Updated on July 24, 2020
By Karen Sokoloff
We want you to be safe. Let’s face it; getting head lice is stressful. The fear of getting COVID-19, better known as the Coronavirus, is way more stressful and way more serious. The question is how do you handle head lice in the time of COVID-19?
If you and/or your family have head lice and their eggs (nits), you need to get rid of of them. Lice and nits will not go away on their own. In fact, if you are in quarantine or home bound, due to COVID-19 rules and best practices for most of the day, your chances of lice transmission within the family is extremely high if someone has a case. You need a plan to kill the lice and get rid of the nits before everyone in the house is infected.
Lice Transmission- How Do You Get Head Lice?
How to keep from getting lice starts with understanding how you get lice in the first place. Head lice are almost always transmitted directly from one head to another. Head lice crawl from one head to another head. They are small and wingless so they cannot fly around your house. Their only goals in life are to find a human head on which to feed from your blood and to then lay hundreds of lice eggs before they die in about a month. If you have long hair, you are at a bit more risk of getting lice because the bugs can more easily latch on to the hair than if you have a short haircut.
Lice Transmission- How You Likely Will Not Get Head Lice
While it can happen, it is not likely that you will get lice from a vector such as the bedding, the furniture, or your child’s toys and stuffed animals. Nor is it very likely that you will get lice from sharing combs and brushes.
We realize that this may come as news to many of you, but lice need blood every few hours to survive. They cannot survive off of the head for more than a day. We know that you are looking for ways to kill head lice at home, but heavy cleaning of your home is not your answer. It really is all about treating lice on your head and removing all of the nits. You can clean all day long but if a few tiny nits remain in your hair, they will hatch, and a few weeks later you will be treating a lice infestation all over again. We cannot be more emphatic about this: do not waste your time on heavy cleaning of the house to get rid of head lice. We have been out in the field for over two decades; we know of which we speak!
Hygiene and Head Lice
You may be surprised when you learn that your child has head lice because you maintain excellent hygiene. Don’t only dirty people get lice? If you are thinking about body lice, then, yes, hygiene plays a role in how likely it is to get body lice. Hygiene plays little to no role in your chances of getting head lice except in the opposite way most people think.
First off anybody can get head lice, if they have any hair. People with dyed hair have head lice, African Americans get head lice, people with buzz cuts get head lice...in other word these myths are exactly that...myths. Here is another myth busted: head lice and clean hair go together. The reason that people who wash their hair often are MORE likely to get head is that lice use their claws to climb up your hair to get to the scalp to suck the blood. (Lice bites may appear of your head and neck). If your hair is dirty, it tends to get oily, which makes it harder for lice to crawl up to your scalp.
How to Minimize the Spread of Lice at Home
When you find a case of head lice in the family, how do you prevent the spread of lice in your family? Lice are contagious...very contagious. While you are confined in close quarters, it is important that you try to implement the following suggestions as that is how to keep from getting lice.
- Conduct head lice checks regularly. Check your children for lice twice a week while you are at home, whether or not your child has school. Checking for lice in children often is the best way to prevent the spread.
- Make sure when you check that you use a bright light so that you can find nits that camouflage in the hair. To keep from getting lice yourself, it helps to wear a shower cap while checking.
- Know how to identify lice and nits. Lice are the size of a sesame seed and are brown. They have six legs and no wings. Nits range from the size of a pinhead to the size of a sesame seed. On the hair, they look light-colored, but against a white paper towel they appear brown. They are translucent and are oval with a pointy front from which protrudes an antenna.
- Try to avoid a lot of hugging. We know how difficult that is, particularly if your child is feeling anxious during the Coronavirus era. Remember, though, that lice are spread from close contact with others.
- Look out for excessive head scratching. Since lice bites may cause itching and this is often a telltale sign. Not everyone is allergic to lice bites (actually the saliva from the lice is an irritant), but most people do have mild to extreme itchiness, particularly as the case worsens. Use of both prescription lice medications and over-the-counter lice shampoos, such as Nix or Rid, may contribute to itchiness.
How to Kill Lice at Home
Having ways to kill lice is a challenge even in the best of times. Unfortunately, while we are going through the era of Coronavirus, we all have to change the way we live. That means for many of us not going outside our homes very much or at all. If there are lice clinics in your area, they may be shut down during the COVID-19 crisis and you should not be around a lot of people anyway. You may not even want to go to a drug store to get a lice remedy that likely won’t be effective due to resistance of lice to chemical shampoos.
You may want to try a home remedy. Occasionally they are effective if you comb out all nits. In general, given the advent of “super lice” and the subsequent lack of efficacy of lice medications, if you are going to try to get rid of lice at home on your own, we would rather see you use a natural home remedy for lice treatment. Even prescription lice treatments do not always get rid of lice and nits, have potential side effects, and are not recommended for very young children.
Are There Home Remedies to Kill Lice?
Again, while these natural remedies are not always successful, some people who want to know how to treat lice naturally will use them.
- Mayonnaise - One of the more common natural lice treatments is mayonnaise. The mayo will get into the breathing apparatus of lice and will smother them; literally the lice will die after several hours because they cannot breathe. You then have to comb out the lice and nits. The problem with mayonnaise is that by the time the mayonnaise has a chance to suffocate the lice, it is dry and caked. It smells terrible and is almost impossible to work with. It is very hard to use a nit comb with mayonnaise to get out all of the nits.
- Anise Oil - Although this herbal lice remedy is not usually found in most homes, requiring a trip to a store, a study by Dr. Mehmet Yuksel in 2018 showed that it was a fairly efficacious natural lice remedy. The key to any treatment, though, would be to comb out all nits after using the anise oil. Also some people may be allergic to anise.
- Coconut oil - Coconut Oil, that all-purpose remedy, is also used for head lice removal. Much like the aforementioned natural lice treatments, coconut oil is a natural way to kill head lice at home. It suffocates the lice and then you must comb out the eggs because the coconut oil will not seep through the outer shell to kill the nits. Do not use this product if you have allergies to coconut.
- Tea tree oil - Tea tree oil is used to treat many external ailments and has been used as a natural lice treatment. Keep in mind that some people experience skin irritations from tea tree oil. “Some people may develop a rash or skin irritation on the parts of the body where tea tree oil is used, warns the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.”
Seek Professional In-Home Lice Treatment
LiceDoctors Lice Treatment Service offers a safe and effective lice removal treatment with a 99.9% success rate and no side effects. You may want to try your own ways to kill lice but if those fail, you can trust LiceDoctors to meet your needs during the Coronavirus period.
To keep everyone safe during these times, we are strictly adhering to advice from Dr. Stephen Beck, LiceDoctors Medical Director.
Below are the precautions that we are taking to keep everyone safe:
- Our technicians are trained and will use best practices for the prevention of spread of germs (including Coronavirus).
- We send only one person at a time to your home. This greatly reduces the risk of infection as compared to a crowded lice clinic. Avoid crowded spaces.
- We make sure that technicians and clients have no symptoms before we send anybody to your home.
- There is no other person you will be around except your family and one technician.
- In your home, windows can be opened for ventilation or your family can be checked and treated outside or in a screened-in patio, weather permitting.
LiceDoctors Lice Treatment Service Makes House Calls
LiceDoctors has always made house calls to provide the most convenient and private lice treatment option out there. Living in the COVID-19 era means a “new normal”, and, sadly, that is staying at home and avoiding groups of people.
Medical conditions will arise during this period and if you turn up with head lice, you still need to get it treated. LiceDoctors will take care of your head lice and do so as the safest lice treatment option available.
LiceDoctors is the most experienced and cost-effective lice removal service in the area; technicians have successfully treated over 500,000 client over 20 years. LiceDoctors operates under the guidance of Dr. Beck who is a board-certified, on-staff medical doctor, who is invaluable in his guidance during this period.
LiceDoctors Treatment Service is proud of our long history and solid track record. An expert lice technician will drive to your home today (in an unmarked car) at your convenience she will immediately wash her hands upon entry to your home. She will follow all best sanitary practices so that you will feel confident that you are safe.
We have a full guarantee policy that your technician will eradicate your head lice infestation. It is very important that all family members be checked especially if you are confined to the home. LiceDoctors' technicians use safe, effective, chemical-free, step-by-step treatment protocols guaranteed to work to ensure that when we leave you feel confident and relieved. Technicians are available day and night to help you. Pricing is affordable and we accept HSA’s and FSA’s. Our pricing is affordable and our expertise is invaluable. That's a guarantee! Questions? Call 800-224-2537 for safe lice help today.
Check out the LiceDoctors safe COVID-19 Lice Policy, available because of our mobile lice treatment service.