An estimated 12 million cases of lice will occur
this year according to the National Pediculosis Association and
chances are your child or someone you know will be affected by a
head lice infestation. Head lice are more of a nuisance than
a health hazard but it is important to act quickly to relieve your
family of the inconvenience and discomfort of lice infestation.
Lice cannot survive more than 1-2 days without a human host and
they cannot live on pets. Eggs will die within 2 weeks once they
are dislodged from the hair shaft and host. It is not
necessary to use pesticide sprays on furniture, rugs or
personal items and in many cases, this will cause more harm to your
home environment than good. Your time will be much better spent
combing nits and lice from the hair and following these steps to
kill head lice in infested items.
1. Gather all personal items such as Combs, Brushes, Hats, Hair
Clips, Headbands, Headsets, Helmets, Clothing, Stuffed Animals,
Costumes, Pillows and Coats for clean up.
2. Soak all hair care items (such as combs, brushes, hair clips,
etc.) in hot water (130°F) for 15 minutes.
3. For items that cannot be soaked in hot water such as headsets
or helmets, place them in a tightly sealed plastic bag and put them
in a freezer for 10-12 hours to kill the lice and eggs.
4. Wash all bedding and clothing that your child has used in hot
water (at least 130°F) OR run them through your dryer's hottest
setting for at least 30 minutes. Be sure to dry clean items that
cannot be washed.
5. Place items that cannot be cleaned or run through the dryer
(i.e. stuffed animals and toys) in a tightly sealed plastic bag for
6. Follow up with the vacuum to get rid of any lice dust or egg
shells that were left behind. According to the NPA, vacuuming is
the safest way to remove lice and fallen hairs with attached nits
from upholstered furniture, rugs, stuffed animals, or car seats-
wherever someone with head lice may have rested their head.
7. Conduct a family head check once a week. You'll need an
egg removal comb, a magnifying glass and lots of light.