Preventing the Spread of Lice

Head lice are spread most commonly by hair-to-hair contact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Infrequently, they are spread by sharing clothing or belongings.

The following are steps that can be taken to help prevent and control the spread of head lice:

  • Avoid head-to-head (hair-to-hair) contact during play and other activities at home, school, sports activities, playgrounds, slumber parties and camp.
  • Do not share clothing, including hats, scarves, coats, sports uniforms or hair accessories.
  • Do not share combs, brushes or towels. Disinfest combs and brushes used by an infested person by soaking them in hot water (at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit) for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Do not lie on beds, couches, pillows, carpets or stuffed animals that have recently been in contact with an infested person.
  • Machine wash and dry clothing, bed linens and other items that an infested person wore or used during the two days before treatment using the hot water (130 degrees Fahrenheit) laundry cycle and the high heat drying cycle. Clothing and items that are not washable can be dry-cleaned or sealed in a plastic bag and stored for two weeks.
  • Vacuum the floor and furniture, particularly where the infested person sat or lay. However, spending much time and money on housecleaning activities is not necessary to avoid reinfestation by lice or nits that may have fallen off the head or crawled onto furniture or clothing.
  • Do not use fumigant sprays or fogs. They are not necessary and can be toxic if inhaled or absorbed through the skin.

All that is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov. The CDC has a lot of other excellent information about lice, too, which can be found here.

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