If you’re wondering how long head lice last, you’ve come to the right place. These wingless insects live their entire lives on human scalps, feeding exclusively on human blood. Humans are the only known hosts of head lice. However, close relatives of this ailment may live on chimpanzees.
The average life span of head lice is about 36 hours, making it crucial to treat your child quickly. The best way to treat head lice is to wash your child’s clothing with hot water and dry it on high heat. After washing, it is important to avoid wearing the clothing for at least two weeks to kill off any remaining lice and eggs. If your child continues to have head lice, consider using a different OTC or prescription treatment, or consulting a doctor. For prevention, you can also teach your child to avoid participating in activities that can cause the spread of head lice.
While head lice don’t live very long without a human host, they do need blood several times a day in order to reproduce. After mating, a female head louse will lay eggs and begin to reproduce. Once an adult louse hatches, it will only live for two days off its host before it dies from lack of food and optimal temperature. While there are no visible symptoms, lice can transfer easily from one person to another through close personal contact. Because head lice cannot fly or jump, they are spread only through head-to-head contact. People should also avoid laying on carpets or using recently used pillows.
An infestation of head lice begins with a single louse, and can last for several weeks or even months. Adult lice will be visible in about three to five days after the first contact with the louse. If you find the eggs early, you can treat the infestation more quickly.