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The most frequently seen vector for the transmission of head lice is head-to-head contact. It is less common for an infestation to be linked to shared items of clothing, or from carpet and furniture.
These parasites can live no more than 2 days without a host. Nits will die within a week if they are not kept in an environment that mimics the temperature level and degree of humidity found on the human scalp.
The following steps will help to prevent head lice transmission and to control the spread of lice once the parasites are detected:
– During play, sporting events, and other activities at a facility where children are present in groups, avoid head-to-head contact.
– Do not allow for the sharing of articles of clothing. Particularly troublesome items include hats, caps, and scarves, coats, sports uniforms, and hair ribbons and barrettes.
– Do not allow personal care items like combs and brushes to be shared. If lice are detected these items must be disinfected in hot water of at least 128.3 F / 53.5 C for 5-10 minutes.
– Towels should not be shared, and should also be washed in 128.3 F / 53.5 C water if lice have been detected.
– There should be no contact with any form of bedding including pillows. This precaution also extends to couches, carpets, and stuffed animals.
– Items that cannot be washed or dry cleaned should be stored in a tightly sealed plastic bag for at least 2 weeks.