Don't waste your time on the sidelines. Go where the action is.

Head lice are a stupid nuisance. Picking out every egg and bug is time consuming. Checking for lice activity on a daily basis is a chore.

The problem is, with most people I talk to, picking and checking isn't the problem. What most people find absolutely exhausting is all the house cleaning and laundry. Hours and hours of vacuuming, washing bedding, bagging stuffed animals, or whatever.

Here's a tip: DON'T DO IT.

I mean it. There is no evidence that suggests that cleaning your home will reduce your chance of re-infestion on your head. And there IS evidence to suggest that if you have taken the lice off of the head, but don't clean the home, your chances of getting head lice again are no greater than getting it from the general public.

If my children bring home head lice (they have brought it home from school - I don't bring my work home with me), do you know what I clean? I CLEAN THEIR HEADS OF HEAD LICE. That's where ALL the action is. I don't do any excess cleaning. Well, I do pour boiling water over the brushes and combs, though there is even research that shows I don't even need to do that. To be honest, I don't even wash their blankets and sheets (unless they were due for a washing anyway). I don't put away their stuffed animals. I don't even pull out my vacuum with the exception of when I do my regular house cleaning each week because it's nice to see the floor once in a while.

I am unrelenting when it comes to picking and checking their heads and I spend a considerable amount of time doing this. But I don't go crazy cleaning my house over head lice. And this saves me a lot of time. Head lice are only a problem when they are on your head. Make sure that 99.9% of your time is spent working to get them off of the head and then you won't have to worry about having them in the home.


Anonymous said...

Do you need to wash the clothes?

Cathy, the Nice Lice Lady. said...

There is no research that I am aware of to suggest that washing the clothes will have any effectiveness in beating your head lice problem. And there is research to suggest that head lice are not shared through inanimate objects.

Let's say that by chance, a healthy louse has fallen off your head and onto your shirt. If you focus the attention on the shirt, you may kill one louse (who really was probably dying already if it was easily falling from your head). However, in washing the shirt you are not dealing with the real threat - the lice still thriving on your head. Head lice don't live on shirts. They don't want to be on shirts. They can't get a meal from a shirt. However, if you ignore the shirt and keep removing the lice from the head, you get to the root of the problem.
If you are doing laundry anyway, then put on a clean shirt. (Body odor, like head lice, can make others not want to be near you.) But, if the laundry becomes your focus or is an activity that drains your energy and lessens the time that you could spend dealing with what's on your head, then I don't recommend it.