Health Department

Bed Bugs and Head Lice

Larry’s Corner
May 20, 2014
Bedbugs and Head Lice

 Both bedbugs and head lice can be problematic in a home. Not only can they cause uncomfortable physical symptoms, but they are also very resilient, making them difficult to remove from a situation. By understanding bedbugs and head lice, a person can identify the source of the troubles and seek the proper treatments and prevention methods. 

 Neither bedbugs nor head lice are considered transmitters of disease, mainly a biting nuisance. Anyone can get bedbugs or head lice and having them in your home is not a sign of dirtiness. You are as likely to find them in immaculate homes and hotel rooms as in filthy ones. 

 Bedbugs are active mainly at night and usually bite people while they are sleeping. By day they hide in dark, dry places in beds, mattresses, cracks in walls and doors, furniture, and behind pictures and wallpaper. Most bedbug bites are painless at first, but later turn into itchy welts. 

 Because they have no wings, bedbugs travel only short distances. However, they can move quickly over floors, walls, and ceilings. They spread from one house to another mainly in second-hand furniture, bedding and, sometimes clothes. 

 Infestations can be detected by the examination of possible hiding places for the presence of live bugs, cast-off skins, eggs and excreta. To confirm bedbug bites, you must find and identify the bugs themselves.

 Getting rid of bedbugs begins with cleaning the places bedbugs live. This should include cleaning bedding, linens, curtains, and clothing in hot water and drying them on the highest dryer setting. Place items that can't be washed in the dryer and run on high for 30 minutes. Use a stiff brush to scrub mattress seams then vacuum your bed and surrounding area frequently. 

 While cleaning up infested areas is helpful in controlling bedbugs, getting rid of them usually requires chemical treatments. It is important to use products that can be used safely in bedrooms. Generally it is safest and most effective to hire an experienced pest control professional for bedbug extermination.

 Similar to bedbugs, head lice are small bloodsucking insects. They are present on the hair of humans and are most often found on children. The most common symptom of lice is itching.However, the itching may start weeks or even months after lice have started to spread. 

 Lice can only develop in a warm environment close to human skin, and die within a few days if they lose contact with the human body. They only lay eggs while on the head and the eggs do not hatch if they fall off the head. Lice do not spread to or from pets. 

 Head lice have no wings and do not fly or jump, but they can run through hair quickly. Head lice are spread by close contact between people. It is also possible for them to spread indirectly through the sharing of personal items such as combs, brushes, hats, scarves, jackets, blankets, sheets, and pillows.

 One can help prevent head lice by teaching children not to share personal items such as combs and hats. When children are scratching their heads, adults should check for head lice. Affected children should be treated promptly.

 Lice won't go away on their own. Be sure to do all you can to treat lice and to prevent the spread of lice. The most common treatment is an over-the-counter or prescription cream, lotion, or shampoo. Manual removal of lice and nits with louse combs is proposed by some as an effective but time-consuming method of treatment.

 Combs,brushes, and other hair accessories should be cleaned with hot soapy water.It's also important to wash clothing and bedding in hot water to help get rid of lice. Vacuuming carpets, furniture, mattresses, and car seats may control the spread of head lice. Insecticide or lice killing sprays are not recommended. 

 Remember,pests don't have to be a part of life and they can be easily controlled on ce they are identified.