Why does it say to bag everything all over the internet? Its probably from a time when we didn’t know much about lice except the life cycle and they were trying to stop the process of the eggs hatching. An adult female louse can lay 3-5 eggs a day (maybe a few more) and it takes 7-10 days for an egg to hatch (some scientists are now reporting maybe even longer) and another 7-10 days for the nymph (baby bug) to become an adult. So there is our 14 days of bagging.
Why don’t we need to do that anymore? Because the adult bugs can not survive off of the head longer than 24-48 hours and eggs will generally lose their viability within a week. Here is what Richard Pollack of the Harvard School of Public Health reports on his website
“Head lice and their eggs soon perish if separated from their human host. Detached lice survive just a day or so, and the eggs generally lose viability within a week. The chances of a live head louse or egg becoming reunited with a person would seem exceptionally remote. Accordingly, herculean steps to clean lice from the house or car by intensive washing or vacuuming will result in a cleaner space, but are unlikely to facilitate the goal of eliminating the lice from those residing in the home. A child’s car seat cover may benefit from vacuuming, as a few errant lice or eggs may temporarily lodge there and survive for a day or so.”
Please be sure to confirm a case of head lice with a live louse or viable egg prior to treatment. Visit How to Check for Lice. Be sure to check every household member and those in close contact with the infected person for head lice so that you do not continue to pass the lice amongst family members, this will prolong the infestation. Please be sure to confirm a case of head lice with a live louse or viable egg prior to treatment. What Does Lice Look Like?
Best Lice Combs – Read This, You’ll need it to effectively get rid of lice.
See our other How To Lice Guides:
How to Check for Lice
- How to Kill Lice
- How to Treat Lice
- How to Get rid of Nits
- How to Kill Lice Naturally
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Harvard School of Public Health