A common question is, “Do head lice stay alive on pillows?” The answer is a resounding “Yes!” Lice can stay alive on bedding for up to 24 hours, depending on their location. These insects feed on the warmth of your body to survive and can even stay alive for a few days when you’re not using your head. It’s therefore important to wash your pillowcases and bedding regularly to prevent the spread of lice.
In order to stay alive on your pillow, the lice must feed frequently. In the absence of a human host, they will die within a day. However, head lice can remain in your pillow for up to 12 hours. Unlike other kinds of lice, head lice cannot jump or fly.
In addition to humans, pets cannot contract head lice. Because they depend on human blood, pet exposure to an infected pillow will not result in an infection. While pets may transfer lice eggs from one person to another, the likelihood is low. A pet should be kept away from the affected pillow, but it’s not a good idea for pets to carry head lice.
While washing your pillows doesn’t kill head lice, you can use a fluorescent light to help you see any live lice and eggs. In addition to the light, you can use a magnifying glass to inspect the hair for nits. If you find them, you can also use a Lice Master comb to collect them.