What is the role of environmental control in the treatment of pediculosis (lice infestation)?

Updated: Aug 16, 2019
  • Author: Lyn C C Guenther, MD, FRCPC, FAAD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Head lice have been found on hats, scarves, brushes, combs, hair accessories, linens, towels, and stuffed animals. Since exposure to these fomites could result in infestation, it is recommended that such items used by the infested person within 2 days prior to pediculicide treatment be machine washed with hot water and dried with hot air since the lice and eggs are killed after 5 minutes of exposure to temperatures greater than 53.5°C (128.3°F). [4] Items that cannot be laundered can be dry-cleaned or sealed in a plastic bag for 2 weeks. [4] The floors and furniture should be vacuumed in order to remove hairs from an infested individual, which might have been shed with viable nits attached. [4] Children should also be educated not to share combs, brushes, hair accessories, and towels. [4]


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