Mattress Lice: (Easy) Steps for Removal.
Head lice are a common problem, especially for kids between the ages of 3 and 13, and while they can be a real pain, they're nothing to lose sleep over. It's easy to get rid of the infection and keep your kid's head bug-free with just a few measures. As part of this guide to getting rid of lice, we'll also go over some measures you can take to make sure they don't come back.
Please note that none of us at the Slumber Yard are doctors or lice experts (although my mom sure seemed like one during the summer of 2006). I appreciate you rummaging through my hair, mom. We do know that sleep is critical, and that dealing with head lice can be a frustrating and time-consuming ordeal. Fear that your expensive furniture, like the sofa or the mattress, may also be infested with head lice can make it difficult to begin treatment. We know how stressful it can be, so we've put together this resource to help you combat lice and get some rest again.
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Lice and Their Life Cycle
The best way to eliminate a lice infestation is to have a firm grasp on the organism's biology, including its life cycle and average lifespan. Only when they have matured and are laying eggs do lice become "contagious." Lice that have matured into females will lay their eggs, known as nits, along the hair shaft, making them transmissible from person to person. These eggs, about the size of a poppy seed and colored an off-white or yellowish hue, are coated in a sticky substance that the female louse uses to attach them firmly to the hair shaft, where they will remain safe and warm against the scalp. Most over-the-counter nit treatments are ineffective, so nits must be removed manually with a lice comb. This may be one of the most time-consuming methods, but it is also one of the most efficient ways to manage and eliminate a lice infestation.
The incubation period for lice eggs is between seven and ten days. For the next week to ten days after hatching, nymphs—also known as juvenile lice—go through a period of molting and development during which they change into fully developed adults. As they have not yet developed reproductive capabilities, nymph lice are extremely susceptible to harm when they are outside of their protective shells. Lice can be effectively suffocated or attacked by using treatment shampoos or other methods. Many different chemical and natural treatments are available, in addition to a few slightly outlandish do-it-yourself options. To kill the lice in my hair when I was a kid, my mother applied a mayonnaise and egg mixture every night for three days. I can't say how effective this fix was, but for the next few weeks, my pillow emanated a distinct BLT aroma. The use of diatomaceous earth that is safe for human consumption is another credible approach. Insects and arthropods, including the many types of lice that can infest a mattress, are stopped in their tracks by the suffocating effects of diatomaceous earth intended for human consumption.
When the lice mature and begin reproducing, they become a major nuisance. The adult lice are quick and feed on the scalp's blood. An allergic reaction to the lice saliva transferred to the scalp during feeding is responsible for the itchiness commonly associated with head lice. Nit-picking sessions should be conducted frequently on your child's head to remove the eggs and prevent more adult lice from joining the carnival on their cranium. Mature female lice can lay 6 to 10 eggs a day and live for twenty to thirty days after reaching maturity. Because they lack wings, lice are confined to their host's scalp and rarely venture elsewhere in search of a blood meal. However, they can spread on hats and brushes because they can cling to hair follicles. One more way they can spread is through close physical contact, such as a hug.
Even if you haven't heard of a lice outbreak, you can take precautions to keep your child's head and your home lice-free. Lice are most commonly spread by close contact between the heads of two infested people. If your kid has long hair, you should probably keep it up or tied back so they don't get sunburned. Make sure they are aware that they should not share any headgear, including but not limited to hairbrushes, hair clips, hats, and other headwear.
It is also a good idea to check your child's head for lice on a regular basis. Checking your child's scalp once a week is a good way to prevent lice infestation even if they haven't been in contact with anyone who has them. Focus your efforts on the area right behind your ears and at the base of your neck.
Although many people associate getting lice with being unclean or unhygienic, that's not the case. Lice are not picky about hair length, texture, color, or cleanliness, and can infest anyone. However, there are some measures you can take to fortify your child's defenses against lice. Essential oils can be used to naturally repel lice when added to shampoos or diluted in water and sprayed on items that come into contact with your head. Peppermint, tea tree, coconut, lavender, eucalyptus, rosemary, and lemongrass are just some of the oils and fragrances that are widely thought to deter lice. These lice treatments won't prevent lice completely, but they should help. Plus, these smell great (much better than mayonnaise, at least), which is a major plus.
How to Get Rid of a Louse in Your Home
Facing a lice infestation can make you feel like the world is infested. Your house is not infected, so you don't have to get rid of everything you own and set it on fire because your brain is.
Lice may occasionally be dislodged from their hosts' scalps, but it is highly unusual for them to abandon their hosts and search for a new source of nourishment. You can rest assured that no lice will ever lay eggs in your furniture or on your clothing. Lice only lay their eggs on human hair follicles because it provides the best environment for their developing young.
In the event of a lice infestation, there are measures you can take to eliminate the pests from any area that may have come into contact with the infected scalp.
The first step is to clean anything that came into contact with the hair by removing any stray hair. Towels, hats, scarves, jackets, and backpacks are all fair game, as are hair brushes, combs, barrettes, and other hair accessories. Put them in a pot of boiling water or dry them on high for a few minutes. Helmets and wigs, for example, should not be washed because they are either too large to fit in the dryer or should not get wet. After a good vacuuming, large furniture like couches and rugs should be hair-free. The car itself should be considered, and its seats and headrests should be vacuumed as well.
In the event of a lice infestation, there is no need to call a cleaning service or cut off everyone's hair. Getting rid of lice is as simple as disinfecting any surfaces that may have come into contact with them and taking measures to prevent reinfestation. To get rid of lice, you must first treat the infected person's head, as this is where the infestation begins.
Just how long can lice survive on a bed?
Unfortunately, the short answer is "no." Unlike fleas and bedbugs, lice prefer not to spend their time away from their host and instead return only to feed. Getting close to their host is a must for lice. Bed bugs are only enticed to leave their host because of the sweat and oils left behind in your mattress, which causes the bugs to travel across the fabric in search of more skin. Lice can be transferred to any number of places, including the side of your bed or your hamper. Bed bugs may be the cause of morning itching or if you find bugs crawling around your mattress. Here are some ways that we've found to help you deal with these troublesome roommates.
Advice on Caring for Your Mattress
There are a few things you can do to ensure the cleanliness of your mattress while fighting lice.
To begin, remove all bedding and wash it in hot water. Lice that have survived the heat should die. Remember to wash your child's favorite blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals as well, since they likely use them to rest their heads on. Pillows and other items that can't go in the washing machine can be frozen for a few hours to kill any bacteria.
After you've removed all of your sheets and washed them, give your mattress a good vacuuming and spray it down with an essential oil that will repel lice; a mixture of peppermint and lavender is a good bet because it has been shown to improve sleep quality.
Food-grade diatomaceous earth is a powerful insecticide that can be used for a more thorough cleanup. Diatomaceous earth can be used to clean a mattress; simply dust it and then vacuum it up. Food-grade diatomaceous earth should only be purchased, as other grades may contain toxic compounds that are not safe for breathing or contact, especially with dogs and children.
Beyond this, be extra careful to treat the scalp, where the lice problem first began. Everyone in the home should have their heads checked for lice, and you should let anyone who has come into close contact with the infected person know that they should do the same. Of course you'll need to let the school know as well. Districts may have different requirements for reporting and treating lice, so it's important to familiarize yourself with your school's policy.
It can be frustrating to deal with a head lice infestation, but if you keep your cool and apply the necessary treatments consistently, you'll soon be able to sleep without being awakened by itchy bites.
(You get extra credit if you can identify all the puns involving head lice in this piece.) )
Effective Methods for Treating Lice
Getting lice is a miserable ordeal. Unfortunately, there is still a chance. You can take steps to get rid of lice permanently, and there are also measures you can take to avoid the hassle they cause.
Oils of Vital Importance
Use an essential oil to keep bugs from settling into your home and making a meal of your bedding. Insects and other arthropods find both lavender oil and peppermint oil to be highly toxic. Use lavender in your bath, on your pillow, and anywhere else your skin will touch. As peppermint oil can be irritating if rubbed into the eyes, it is better to apply it to areas where your hair frequently comes into contact with them, such as the headrest or car seat, beanies, hats, and other headwear.
Diatomite Earth, Safe for Human Consumption
Want to use local asphyxiation to kill the lice. Diatomaceous earth used in food preparation is an effective insecticide, killing even lice. The Greatest Advantage Safe for human consumption, diatomaceous earth has no negative health effects. A few sniffles are the worst that could happen while using it. Make sure it is safe for consumption and wasn't raised in saltwater. Although this is not a conclusive criterion, diatomaceous earth that is intended for human consumption typically originates in a freshwater environment. Verify, verify, verify.
Abrupt Temperature Changes
As for your bed, the answer is straightforward. Washing in boiling water and drying at high temperatures will cause the water inside of any living thing to boil, causing the cells to burst. While steam cleaners are effective, it's best to avoid using them on your mattress due to the risk of mold growth. Throw your pillows and other washables into the freezer for at least seven hours, or overnight. The expansion of the water caused by freezing will damage the lice's cellular structure in much the same way that heat would.
Take Proper Hair Care Of It
Even if you haven't heard of a lice outbreak, you can take precautions to keep your child's head and your home free of the pests. The most common way for lice to spread is through direct head-to-head contact. If your child has long hair, it's best to keep it up or tied back so they don't get scratched or scratch themselves. Lavender oils, which are safe to use on hair, are another option for limiting exposure. Since lavender oil deters most insects from even considering a great head of hair, using it regularly can be an effective method of warding off lice. Make sure they are aware that it is not acceptable to share headgear such as hairbrushes, barrettes, hats, and other similar items. Clothes sharing is a common way to spread lice, so it's best to limit this or eliminate it altogether.
If you have a child, it's also a good idea to check the child's head regularly for lice. Your child may not have been in contact with a person who has lice, but you can still help prevent an infestation by checking their scalp once a week. The area behind the ears and the back of the neck, where the hair is attached to the scalp, require your undivided attention.
Lice carry a lot of negative connotations, but getting infected with them does not indicate slovenliness or lack of cleanliness. Lice are a universal problem because they can infest hair of any length, texture, color, or cleanliness. Still, there are measures you can take to fortify your kid's defenses against lice. Essential oils can be used to naturally repel lice when added to shampoos or diluted in water and sprayed on items that come into contact with your head. Peppermint, tea tree, coconut, lavender, eucalyptus, rosemary, and lemongrass are some of the oils and fragrances that are commonly thought to deter lice. Lice can still infest even after using a lice repellent, but you should have less trouble with it. Each of these has a pleasant aroma (much more pleasant than mayonnaise, at least), which is an added bonus.
Performing a Deep Clean of the Home
Lice infestation can make you feel like the whole world is crawling with parasites. The good news is that while your mind may be contaminated, your home is not.
Lice do not consciously leave their host's hair follicles to seek other food sources, so while it is true that lice can sometimes fall off of their host's head, this is extremely unusual. You can rest assured that no lice will ever lay eggs in your furniture or on your clothing. Lice only lay their eggs on human hair follicles because this provides the most protection for the developing larvae.
In the event of a lice infestation, there are measures you can take to eliminate the pests from any area that may have come into contact with the infected scalp.
As a first step, you should clean anything that came into contact with the hair by removing any stray hair. Everything from hairbrushes and combs to barrettes and other hair accessories, towels, hats, scarves, coats, and bags. You can either put them in a pot of boiling water or dry them in a hot dryer for a few minutes. The freezer is a great place to store bulky or delicate items like wigs and helmets overnight before cleaning them out with a damp rag or lint roller. A good vacuuming should get rid of any loose hairs from upholstered furniture and area rugs. Wet vacuuming and steam cleaning can also be effective in killing lice and their eggs. Don't neglect the automobile; cleaning the upholstery there should suffice as well. In a home with many kids who are constantly coming and going, it's a good idea to put some peppermint oil on the headrests to deter the spread of germs.
In the event of a lice infestation, there is no need to call a cleaning service or cut off everyone's hair. Simply disinfecting any potential points of contact with the lice and taking preventative measures should resolve the problem. Remember that the source of the problem is on the infected person's scalp, and that the lice will return if the person does not treat his or her hair.
After using the treatment shampoo on your hair, the lice are still present on your scalp. A thorough cleaning of your bedding is probably necessary. Sheets and pillowcases should be washed in the hottest hot water setting available. Tumble it dry on high heat. Lice and bedbugs are both susceptible to cell death due to prolonged exposure to high temperatures. Once you have stripped your mattress clean, you may want to use food-grade diatomaceous earth to dust it thoroughly, including the space under the sheets. This method may create a lot of dust, but it will effectively stop the spread of both lice and bed bugs. Think about taking it one step further and purchasing a mattress topper.
Finally, some thoughts
Even though it's upsetting to discover that you or a family member has head lice, there are many options for treatment. Make haste to treat any cases of lice you may find. Be sure to tumble dry your sheets and pillows at a high temperature. If you want healthy hair and a healthy scalp, you need to give both a proper treatment. Use a nit comb, which is designed to remove nits from the hair, to comb through your hair. Use a treatment shampoo or another method, such as food-grade diatomaceous earth, to get rid of newly hatched lice. After a case of lice has been identified, it's important to refrain from sharing any personal items.
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