After receiving treatment for lice, often the top concern of parents is whether or not their child or family member will re-contract lice from furniture, clothing, or other household objects. Parents often wonder in fear, “Can my child return home after receiving treatment, only to lay down on the couch and start this nightmare all over again? How long can lice live on a couch?” The answer lies in understanding the lice life cycle.
Head Lice Life Cycle
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is technically possible to contract lice by lying on a bed, couch, or pillow that has recently been in contact with someone infested with lice. However, they also note that the lice life span is less than 1-2 days once the parasites fall off of a person and are unable to feed. The lice life cycle relies on blood and warmth from a human host in order to support survival. Without the warmth and blood of the human scalp, the lice life cycle is cut short as nits cannot hatch and usually die within a week. For this reason, the risk of your child getting re-infested from your couch is extremely low. So, parents, you can breathe a sigh of relief!
Steps You Can Take at Home
Spending lots of time or money on housecleaning in order to avoid re-infestation is generally unnecessary. But for parents who wish to further put their mind at ease and ensure that any surviving lice that may have fallen from clothing or hair won’t be able to find their way back into your child’s hair, following a few simple steps can help.
- The CDC recommends machine washing and drying clothing, bed linens, and other items that the infested person wore or used during the 2 days before treatment. It’s important to use the hot water (130°F) laundry cycle and the high heat drying cycle, as this ensures that any surviving eggs in the lice life cycle will be killed.
- Non-washable clothing (and toys and other items) should be dry–cleaned or sealed in a plastic bag and stored for 2 weeks.
- Soak all combs and brushes in hot water (at least 130°F) for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Vacuum the floor and furniture, especially where your child or family member sat or lay after infestation.
- The CDC also advises against using fumigant sprays, citing their toxicity.
Parents can put the stress of lice behind them and rest assured that direct head to head contact is the most common way that head lice are spread—making re-infestation from couches or other furniture highly unlikely!
Professional Head Lice Treatment
Fresh Head is a professional head lice treatment center. We are an exclusive provider of the innovative AirAllé® Head Lice Machine, an FDA-cleared medical device that dehydrates lice and eggs in one treatment. If you would like to know more about how long lice can live on a couch, or if you are looking for a safe, chemical-free way to treat head lice, contact us today.