What Do Lice Prevention and COVID-19 Safety Measures Have in Common? Let’s Find Out!

As the world tries to grapple with the rapidly spreading, unpredictable, and difficult to understand novel coronavirus outbreak, it’s crucial that we each play our part in upholding the highest safety measures and work toward flattening the curve. Although the buzz seems to have died down as we’re months into the outbreak, and entire regions like NYC and towns around it are among the worst hit, it’s important to take heed. It’s almost unreal how similar the precautionary measures to curb the spread of the virus are to another type of outbreak: lice. As experts in the industry, with lice salons in Lawrence, NY, and several other locations across New York, New Jersey and Florida, we’ve implemented the strictest hygiene and safety standards when it comes to our clients’ safety and protection. Many of these measures tend to overlap with those recommended by the CDC and WHO and are being put in place across several businesses and public spaces, as well as individuals, in adjusting to this new normal. Wondering what these precautionary measures are? Here they are:

Maintaining types of social distance

There are certain parallels between the spread of the virus and lice infestations because both of them require being in the vicinity of a carrier. Both are parasitic in nature, which means they require a human host to survive. Although the way they transmit vary significantly, social distancing is an important factor in preventing infection and infestation of both. To understand why let’s break down how they spread Coronavirus spreads via vapors of a carrier or infected individuals, such as through coughs, sneezes, and laughs. These vapors carry the virus, affecting those around them, and it’s not always necessary for the carrier to show symptoms. This is primarily why social distancing from those in high-risk situations and environments, those who are ill and those who are immunocompromised or vulnerable. The CDC recommends maintaining a distance of about 6 ft. from people while out in public, to minimize risk and exposure, and wearing a mask to protect yourself and those around you from inhaling bacteria and viruses in the vapors. For lice, however, things are a little different. Lice are also transferred from human to human contact, primarily of the head. Most of us don’t realize how all the selfies, hugs, cuddles, and general contact with friends and even strangers that we take for granted can lead to a transfer of headlice. People take selfies keeping heads distant to prevent the transfer of lice.While it’s unlikely that lice will fly from one head to another, they can travel very easily when there is a reduced distance between individuals. For long-term haircare and lice prevention, our lice technicians in Lawrence, NY, and across our other centers recommend that people avoid sharing close personal space with others. This means minimize selfie sessions, long-hugs, and snuggles, especially when someone you know has lice or may have an infestation. It’s harder to teach this to children who don’t quite understand the concept of social distancing and staying away from their friends. School-aged kids are the most vulnerable, which is why regular lice checks and sessions are necessary.

Regularly disinfecting surfaces and clothing

For those who’ve been exposed or know they’ve been in contact with someone who is a carrier, it’s important to dispose of clothing and other items that could be hosting the virus. Seeing as how the virus can survive for a few hours or even days on different materials, it’s hard to dismiss this safety measure under the blanket of paranoia. It’s important that you immediately wash and change clothes that you’ve worn while outside and rinse them using hot water whenever you do your laundry. Separate them from the rest of your garments and store them for a couple of days to kill off any remnants of the virus, or lice eggs and nits that may have made their way there. Both, the coronavirus and lice can survive on different surfaces for some time without a host, which is why it’s essential that you don’t take any chances. In addition to washing clothes and personal use garments, you also need to begin disinfecting surfaces on the regular. At all our lice centers, including the treatment center at Lawrence, we use high-quality disinfectants between appointments, to mitigate risks of any type of infection or infestation. The measures have been upped more so since the outbreak of the virus. You can invest in different disinfectants to keep surfaces inside and outside your homes and cars, as well as other belongings safe from lurking lice or viruses. Though both will eventually die off on their own, it’s too great a risk to wait out till it’s safe. Instead, the chances of this up a re-infestation, as lice lurk through seats, carpets, clothing, bedsheets and pillowcases, even stuffed toys, waiting for some human contact. In addition to sanitizing and disinfecting all the surfaces of our salons, we also provide clients with disinfecting and cleaning services for their homes. You can get in touch with us to clean and inspect your home for lice and nits, making sure there are no eggs or bugs left behind. If you’re not entirely comfortable with having us over, you can also invest in our at-home lice kits that contain leather, carpet, and upholstery cleaners and lice repellents. These products are designed to gently rid your home of any lice or nits and can be used in tandem with your regular disinfectants. A boy with lice infestation sanitizes and disinfects his hands.

Avoiding sharing personal use items

Not only are we rethinking every handshake and every hug, but we’re also more cautious about borrowing and lending things to friends and family. You never quite know if someone is a carrier, or ill, or what health hazard they pose. Unfortunately, skepticism is your greatest protector during these trying times, and it’s important to pause and redraw your boundaries. Even with the people, you’re utterly comfortable with or can’t refuse. Sharing personal items such as towels, clothing, hairbrushes, and tools is risky in case of transfer of any germs, lice, nits, and now, the coronavirus. We’ve always discouraged our clients from sharing things that they frequently use with those around them, and reusing them without proper sterilization and disinfecting measures. While this is not to say that sharing these items puts your health at risk, it definitely is a hygiene no-no. We recommend teaching your children to do the same, in not exchanging anything, be it hats, caps, clothing, combs and brushes, hair accessories, and now utensils, etc. and thoroughly cleansing them as guided in this blog. It’s especially important to teach your kids about the dangers of doing so, given that many states, including New York, are considering reopening schools in the fall. Fall is typically the peak for lice infestations, and school children bear the brunt of it. With COVD-19 cases still on the rise, it’s crucial that we, as parents and guardians, instill essential habits and practices to curb the spread of any unwanted diseases and infestations. It’s a difficult lesson to teach, especially since we spend years teaching our kids that sharing is caring, but this time around, it’s about more than an itchy scalp. We have a quick fix for that, but not everything is that easy to solve.

Sanitizing after being in public

Soap, water, and hand sanitizer are going to be your best friend for the next few months as well. Each of our team members follows strict personal hygiene measures too, including regularly washing their hands through the day, using adequate protection, and carrying sanitizer on house-visits for lice removal in Lawrence, NY. These measures help ensure that it’s not just our team members that are safe, but also our clients. As part of our work as a lice removal service, we implemented certain standards of hygiene that we continue to uphold—and in fact, increase. If you’re visiting the salon for an appointment, you will be provided with hand sanitizer to keep your hands clean from any bacteria or germs you may have come in contact with on your way over. It’s essential that you carry some on your own, too, offering it to those who visit your home as well. A person uses hand sanitizer on the way to their lice removal appointment. Whether you’re running errands or going to work, keep your sanitizer close and make it a habit to use it at regular intervals. The reason you need sanitizer is to kill the virus that may have transferred to your hands from touching other surfaces such as door handles, desks, light switches, elevator buttons, subway seats, or practically anything that’s accessible to people. COVID-19 is an unpredictable, rapidly mutating virus. Just when we think we’ve begun to understand it, something else emerges. It’s crucial that you stick to your sanitization and hygiene habits, and practice more caution when you’re going about your chores and seeking other services like lice removal.

Monitoring social interactions closely

It can be hard to point out where the start of an outbreak occurs. This applies to lice as well as the coronavirus. As a result of this, it’s important that you monitor and regulate the type of social interactions that you have. Right now, although any non-essential travel is discouraged, and if somebody you know has been on the move, it’s important that they self-isolate. They could be carriers of the virus and risk infecting those around them, and if you’re interacting with them, you’re also at risk. Coincidentally, even though types of head lice are native to North America, often infestations break out in schools following summer and winter breaks when a lot of people have been traveling. Now more than ever, we need to be cautious of who we’re interacting with, when and in what capacity. Lice infestations go unnoticed and undetected till they spread, and the itching begins. The incubation period is when things are calmer, and then all hell breaks loose as dozens of kids are itching their heads, carrying lice home to their families and homes. Since schools have been out for a few months now and will be for another few, and shelter-in-place is still continuing in parts of the US, social interactions have been limited as it is. However, if you’ve been in contact or met someone who’s traveled to Asia or Europe recently, you should be extra cautious. Children sitting and playing close to each other, at risk of lice infestation. Whenever you’re meeting somebody, who’s just traveled, even post-COVID, be sure to limit your physical proximity and keep in mind the safety tips and advice listed above. We have several lice infestation prevention tips and advice on our blog, as well as choosing the right lice treatment clinic if you’re in Lawrence, Washington Port, Merrick, or Glen Cove, NY.

Regular monitoring and protective measures are key

It’s important that you keep an eye out on any symptoms after potential exposure or as you begin to step out once more. A lot of us wait till it’s too late to take decisive action—which can be dangerous in the case of the coronavirus. While lice don’t pose a health risk, contrary to popular misconceptions, the virus does. Whenever you return to work, schools, or resume your regular routine—safely—make sure that you practice greater observation. An important lesson that COVID-19 has taught us is that prevention is better than cure, and it’s important that you seek professional advice and care in case of an issue. If your child complains of an itchy head, don’t resort to DIY home treatments and risk ruining their hair. Instead, reach out to us for inspections and maintenance through our professional lice removal process. If you can’t visit the salon, call us for a house visit, and we’ll come right over with our team. If you’re not quite ready to step out or have people over, you can also place an order for our at-home lice treatment kits that come with all our products, and same-day free delivery. Lice Troopers’ home lice removal kit ready for free delivery. Despite the unusual and pressing circumstances, we want our clients to be prepared and have access to safe and effective products that will not harm their hair, scalp, skin, or leave behind nits and lice. You can also sign up to join our membership, and we’ll schedule regular lice checks every few months. If you experience any symptoms or have recent travel history, it’s important to inform your local lice clinic in Lawrence, NY. Our team is doing the best we can to make things safer for you. Feel free to call us at (516) 693-8711 for any concerns or questions that you may have, or to book an appointment!