Lice Myths, Facts, and Information
Dealing with a head lice infestation can be very stressful and overwhelming. The following information is here to help. Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us!
- Head lice (singularly know as a head louse) are parasites. They need a human host to survive. They live close to the scalp and feed a few times a day. They do not carry diseases. Without a host, a louse will die after 24 hours.
- Lice have been around for centuries. They are found all over the world and infestations are most common among children and families.
- Cleanliness does not relate to susceptibility.
- Lice crawl, they do not fly or jump. Head to head contact is the most common way to transfer lice although they may be spread through clothing and sharing items.
- Three stages of life: The egg (nit), the nymph, and the adult stage. Nits take about 8-9 days to hatch. A louse is a nymph for 9-12 days after hatching until it grows to be an adult. A nymph cannot lay eggs. An adult louse can live 30 days, is about the size of a sesame seed and lays about 4-5 eggs per day.
- Many strains have built up immunity and resistance to chemical treatments that are currently on the market. While live bugs are removed or killed; eggs can still be present. It is critical to remove these in order to cure an infestation.
- Animals cannot get lice.
- Head lice can hold their breath for up to 5 hours.
- The best treatment is using harsh chemicals?
No. Not only are chemicals harmful and unfriendly to the environment and people they are not effective as they only kill live bugsl leaving the eggs to hatch. Many families are using both over the counter and prescription strength chemical treatments with no success.
- Lice like dirty kids?
Yes, but only because lice does not discriminate, they like both clean and dirty kids. While clean hair is easy to grasp onto, they will feed on people with dirty hair as well.
- I need to fumigate my home once there is an infestation?
No, No. No. Homes don’t get head lice, people do. Spraying the environment or hiring extermination services is unwarranted and can pose potential health risks.
- I need to use Vaseline or mayonnaise?
No. Although some people have had success with these products there is no known evidence. These products are very difficult to remove from hair and are not recommended.
- I will know if I or my child has lice?
No. Lice as well as lice eggs (nits) are very difficult to detect. They are very small and blend extremely well into hair. Also, 50% those infected with head lice will not show signs of itching or scratching.
- Once the live bugs are dead or removed I am cured?
No. Even though live lice may be gone the nits they laid are still attached to individual strands of hair. In order to fully eliminate head lice all nits must be removed. This requires thorough combing and manual removal.
Cleaning Your Home
Lightly vacuum couches, carpets and car seats or throw a blanket/sheet over them for 24 hours. Head lice are human parasites and need blood to survive. Therefore, pesticide sprays are not needed or recommended.
Wash and dry any clothing, towels or bed linens that have been in contact with lice. Use the high heat setting.
Remove any comforters or bedspreads from the beds of the infested person(s) for 24 hours or place in the dryer on high heat for 30 to 45 minutes.
- Bagging Stuffed Animals and Other Items
Place in a hot dryer for 30 minutes.
Clean all combs, brushes, and hair accessories used in the last 24 hours utilizing one of the following methods:
- Place in alcohol, ammonia or dish detergent and allow them to soak for a minimum of two hours.
- You may use a boiled pot of water for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Wash in the dishwasher on the hot cycle.
- Alternatively, you may also gather these items, bag them and put them in the freezer for two hours.