Lice cannot survive off of the human head for more than 24 hours, and because of their specialized claws they do not move well on surfaces other than human hair. Cleaning your house from top to bottom following a lice treatment is unnecessary, however, we do recommend the following precautionary steps to help ensure you and your family will remain lice free.
BEDDING AND CLOTHING
● Wash, as usual, all bedding and clothing used within the last 24 hours by the infested individual.
● For delicate items, such as stuffed animals, we recommend that you either place them in a dryer on high heat for a minimum of 30 minutes, or place these items in a sealed plastic bag for 24 hours.
CARPETS, RUGS, AND FURNITURE
● Vacuum all carpets, rugs and furniture, focusing on areas where the infested individual has been in contact within the last 24 hours.
● An alternative to vacuuming is to place a sheet or cover over your furniture for 24 hours.
HAIRBRUSHES AND ACCESSORIES
● It is important to remove all strands of hair from the infested individual’s hairbrush, as lice can hold onto the hair with their specialized claws and potentially transfer to another strand within 24 hours.
● After removing all of the hair strands from the hairbrush, we also recommend washing it in hot soapy water.
● An alternative to this, is to place all hair items and accessories in a sealed plastic bag in the freezer for 24 hours.
● To help minimize future risk, we recommend pulling long hair back and styling in a ponytail, braid, or bun, whenever possible.
● This will make it more difficult for lice to transfer via head to head contact from one infested person to another.
● Use of a preventative mint spray is recommended.
● Communication is a key prevention tool. Please advise family and friends with whom you have close contact, as the only way to help manage a future outbreak or future reinfestation is to ensure that all of those around you have been screened, and treated for lice, if necessary.
● Only 50% of people show symptoms of lice, such as head scratching, so it is possible to be infested and not be aware.