Head Lice: Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Does Treatment Take?
An average appointment lasts 30-60 minutes per infested patient depending on the severity of the infestation and the length and thickness of the hair. Just checking for lice takes about 10-15 minutes per person.
How Do I Get Lice Out of My House?
Since lice die after 24-48 hours without feeding, you can simply set items aside or bag them for 24-48 hours. However, lice “usually cannot survive in bedding or clothes, so extreme cleaning is unnecessary and ineffective” -"Head Lice," by Dr. Bryant.
If you want to take action immediately:
- Loosely pack items that can be laundered into the dryer for 30 minutes.
- Vacuum items that can’t be dried: sofas, beds, stuffed animals, etc.
- Freezing combs, brushes, and other items for 24 hours also kills lice and nits.
Should My Head Itch After Treatment?
Lice combing stimulates the scalp and may also cause brief itching. Lice bites may cause an allergic reaction, like hives or a mosquito bite, and it simply takes time for it to resolve itself. Try to resist itching because that could irritate the scalp and make it even worse. Hang in there, it will fade after a short time.
For more info, check out this article on psychosomatic itching from head lice.
How Can I Prevent Reinfestation?
The most crucial step is screening and treating everyone at the same time. This includes grandparents, split-households, nannies, and any others who come in regular contact with your family.
Lice spread through head to head contact, which is hard to prevent. Early detection can limit the infestation's spread and make treatment much easier and affordable.
The best method for detecting lice is the wet-check. If you don't have much time, a dry check is an option, but we don't rely on it because it isn't nearly as accurate.
To help your community defend itself from lice, let your friends know head lice are going around so they can take action and be screened to prevent spreading to others or back to your family.
Can Lice Jump?
Fortunately, head lice can't jump.
Lice have small hooks for feet that only work to move around on hair. On any other surface they are helpess and can barely even crawl. If you've got something jumping around on your head, it's not head lice.
Can Animals Get Lice?
Human head lice are species specific, which means they can't spread to your dogs, cats, or other pets. Animals have their own specific lice and while they can get on you, they can't survive.
Can Lice Spread Through a Swimming Pool?
Head lice can't swim and when submerged in water they are immobile and simply hold on until it is safe to move again.