Treating Head Lice so it Won’t Come Back
Treating head lice effectively needs patience and thoroughness. There are a number of misconceptions are related to head lice both as to what they are and to how to treat them. Once you are made aware that head lice are beginning to invade your home, you need to be sensible about what you are dealing with and then you need to go about correctly treating the problem.
Treating Head Lice Understanding Head Lice Myths
There are a number of myths are about the nature of head lice and what they do to people. First off, no communicable diseases are transmitted by head lice. Some people are under the mistaken belief that lice are able to jump or to fly. Lice crawl they cannot fly because they do not have wings. The infestation is spread from person to person through direct contact. Direct contact can be personally or direct contact with infested clothes. The spreading of the lice can also be through sharing personal items such as hair combs or hair brushes. Using infected towels or infected bedding, towels, or even shower caps from somebody who is already infected will also help to spread the infestation.
Treating Head Lice – The Life Span
Another misunderstanding is the lice lifespan once separated from their host. Head lice are parasites and as such are totally dependent on their host for both food and warmth. Their only source of nourishment is human blood which the lice get from the scalp. Lice will usually live for up to thirty days in ideal conditions. However, when separated from their host they can only survive for up to 24 hours.
Another misconception is that short hair styles on people will make that person immune to and attack of lice. This is not true. Lice do not care what hair style a person has. If you have a head and some hair, you can get lice. Lice do not have any favorite host age, host color or race, host sex, host personal hygiene or host length of hair. Also head lice are exclusive to humans. They do not come from any other animals.
Treating Head Lice
The key is thoroughness from the outset with regard to treatment. You also need to be aware of what the infested person has been in contact with. Everything needs to treated. You start with treating the hair with an ordinary wash followed by medicated shampoo. Then you need to laboriously and painstakingly comb each and every strand of hair to remove all of the lice and the nits.
Then you need to begin with what the infected person came into contact with. Items that are machine washable such as bedding and clothes should be machine washed using hot water. You will kill the lice and nits if you expose them for 10 minutes or more to temperatures above 125 degrees F.
If certain items cannot be washed in the washing machine then they can be treated in the clothes drier. You can put them in there for 20 minutes with the drier on the hot cycle and you will get the same results.
- Another option is have all of your things dry cleaned. Still another method is to put all of your items into an airtight bag for two weeks thus starving the lice of warmth, nutrition and air.
- Hot water and heat can also be used to clean brushes and combs. You would do this by putting them in a pan of hot water and heat them on the stove at 150 degrees F for about 10 minutes.
- Alternatively you can use a phenol solution such as Lysol for your combs and brushes if heating them would be damaging to them. You would need to soak them in the solution for an hour.
Furniture upholstery, carpets, car interiors and car seats also need to thoroughly vacuumed or cleaned. Don’t forget to also deal with the infected person’s mattress. This needs to be thoroughly vacuumed. Tempting as it may be, it is not necessary nor recommended to fumigate your home. Nor is it necessary or recommended to use insecticidal sprays on carpets or on furniture for killing head lice.
Do it right and you will get rid of the problem. Some people do not treat lice in the proper way being less than thorough. This will not get rid of the problem. This will lead to a re-infestation. But, by being thorough and systematic in ridding your home of the lice, you can be certain that the problem can resolved before it really starts.
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