You may have heard of parents frantically cleaning their home after discovering a child has head lice—washing every linen, shampooing pets, bagging and quarantining pillows and stuffed animals for weeks, even throwing away things for fear of contamination.
These steps aren’t all necessary and understanding how lice live and spread can give you peace of mind, not to mention save precious time.
First, head lice can only live on humans. The only food they consume is human blood. Icky but true. Lice can’t live on your pets, they can’t live on stuffed animals or pillowcases for more than a day. Nor will lice venture far from a human host.
Here’s what the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has to say about home cleaning for head lice: “Head lice do not survive long if they fall off a person and cannot feed. You don’t need to spend a lot of time or money on housecleaning activities.”
The only things that need to be cleaned are items that have been in contact with the hair of the person with lice. It is important to wash their linens, clothing, combs, brushes in hot water (130 degrees) and to dry things in high heat, but that’s about all that is necessary.
Lice only spread through hair-to-hair contact. They can’t jump or fly, so a strand of hair with a louse on it could theoretically get stuck to a hat or scarf, but the louse will die if it doesn’t reach a human within a day or so. And eggs (nits) can’t hatch apart from the heat provided by the human body.
The odds of lice spreading from furniture or the carpet is extremely low. The same goes for car seats and shared headgear like batting helmets or headphones.
“Spending much time and money on housecleaning activities is not necessary to avoid infestation by lice or nits that may have fallen off the head or crawled onto furniture or clothing,” the CDC says.
The only thing you need to seal and store are things that can’t be washed, placed in a drier on high heat, or dry cleaned. Even then, you only need to store those items for no more than a day.
There is really no need to panic about head lice. They don’t carry any diseases and they don’t cause any kind of illness.
More good news: treating head lice is easier than ever. Lice Clinics of America is the exclusive provider of lice treatment using AirAllé, an FDA-cleared medical device clinically shown to kill live lice and more than 99 percent of eggs in a single treatment that takes about an hour and is guaranteed to be effective.
Most clinics guarantee that you’ll leave the clinic lice-free in about an hour. The AirAllé device has successfully treated more than 450,000 cases of head lice around the world with a success rate better than 99 percent.
With more than 350 treatment centers in over 30 countries, Lice Clinics of America is the largest and fastest growing network of professional head lice treatment centers in the world.
To learn more visit liceclinicsofamerica.com.