In order to protect your family from head lice you must be aware of where head lice may exist in your home.
Where do I begin?
Wash bedding, mattress covers, linens, pillows, pillowcases, blankets, comforters, and towels. All clothing that has been worn in the last 48 hours also needs to be washed. Soak, wash and dry them in temperatures reaching at least 130 degrees. Dry cleaning is also a method that will kill lice and their eggs. Whichever option works best for you is important to do immediately.
Gather all personal items that could be carrying lice or eggs. Plush toys, stuffed animals, rugs, decorative pillows, throw blankets or any personal items that are a risk need to be placed in the dryer on a high heat setting for 30 minutes.
Should I bag items for 2 weeks?
When head lice fall off a scalp they cannot survive for more than a day or two. They need a host to feed on and stay warm. Lice eggs, or nits, do not hatch if not under proper conditions. If detached from a human head they will not have the heat and humidity needed to incubate. For this reason, some experts recommend bagging infected items for 2 weeks to suffocate lice and kill eggs. Although this is an effect, it is most often unnecessary unless you are dealing with an extreme case. Washing, soaking and drying items is just as effective in ridding them of lice and nits.
What are the best ways to sanitize hairbrushes?
All items used on the hair or scalp need to be collected, have all hair strands removed, and disinfected. This includes brushes, combs, hair ties, hair clips, headbands, or accessories. One easy method is to throw everything on the top shelf of a dishwasher. Run it through a normal cycle. High heat settings can cause plastic items to melt. You can also sanitize items by boiling a pot of hot water and soaking items for at least five minutes. Other people use rubbing alcohol, soaking items in it overnight fully immersed will thoroughly disinfect hair items. There is no need to throw them away. These methods will quickly and easily make them safe to reuse.
Is fumigation the best option?
No. Fumigation, fog insecticides or pesticides of any kind are not recommended in removing lice and eggs from your home. Sometimes harmful toxins from these chemicals can be inhaled or absorbed into the skin posing a health threat to your family and pets. Vacuum your home, rugs, carpets, couches, chairs, tapestries and all fabrics to remove traces of lice. Be sure to immediately remove the vacuum bag or empty the vacuum into an outside trash. Wipe down any leather or vinyl areas with a warm, wet cloth. A thorough, deep cleaning is the most effective, safe way to proceed.
Are my pets at risk?
No. Pets do not play any role in carrying or transmitting head lice.