Q:

How long can head lice live without a host?

A:

Quick Answer

Adult head lice can live for approximately 24 hours away from a host, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Nymphs, or young head lice, can live for only several hours away from a host. Lice eggs are less dependent on a host, and they can live for up to one week without a host.

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How long can head lice live without a host?
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Full Answer

Certain conditions affect the length of time that lice eggs can survive without a host. For example, lice eggs cannot hatch in temperatures lower than that of the average body temperature, which is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. However, adult lice and nymphs are not affect by temperature changes.

Lice eggs take between eight to nine days to hatch. Once born, it takes about nine to 12 days for a nymph to mature and become an adult lice. Without treatment or removal from an infected area, the total lifespan of adult lice is 30 days. Adult female lice can lay up to six eggs per day.

Lice are a kind of parasitic insect that rely on consuming small amounts of blood absorbed through the scalp several times a day to survive. Lice are most commonly found at the base of the scalp. Lice spread through either direct contact with an infected individual, usually as head-to-head contact, or by coming into contact with items previously exposed to lice, such as hats, helmets and wigs.

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Related Questions

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    What is the best method for the prevention of head lice?

    A:

    The best way to prevent head lice is to avoid contact with hair, clothing items, combs, and soft furniture or toys that may be infected with lice, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Direct contact with infested hair is the most common way the parasite spreads.

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    How do you get rid of lice eggs?

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    To remove lice eggs or nits, comb the hair with a lice and nit comb. Vegetable oil or conditioner can be used to promote easy removal of lice and their eggs. Treating the hair for nits may require several hours if the hair is long or the infestation is severe.

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    How can you identify lice in hair?

    A:

    To identify head lice, spend five to 15 minutes carefully combing through hair with a fine-toothed comb. Look for lice as the comb is drawn through the hair. Head lice look like tiny grey and brown insects and are about the size of a sesame seed.

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    How does the mayonnaise lice treatment work?

    A:

    The use of mayonnaise as an alternative to prescription head lice treatment is often tried when conventional treatment does not work, reports the Minnesota Department of Health. It is possible to suffocate head lice by applying mayonnaise to the hair and scalp; however, there is no evidence of this treatment's effectiveness.

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