The life cycle of a single louse is about one month. If you can kill the adult lice as soon as you find them, you can end your lice problem in less than a month. Your bigger challenge is stopping the lice from spreading to other family members in the house. Here are some ways in which you can prevent the spread of head lice among close family members.
Do Not Share Hair Brushes or Combs
If you and your family all share a single comb or family brush, stop. Any head lice that get caught in the bristles of the brush can be transferred to the next family member that uses it. You can also re-infest your own head when you leave lice on the brush and then brush your hair with that brush again after shampooing with a lice treatment shampoo.
You have two choices here—boil the hair brush, which kills the lice, or throw the brush out and get a new one for each member of the family. As for sharing a comb, be sure to examine the comb carefully before using it. Combs are safer to use because it is easier to see the lice on the comb. To err on the side of caution with combs, boil them too and then only allow those who are lice-free to share the comb (or the person infected with head lice can use the comb and everyone else can use something else to brush/comb their hair).
Bag Pillows and Do Not Share Beds
Pillows that you and the infected family members have been sleeping on should be bagged up and stored out of the house for at least three days. This is usually how long it takes for the lice to die of starvation, and then you can wash the pillows in hot water with bleach. Then the pillows can return to their respective beds. Additionally, if you or your spouse are infected with head lice, avoid sharing a bed where your heads may touch while you are sleeping. The lice may be transferred with extended head-to-head contact this way. Your children should also not share beds or share your bed until the lice have been destroyed.
Do Not Share Hats
Winter is one of the worst times of year to contract head lice. This is because the lice can transfer to winter hats, and then if your family exchanges hats and wears them, the lice may spread. Everyone's hat should be kept out of the family community bucket of outdoor wear and no one should be wearing a hat worn by someone else. The only way around this is to wash all hats in boiling hot water and dry them on high heat every time the hats are worn. This kills any lice that might have transferred to the hats and prevents them from transferring to those who are uninfected.