The holidays are here! Don’t let all that mingling lead to tingling on your scalp! Yes, lice often visit when friends and family members do. After two years of distancing, holiday season 2021 is poised to be the big homecoming for lice. Take a look at what your family needs to know to enjoy a partridge in a pear tree instead of parasites in the hair of thee.
Lice Spread and the Holidays: Here’s What You Need to Know
Lice have moves that would make the cast of “The Nutcracker” jealous when it comes to leaping from person to person. Yes, these opportunistic wingless parasites will use every hug from grandma, kiss on the cheek from an aunt or selfie with the gang to latch on.
Humans are particularly vulnerable to lice this holiday season for one very specific reason. We’ve forgotten about them! Two years of social distancing have made lice very low-priority pests. Keeping six feet of space, wearing masks, avoiding direct bodily contact and being vigilant about using hot water and soap have all taken the lice problem down a level. In fact, a study out of Buenos Aires revealed that the prevalence of lice infestations dropped from nearly 70% to just over 33% percent during lockdowns.
The conditions are right for holiday season 2021 to be the rise of the lice. People are becoming more relaxed about visiting with loved ones. In fact, many will be doing so for the first time since the start of the pandemic this December. Everyone is thinking about being reunited. Nobody is thinking about lice.
The reality is that people are so preoccupied with checking for coughs, sore throat, fever and other signs of COVID-19 before visiting their loved ones that they may be overlooking something subtle like an itchy scalp. As a result, they carry a lice infestation right along with all of the holiday cheer they’re bringing to a big, crowded family gathering.
A person who walks into a family gathering with a lice infestation is almost guaranteed to pass the infection on to other family members. This is a holiday gift that keeps on giving because it just takes on infestation at a family gathering to infect your entire household. Of course, that’s if you’re lucky. If lice aren’t treated properly, your family members will be the ones to drag lice to school, preschool, daycare, work and anywhere else you show up in January.
How Lice Infestations Happen
You know how Santa Claus makes a list? Lice also has a list. It’s a list of how they choose their victims. Lice actually choose their victims based on smell and blood type. The big holiday lice explosion of 2021 didn’t start at Christmas. The case your family potentially caught during your merry celebrations actually started in November. That’s when the first wave of Thanksgiving celebrators contracted lice. A few got it while traveling on airplanes, trains or buses during the bustling Thanksgiving travel weekend. Most got it while passing the pumpkin pie to Aunt Pearl.
Unfortunately, nobody had lice on the mind during Thanksgiving this year. Even people who were itchy simply didn’t have lice on their radars. As a result, that itching may have been dismissed as some dry skin from the colder weather. Most parents weren’t thinking much of it when their kids were having scratch-a-thons after returning home from a Turkey Day spent with loved ones. Again, most parents simply blamed the itchiness on changes in weather.
Advice From Lice Lifters: What the Country’s Lice Pros Want You to Know About Lice During the 2021 Holiday Season
At Lice Lifters, we help our customers to make lice history all year long. We always anticipate a spike in lice infestations after the holidays due to all of the visiting and traveling that take place during this fun time of year. Many of our clients are convinced that they must have become infested from hotel beds, airplane seats or seats at the movie theater. These are all potential source points. However, the one message we stress over and over again is that it’s far more likely for you to get lice from contact with another person than from picking it up in a second-hand way. Using someone’s brush or hat can also increase your chances of contracting lice. However, head-to-head transmission causes 90% of lice cases.
Let’s talk about the science of why personal contact is the most common way to get lice. First, a louse cannot survive off of a head for longer than two days. In fact, lice hate to be away from a human head if they can help it. This is precisely why they are so relentless about choosing hosts.
It’s also important to know that lice eggs cannot hatch without the warm, body-temperature comfort of a human head. These are wingless parasites that cannot jump or fly. While we often talk about lice “leaping” or “jumping” from person to person, the truth is that lice can do neither. They can only crawl to their victims.
What to Do If You Get Lice for the Holidays
While those ugly slippers gifted to you by grandma can be returned to the store, the case of lice you got from little Bobby cannot be. Let’s talk about your post-holiday plan for lice eradication. First, let’s talk about the good news. Having lice isn’t a serious medical condition. However, this nuisance can lead to some health problems if you don’t take it seriously right away.
The big danger with untreated lice is a potential for infection if you scratch to relive the itching. This can create some nasty sores pretty quickly. Any bacteria caught under your fingernails can get into the open wound to create a potentially dangerous infection.
The Common Mistake Most Families Make When Lice Hits the Home
Panic sets in once you look around at a household full of people scratching their scalps. It’s natural to want to bolt to the nearest drugstore to purchase whatever over-the-counter lice medication is for sale. It sounds smart enough.
The problem is that lice have outsmarted us on this front. The truth about over-the-counter lice products is that they contain pesticides. While that’s problematic in its own way, there’s another reason why you should avoid these drugstore fixes. Lice have actually grown resistant to the pesticides used in over-the-counter lice treatments.
Some people decide to turn to the wisdom of the ages to look for holistic, natural lice treatments. They are given lists of oils and ointments that will “suffocate” lice. While the sentiment is appreciated, the truth is that all of the popular oils and ointments that people recommend online don’t actually do anything to lice. While you may smell amazing after dousing your head in earthy, fragrant oils, lice are simply biding their time until you wash your head off.
Lice can hold their breath for up to eight hours. What’s more, they are able to clear their breathing mechanisms as soon as the oils on your scalp reach core body temperature. You now have a very fresh-smelling lice infestation.
Unfortunately, the itching will persist. This is usually the point where we see a new customer at Lice Lifters. If you’re researching how to get rid of lice because you caught an infestation over the holidays, our first piece of advice is to return any drugstore products you’ve purchased to try to treat lice at home. It simply doesn’t work. What’s more, it will actually cause you to walk around infecting other people longer than is necessary.
Handling a Lice Emergency: Here’s the Game Plan
Let’s talk about what to do to reduce your odds of getting lice during both the holiday season and the rest of the year! In fact, these tips should be taught to all kids. Take a look:
- Limit head-to-head contact during friend or cousin sleepovers. Separate beds are preferred!
- When socializing in a crowd, long hair should be tied back into ponytails, buns, and braids to make it more difficult for lice to invade.
- Never share hats, coats, scarves, earmuffs or gloves.
There’s also one big preventative measure that will give you the edge over sneaky, unrelenting lice. Use Lice Lifters Mint Detangler Spray as a lice deterrent before gathering with friends or family during the holidays! Our Mint Deterrent Shampoo and Conditioner available from Amazon, Walmart and your nearest Lice Lifters Treatment Center can also keep your head armed against lice! Lice Lifters Treatment Centers are here to help you keep the season magical. If lice do decide to deck the halls of your scalp this season, Lice Lifters can help you keep lice back in the old year with One Quick Treatment. Done!!