If you hang around our head lice removal center for a couple of days you will hear most of the same questions asked over and over by different families (and if your'e like me, you will ask the same question 5 different ways!). We joke that we should have a board with programmed questions and answers on it. We are more the same than we are different and that goes for having the same questions about head lice. In this post i will try and address the "what do I do at home" concerns by giving you facts about head lice
I have have had clients tell me that they put their couch cushions in garbage bags for weeks because they were afraid that they could get lice from the couch! Lice can not live off of the human head for more than a day or two. My question is - Where did they sit, or did they stand for weeks?
Don't throw your favorite hair brush away- I suggest you clean it- soak it in warm water with a splash of ammonia. I have been asked if boiling works- I suppose it does but if you're like me, you will forget it on the stove and then have a bigger problem than head lice! If you don't want to subject your brush to ammonia then put it away for 2 days (not 2 months, not 2 years, 2 days!) but do clean out the hair, you don't want to find a bug (will be dead) in your brush later on.
Do vacuum your couches and cushions once- not once a day for weeks or months, just once after everyone in the house is cleared and properly treated. Cleaning up before treatment just means you have to vacuum again.
Change linens of the person who had lice after every nit and louse is removed. There is no reason to change everyone's bedding unless you like doing housework!
There is no need to rip apart closets, unless you really have too much time on your hands! Lice can't live off of the head for more than a day or two. They need a warm spot and a meal to survive (a scalp). If something is worn within a day or two before being treated for head lice (every nit and louse is removed), then put it in washing machine on hot water and or in dryer for 20 minutes on high heat. If and that is a big IF, there is anything living on a piece of clothing, they will die.
My theory is that it's easy to clean, not so easy to remove lice and nits and so people find it calming to do excessive and unnecessary housework when it comes to head lice. Professional lice removal is a quick fix, if you decide to try it on your own, then save your time and energy and don't over do the housework.