How can I rid the house of head lice?

Q: My kid just got over head lice. How can I make sure our house is totally clear of lice?

A: Fortunately, head lice can't live off the head, and once separated from their human host, they can't survive for more than 24 hours. So focus on all the areas and things your child's come into contact with in the last day or so. Soak all hairbrushes, combs, and recently worn hair clips or bands in hot water for at least two hours or place them in a plastic bag and throw them in the freezer for 2 hours. Wash your child's bed sheets, blankets, and towels in very hot water, and be sure to throw everything in the dryer on a high-heat setting for at least 30 minutes. If your child sleeps with a stuffed animal, throw it in the dryer for 30 minutes also. For extra protection, experts recommend that you vacuum your child's room and any carpet, chairs, sofa, or car seats she might have had recent contact with. Although fumigating your entire home with an anti-lice pesticide spray may seem tempting, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends avoiding these sprays because they contain harsh chemicals that can be dangerous, especially for anyone with respiratory conditions. --Chelle E. Cohen

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