Treating Mattress Lice
Table of Contents
Head lice is a common occurrence, particularly among school-going kids; and although it is an itchy nuisance, it's not something to lose your head over.
A couple of basic steps can help remove a lice infestation and ensure your child's head stays bug-free.
In this guide to eliminating lice from a bedroom, we'll discuss several simple countermeasures to prevent lice from returning.
The Life Cycle of Lice
Understanding the biology of lice, their life stages, and how long they live can help beat the infection.
Lice are only “infectious” in their fully-grown, egg-laying phase. Mature female lice can go from head to head and lay their eggs on your hair shaft.
Lice eggs (called “nits”) are smaller than a poppy seed and appear off-white or yellow in color; they're coated in a sticky substance that female lice use to attach them securely to the hair shaft, so their young can remain warm next to your skin.
Nits can't be killed using most over-the-counter lice remedies. Instead, they need to be eliminated by hand using a special lice comb.
This is a long and tedious procedure, but is the best method to control and remove a lice problem.
It takes about seven to ten days for lice eggs to hatch. Newly-hatched lice are known as nymphs and spend the following ten days or so at a period of molting and growth.
Nymph lice aren't yet capable of breeding and are vulnerable out of their shells. Treatment shampoos and other treatment methods work very well to suffocate or assault the lice at this point.
There are many natural and chemical treatment options available on the marketplace – plus a few hair-brained DIY methods.
One surprisingly useful method is cleaning with food-grade diatomaceous earth.
From bed bugs to the kinds of lice that may contaminate a mattress, food-grade diatomaceous earth stifles bugs and arthropods in their paths.
Once the Lice have attained reproductive maturity, they begin to turn into a pain in the nape. Fully-grown lice move fast and feast on blood in the scalp.
The itchiness associated with head lice stems from an allergic reaction to the lice saliva given on the scalp when lice feast.
Mature female lice may lay 6 to 10 eggs daily and live for twenty to thirty days after approaching maturity, so it's essential to regularly conduct nit-picking sessions on your kid's head to eliminate these eggs and stop more adult lice from joining the carnival in their cranium.
Lice are wingless insects, and they prefer to remain near their food source so that they do not often venture from the host's head.
They sometimes get stuck to hair follicles and may be dispersed on loose hair in hairbrushes or hats.
They can also spread via head-to-head contacts, like hugs.
Caring for Your Hair
There are steps you could take even before you hear of a lice outbreak to make sure your child's head and your home remain lice-free zones.
The basic way that lice are spread is through hair to hair or head-to-head contact.
If your child has long hair, it's advisable to keep their hair up or tied back to avoid exposure.
It also helps to not share hairbrushes, hair accessories, hats, or any other thing that comes into contact with another individual's head.
Conducting a regular lice check on your child is an excellent idea. Even if they have never been exposed to someone with lice, checking your child's scalp every few weeks is an easy way to make sure they don't become infected and, if they do, to treat it immediately.
Pay particular attention to the hair shaft base, especially behind the ears and near the nape of their neck.
There are many stigmas associated with lice, but in fact contracting lice doesn't mean you're dirty nor have bad hygiene. Lice can spread to anyone, and they like hair of all lengths, colors, textures, and cleanliness levels.
That said, there are steps you can take to enhance your child's hygiene to maximize their defense against lice.
When diluted into water or added to shampoos and sprayed on things that come into contact with your head, certain essential oils function as a natural lice hindrance.
The perfumes and oils typically thought to repel lice include tea tree, peppermint, lavender, eucalyptus, coconut, rosemary, and lemongrass.
Applying these lice deterrents doesn't ensure resistance to lice, but they are helpful.
House Cleaning Tips: Oust the Louse
When you're dealing with lice, it will make you wonder what else is infested.
Rest assured, there isn't any need to dispose of everything you have or burn down your home: Your head is infected – but your house is NOT.
Indeed, lice can occasionally fall from the host's head, but it's extremely rare for lice to leave their food supply.
Lice also won't put their eggs on your sofa or at the fibers of your laundry, for this very reason. They need to keep their eggs as warm as possible, so lice lay their eggs on individual hair follicles.
If you do notice a lice infestation, there are steps you can take to be sure all surfaces that come into contact with the contaminated head are washed and rid of any potential stray lice.
Start by removing any stray hair from things that come into direct contact with the hair, including hairbrushes and combs, barrettes and hair accessories, hats, towels, jackets, scarves, and backpacks.
Soak your hair tools in boiling water or run them through the dryer on high heat for several minutes.
Items that can't fit in a drier or should not get wet – such as wigs and helmets – can be put in the freezer overnight and then washed using a rag or a lint roller.
Larger household items such as rugs and sofas can be secured with a thorough vacuuming to remove stray hairs.
Do not forget about your car – vacuuming the headrests and seats will do.
There's no need to employ a maid service or shave everyone's hair in your house if you're dealing with lice.
It's simply a matter of cleaning everything that may have come into direct contact with the lice and hair – and being proactive about preventing further disease.
Concentrate on the infected head though, that is where the disease is and your home can never be free of lice if your hair isn't.
How Long Can Lice Live on a Mattress?
The simple answer is, they cannot live on a mattress at all.
Lice really can't live apart from their food source for over 24 to 48 hours, and unlike fleas and bedbugs, they do not like to live separate from their host, returning only to feast. Lice require proximity to their host.
Should they leave their host, it's probably because of stray sweat and oils deposited on your mattress, which acts as a lure.
Sometimes, you may find lice on the side of your bed or in your hamper because they have been moved there.
If you wake up feeling itchy or have noticed bugs running around in your mattress, then it may be bed bugs.
In which case, have a look at a few of the tips and tricks that we've found to manage those pesky bedfellows here.
Mattress Treatment Tips
If you're still concerned about mattress cleanliness when you're dealing with lice, there are some things you can do.
First and foremost, strip all blankets and sheets from the bed and wash them on high heat. The heat should kill any lice that might be alive.
Also, please pay particular attention to the blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals your child puts their head on–yep, those must make a trip through the washing machine too.
Whatever cannot go in the washing machine, such as cushions, can be treated in the freezer for many hours.
Once your mattress is stripped and all your linens cleaned, you might want to give them thorough vacuuming and spray them down with a lice-deterring essential oil. We recommend a blend of lavender and peppermint because these oils also have been observed to help you sleep better.
For a more intense elimination, food-grade diatomaceous earth is a good insecticide. You can dust the mattress with the diatomaceous earth and then vacuum the dust to eliminate it.
Make sure to purchase food-grade diatomaceous earth from a new water supply, as other grades may bear toxic chemicals which aren't acceptable for contact or breathing, particularly with dogs and kids.
Beyond this, continue to be cautious about treating the lice issue's origin: the head.
Check the heads of all folks who reside in your household and notify anybody who has had close contact with the infected person that they ought to conduct lice check also.
Yep, this involves telling your child's school. Assess your school's lice management as different districts have different rules about lice treatment and reporting.
Head lice can be a real problem, but if you stay calm, determined, and level-headed during the treatment method, you'll be sleeping peacefully, not scratchily, in almost no time.
Steps to Eliminate Lice
An experience with lice is not pleasant.
However, all hope is not lost!
You will find effective countermeasures you can take to prevent lice from inconveniencing your daily life, in addition to measures to rid them for good.
Essential Oils will prevent any insects from getting to your bedding or family, a suitable place to feed. Lavender oil and peppermint oil are poisonous to arthropods, such as insects, so using both of them can be very powerful.
Consider using lavender on cosmetics and areas that your skin is going to come in contact with. Peppermint oil can be unpleasant when it's rubbed in your eyes, so you are better off putting this sort of oil on areas like your car seat or headrest, beanies, hats, or some other area your hair regularly brushes.
Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth
Want to asphyxiate the lice directly where they are? Food-grade diatomaceous earth is a remedy effective enough for lice.
Food-grade diatomaceous earth is non-toxic. The worst that could occur is some sneezing while using it. Be sure that it's food-grade, not from saltwater sources.
Typically, food-grade diatomaceous earth comes from a freshwater source, but this doesn't determine whether the product is food-grade. Make sure to double-check!
Drastic Exposure to Temperature
For your bedding, the remedy is simple. Hot water cleaning and high-heat drying will heat the water in any organism, making the steam burst their cellular structure.
Steam cleaners also work well for your carpeting, though you shouldn't use this method in your mattress because this may enable mold growth in the future.
For pillows and other things that cannot be washed, consider storing them in your freezer overnight or for at least seven hours. Freezing the water within the lice will get the water to enlarge and, like heating, rupture their cellular structure.
You've washed your hair with therapy, and you nevertheless have lice showing up in your scalp. The odds are that your bedding needs a heavy cleaning. Pillow covers and bed sheets should be washed in the hottest hot water rinse setting possible.
When drying, please put it on the maximum dryer heat setting. Continuous exposure to extreme heat will rupture the cellular structure of lice and bed bugs equally.
As soon as your mattress is bare, look at getting some food-grade diatomaceous earth and dusting your mattress around, even under.
Sure, this process could be dusty, but you'll be inhibiting the wellbeing of both lice and bed bugs equally. Consider obtaining a mattress topper in addition to an additional step.
While finding out that you or a member of your family has lice can be frustrating, there are many remedies to the matter. If you find lice, make sure to act quickly.
Wash and dry your bed sheets and pillowcases on high heat. Be sure to care for the scalp and hair thoroughly.
To eliminate nits, comb through your hair using a special kind of lice comb.
To eliminate hatched lice, utilize remedy shampoo or other items like food-grade diatomaceous earth.
Once lice have been discovered, be sure to avoid sharing any clothing items, including hats and hair ties.
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