It is important to understand exactly where head lice live and where they cannot live, for you to deal with them. So where do head lice live? There are lots of misunderstandings around head lice, and it is these misunderstandings that can make it harder for you to get through the experience and manage your way out of it. Keep reading to find out more.
Where do head lice like to live?
Head lice primarily live on the head and in the hair. The scalp and hair provide essential refuge and security for head lice. They feed off your blood from the scalp with the hair camouflaging them as they draw their sustenance.
The hair not only hides them it gives them a warm environment and provides more than a nest for their eggs. The lice lay their eggs on the hair shaft and glue them firmly, so they are very secure. Lice won’t lay their eggs anywhere else – lice elsewhere on the body are different. They will either be body lice or pubic lice. The scalp and hair are all that matters for head lice!
Can head lice live on pillows?
Head lice can crawl off the hair and sit on the pillow, but it will look to crawl back onto someone’s head as soon as possible. Head lice cannot live on or in the pillow itself as they need to feed on human blood to survive.
When you are clearing a head lice infestation it is highly recommended that after you have done a comb out you give that person fresh bedlinen, so if any head lice are sitting on the pillow, then you clear them away before they get back into bed. Head lice also carry a lot of bacteria, so fresh bedlinen will also clear away any contact with that bacteria as well.
How long can lice live on a hairbrush?
Adult head lice can live up to 48 hours off the head after which they need a blood meal – ideally, they like to feed every 4 hours, so 48 hours really is the limit. If you are clearing a head lice infestation you want to keep the hairbrush clean as well. After each comb out, clear out the hairbrush too.
Pull out the hairs and put them straight into a bin; then wash the hairbrush either in the dishwasher or in a bowl of warm, soapy water. Pulling out the hairs is crucial because if any nits or lice eggs are attached to the hairs they can still hatch, and if the owner of the brush brushes their hair frequently those newborn lice will go straight into the hair.
This also applies to head lice on towels, the sofa, on hats and coats and on your child’s favourite toy – you need to clean it all if there is an infestation in the home. If you don’t want to wash everything then hoover it or put it in a plastic bag for 48 hours. If anything is on there it will die without access to human blood.
Can head lice live in my mattress?
Head lice cannot live in inanimate objects – pillows, mattresses, or anything else. They need to access human blood to live and survive, so they need to live on a human. You need to wash the pillowcase, the sheets and the duvet cover. If the infestation is particularly heavy, then hoover the mattress and the pillow just in case some stray lice have been dislodged when you removed the sheets.
Need more advice or help in clearing an infestation?
The Hairforce is a professional nit and head lice clearing service that can remove the lice and eggs for you and shut the infestation down. Visit one of our clinics or call 0207 485 7351 for assistance.