How long will head lice live in a bed without human contact?

Lice infestation is a common problem that affects 10 million to 12 million people in the United States each year, says the University of Florida. Head lice are parasitic insects that live on human blood and lays eggs on the scalp.

Dependence on Blood

Lice feed exclusively on human blood and cannot survive without a host. If adult lice are separated from the host, they can only survive for about a day. Nits can survive away from the host, but when the nits hatch, the newborn lice need to feed on blood immediately to survive. As a result, lice do not infest bedding or furniture. However, these mediums can be a mode of transport from one host to the other, says the Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia.

Lice Life Cycle

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, an adult louse can survive for about a month on the human scalp. A female lays about 90 eggs --- called nits --- in a lifetime, and they hatch in about a week to 10 days. A newly born louse develops into a mature adult and starts reproducing after 10 days.

Removing Lice from Beds

Vacuum cleaning is useful in the removal of lice and nits from bedding, furniture or soft toys. Putting these items in a dryer on high heat for about half an hour is also effective in killing any lice that might have crawled out of infested hair.

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About the Author

Lakshmy Nair has been a professional writer since 2004 and has worked for companies such as Lionbridge Technologies, Mumbai, India and Rand Worldwide, Mississauga, Canada. She holds an engineering degree from the University of Mumbai, India and a certification in technical communications from George Brown College, Toronto, Canada.