What are some steps I can take to help prevent and control the spread of head lice?
Avoid head to head contact during play, sleepovers, or other activities at home, school, and elsewhere. Do not share combs, brushes or towels used by an infested person. Do not share clothing such as hats, scarves, coats, hair accessories. Machine wash and dry clothing, bed linens, and other items that an infested person used or wore during the previous 2 days using a hot water laundry cycle and high heat drying cycle. Do not use fumigant sprays or fogs; they are not necessary to control head lice and can be toxic if inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
Do I have to treat everyone if only one person is found to have head lice?
It is very common for close family or friends of infested individuals to also have lice. It is suggested that you check everyone in the household. You do not want to treat anyone who does not have head lice; however, we suggest you recheck everyone in a household where a louse infestation has been confirmed every few days for at least 10-15 days after an outbreak.
How do I treat my home for head lice?
Vacuum the carpet and furniture; wash bedding and clothing in very hot water; place pillows in a dryer at highest heat setting for 20 to 30 minutes; boil hair ties/hair brushes for 10 to 20 minutes or freeze them in a plastic bag overnight. Head lice cannot survive off of a human head for more than 24 to 48 hours. We recommend that you do not use pesticide sprays in your home; they will unnecessarily expose your household to harmful chemicals.
OY VEY! My child has been sent home from school with lice. What should I do?
First things first, don’t panic. While you may have the urge to pick every nit ASAP, take a deep breath and relax. By the time your child shows symptoms of lice, they’ve likely been infested for a few weeks. Give us a call and schedule a head check, and we’ll go from there.
How soon after finding head lice should I seek treatment?
As soon as possible. But don’t go into panic mode. We understand head lice can be unsettling, but they pose no immediate health risk.
But don’t I need to clean my house to get rid of all the lice? I’ve heard that I should clean carpets, drapes and take toys away for at least a week.
Head lice are transferred by head-to-head contact. Lice can’t survive for long once they’ve separated from their human host. There’s no need to take toys away from children who are already having a tough time with lice. If vacuuming carpets and washing your linens will give you peace of mind, go for it! But it’s definitely not necessary as the life cycle of lice once they are off of humans is 24 hours or less.
Are head lice a health concern for my children?
Head lice pose no immediate health risk and are not known to spread disease. However, they can be uncomfortable because they cause itching and can keep kids awake at night with scratching fits.