exposed to lice?
If you have recently been in contact with an infested person a lice check should be performed. This can be done by using the fingers or a comb. Part the hair and look for sign of lice including living bugs or nits (eggs) which are attached to the hair. Usually lice infestations can be difficult to diagnose during the first week of an infestation.
Who gets head lice?
Children ages 3 to 11 are the group with the highest risk of becoming infested with lice. This is because young cvhildren have a lot more close contact with each other than older children and adults.
Where does lice come from?
Lice have likely been around just as long as humans and are strictly a human parasite. Lice cannot survive on non-human hosts, such as household pets, and are primarily spread by human to human contact.
Does lice mean bad hygiene?
No. Persons with cleaner hair are actually at higher risk as lice can grab onto and move through clean hair much easier than oily or dirty hair. A clean scalp also makes it easier for lice to feed.