It makes them want to throw out all their hair brushes, throw out all their pillows, even hats. Maybe throw out their children while they are all it? Just kidding!!!
But really, if you have ever been through the head lice panic, you know what I am describing.
The panic actually comes from the tendency to lump in head lice with the nastiness of bedbugs and fleas! Totally false and unrelated bugs. While bedbugs and fleas do colonize the house and require extensive bombing, lice only colonize scalp hair and do not invade your whole house. Head lice are also confused with body or pubic lice, which are two other unrelated bugs that have nothing to do with head lice.
Head lice ≠ Bedbugs
Head lice ≠ Fleas
Head lice ≠ Body Lice
Head Lice colonizes scalp hair and IS really hard to get out of the hair without being a seasoned veteran or hiring a lice removal service but it’s relatively easy to get out of your house and your stuff. A louse* can fall off the hair onto a pillow, brush, or something else your hair touches so you do need to do some cleaning. But once the bug is off the head it starts to die. It cannot reproduce off the head. If no one’s hair brushes against it, thereby allowing it to reattach, it will die of natural causes in 48 hours. Lice are not colonizing or invading the house. This is good news in terms of how much effort you will have to put into the house.
Nor do lice live on animals like dogs or cats. You do not need to clean your pet, or worry about the pet getting contaminated.
Instead of panicking, it’s a good idea to follow these simple cleaning instructions and hire a professional lice lady to do the manual lice removal treatment for your families hair.
Wash or bag-up all clothing, towels, hair accessories, hats, and bedding touched, within the last 48 hours, by the heads of those who are infested. No need to wash/bag anything that did not have head contact with the infested person within the last 48 hours.
After you finish washing, the stuff is safe to use again. If you opted to bag something, remove and use normally after 48 hours in the bag.
Rinse off any hair brushes, combs, or hair ties that were used by the infested person in the last 48 hours, then place in a bag and store in the freezer overnight to sanitize. No need to throw the items away.
Vacuum upholstered furniture and car seats that were touched by the head of the infested person within the last 48 hours.
Think about anything else the head of the infested person might have touched in the last 48 hours and use one of the above cleaning methods (washing, bagging, freezing, vacuuming) to clean it.
“Only items that have been in contact with the head of an infested person in the last 48 hours before treatment should be considered for cleaning.”
That is also a good approach because it gives any bugs that might be in the house the chance to die naturally. Just choose your items carefully when you pack so you don’t bring lice in your suitcase. Of course you need to have finished getting the hair treated for lice before you go to the hotel too.
In summary, there is no need to go totally crazy cleaning or throwing things away because head lice only reproduce on the human head. They cannot reproduce or thrive on your furniture, in your clothes, or anywhere else in the house.
Once all the lice are removed from the hair and the above cleaning is complete, you are done. I do not recommend that you redo the cleaning everyday. Only redo it if you ever find another live bug in any family member’s hair in the future. Some parents will just feel better if they keep cleaning over and over each day. In that case do it, but with the understanding that it is your way of working out your anxiety rather than a necessary action in the battle against lice.