Louse is a common name everyone either is familiar with or at least heard of it. It is an annoying creature causing discomfort, itchiness, and sometimes infection due to excess itching on hair. The person infested with lice knows how tiring and annoying it is to handle all these discomforts. It mostly infests people with circular hair-shaft. And mainly Asian people have the most round cross-section or hair shafts whereas African or black people possess oval hair shafts. The single difference in their hair cross-section leads to a very important question which is even called a myth. And that is why black people do not get lice.

No matter who gets infested with these bugs, it is important to treat them while they are in control. Getting in contact with the infested person or using their comb, hat, or laying on their pillows or mattress can lead a person to get lice. If someone starts treatment, they need to take care of their accessories and usable things such as pillows, mattresses, etc. For that, you should know whether lice can live on pillows or sheets, or mattresses and for how long. That way, you can start cleaning them on a routine basis.

Are Lice dangerous?

No, Lice are neither dangerous nor hazardous to health. It is one type of bug that lives off of a little amount of blood from our scalp and stays across our hair and on the scalp. They are not harmful at all but the discomfort it gives is immeasurable. You would feel itchiness as the prime symptom. Due to the blood-sucking, our skin irritates and itchiness arises. The feeling of them crawling or walking across our heads is annoying. 

When the habitation remains too long, you will start to itch all over your head and even neck, dandruff will develop, and excessive itching leads to infection sometimes. Bacterial infection will form and that is the worst-case scenario. It’s not like they are life-threatening or cause diseases but it is not something one should let form on their head.

How Lice are infested?

Most people get Lice due to contact with another third party who has lice. Head-to-head contact is the prime reason. However, Lice tend to jump when needed and you can get them even if you sit beside them for a long time or stay with them. Mostly children and teens are the main victims of lice infestation. They get them from others while being in school, playground, daycare, etc. 

One can get lice from their deskmate, someone they sleep with or stay with, or get in contact with most. For example, if your sister has lice and both of you sleep together, it is inevitable that you also have lice. If all people of the same household has lice on their head, it is not surprising at all.

However, one may ask if people get lice from each other or a third party then who was the first one with lice or how did even lice infest their head? Good question! It happens due to not taking care of your hair or scalp. How? Let’s see

  • Tying wet hair causes your hair to develop an odor and fusty. If one does that almost all the time, their hair will get dirty and lice will infest on their own. Though at first, it is not something serious, they can get huge in number if that person still doesn’t care about their hair and let it be.
  • Excessive dirt and dandruff are other reasons why lice get on their own. Lice need warm places to lay eggs and hatch them. If your scalp is full of dirt or dandruff, these bugs will find places to hide and hatch their eggs.

Can head lice live on pillows and sheets?

Yes, head lice can live on pillows and sheets but it is only for a few days. If they don’t get themselves attached to a human host before that, they will die.

Lice cannot live without the help of a host as they are parasites. Parasites live on the nutrition from the host body and lice live off of human blood. Though animals also get infested by them they are not the same kind. These things can live quite well for a few days even without a host which is a dreadful thing.

Because even if you get rid of them from your head, they might still be living well on your clothes, hat, combs, pillows, sheets, mattresses, and everywhere. And the slightest contact can get you infested with them again. Annoying, isn’t it?

How long do lice live on mattresses?

Since lice can live on non-living things like pillows, mattresses, and sheets, one should clean or take care of them so as to not get infested again. But for how long? How long one should be cautious to remain infest-free? 

Lice can live a couple of days without a human host. It is safe to assume about two weeks are enough for a louse to die and for you to become tension free. While using them, make sure it is two weeks long after. But if you clean them accordingly, they will die immediately and you won’t have to wait longer.

How to eliminate lice from your things?

Lice cannot withstand excessive heat. If you want to get rid of them from your pillows, sheets, mattress, and clothes, then wash them at the highest temperature you can. It should be more than the boiling point.

The comb you use will also need washing. Soak them in a bowl of boiled water and leave it for 5-8 minutes. Those parasites will die immediately.

If there is something you cannot wash or clean, just seal them for 2 weeks and don’t use it. Without a host, those lice on that thing will die on their own. Or you can say malnutrition will be their cause of death 😀


Being a healthcare instructor, Elthea's experience and prevision have made an important role that she shared with us and you as well.

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