Exterminating Head Lice

My granddaughter was sent home from school with head lice. Her mother is in a panic, all worried that her brothers and sisters and even the family dog are going to end up with head lice. She wants an exterminator to treat their home ASAP but is having trouble finding one who will do that. Why is this so difficult?

A.P., New Castle – Voicemail on Exterminator Answering Service Tweet
No one wants to receive the lice letter. The one that explains that there is a case of lice in your child’s grade, class, school, camp bunk, etc. The one that puts you over the edge and has you searching the internet for the best way to check, treat and prevent lice from spreading in your home and on your family. The stress and anxiety that results are real, but so is the reality that lice are not living in your home, and there is minimal cleaning to do it you have it. But first, we always recommend coming into Lice Lifters for our combing head check to confirm whether or not your child has head lice.

Myth About Head Lice

One common misperception about head lice is that the bugs infest your home, along with your head. Many parents arrive at our treatment center ready to throw out all their sheets, blankets, mattress, couch, and any piece of furniture that their child has touched in the last 24 hours. Lice Lifters is happy to tell you that none of that is necessary. There is no need to fumigate the house or toss any items. Exterminators are useless when it comes to treating head lice and the pesticides they use are not warranted.

The Real Truth

Head lice live on our heads, but they do not live in our homes. Lice do not burrow into your mattress/pillow or couch, live on your carpet, get into your walls, nor hang out on your child’s stuffed animals. A louse needs to feed several times a day in order to live, according to the CDC. Human blood, found just under the skin of the scalp, is what lice feed on to sustain themselves. The louse has hooks at the end of its legs, and they are the exact shape of the hair strands. This makes it very easy for the bug to say on the hair. A louse can also hold its breath for up to 8 hours, so the swimming pool and shower do not help you get rid of lice. A live louse found off the head, we like to say, is often NEAR DEAD. Lice only live between 32-38 days and do not survive more than 24-48 hours off the head.

Nits/lice eggs, also cannot thrive off the head. The human body acts as an incubator to assist in the egg in metamorphoses into a louse. If an egg comes off the head on the piece of hair it is attached to, the bug will no longer have the necessary environment to hatch.

There are only a few reasons a louse may come off the head:

  1. The louse is dying or near the end of its life
  2. The person scratched vigorously, and the louse was knocked off the head
  3. The piece of hair the louse was on came off on a brush or towel
  4. You felt the louse crawling and picked it out of your hair

What Should I Clean In My Home After The Lice Lifters Treatment?

So, if lice and their eggs do not live in your home, parents ask us what they should clean after their families have been treated by Lice Lifters? It is an excellent question. Lice cannot withstand extreme heat or extreme cold. Lice Lifters recommends cleaning the following items in the “Great Cleanup” handout.

Laundry

These items  need to be put into the dryer for 30 minutes on high heat. This list need only be done after the first Lice Lifters® Lice Solution treatment. Anything that cannot withstand the hot dryer cycle or be vacuumed needs to be bagged or put aside for 2 – 3 days.

Things To Vacuum

Only clean areas that have had direct head contact. It is known that a louse cannot survive very long without a human host.  Lice have legs with claws on their ends, so they can cling to fabric but cannot get around well on leather, plastic, wood, or other flat surfaces. Lice do not burrow. Items such as pillows or mattress pads covered by a pillowcase or sheet do not need to be cleaned.

Helmets And Hats

Any bicycle helmets or batting helmets used within 2-3 days from treatment need to be treated. Just put the helmet in the freezer. Baseball hats or winter hats can go in the dryer for 30 minutes on high heat.  If the hat or helmet has not been used in the past few days, it is okay. We recommend children have their baseball and bike helmets with their names marked on the outside of the helmets.

What To Do With Brushes And Hair Accessories

You will need to clean the brushes on the first day of Lice Lifters Lice Solution Treatment. Our recommendation for treating brushes, combs, and hair accessories is to boil water in a stockpot, take the heat off, and then submerge the items until the water cools off. The water needs to be at least 130º. If your brushes cannot withstand the heat, you may place them in a freezer bag overnight.

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Contact Lice Lifters Today: 484-469-9415 - One Quick Treatment And Done!