17 Mar Can You Get Head Lice from Staying at a Hotel?
Nearly 40 percent of Americans are planning to travel during spring break, up from the 29 percent that said they would be traveling in 2021. Many of these people will be staying at hotels or Airbnbs. But with staffing shortages and a pandemic, you might be wondering how clean these spaces really are, particularly when it comes to head lice.
In this post, we’re going to answer the question of whether or not you can get head lice from staying in a hotel. And while we can’t say that all hotels are as clean as they should be, you’ll be happy to hear that your risk of catching lice from a hotel is low.
The Risk of Getting Lice from a Hotel is Low
Many families worry about bringing home lice during spring break, but it’s not something to dwell over. It’s very unlikely that you can get head lice from sleeping in a hotel bed. Lice do not like to live off a human host. They need to be close to the scalp for the warm temperature and food source (blood). Therefore, they can only survive off the head for a day or two at most.
If the previous guests had lice and one fell off their head and onto the bed, there is a small chance that you could get lice from sleeping on the same bed. But chances are, the louse would already be dead by the time you checked in. And, you must consider that hotel rooms are cleaned in between guests, further reducing your chances for catching lice.
Can Head Lice Live on Pillows?
Again, because hotels change all sheets and pillowcases in between guests, your chances of getting lice from a pillow are minute. Plus, hotel staff wash all linens in hot water temperatures that are 40-50 degrees hotter than a residential machine, so the lice will die.
People sometimes get head lice confused with bed bugs, which are highly transmissible in a hotel room. Bed bugs like to hitch rides in luggage, purses, backpacks, etc. Plus, they can survive up to several months without a blood meal. But lice are different. Most die off within 24 hours without a host.
What if I Find Head Lice in My Hotel Room?
If you believe that you’ve found a louse in your hotel room, this means that someone has an active infestation. It could be from the previous guests, especially if the hotel turned the room over quickly, or it could be from someone in your family.
What you’ll want to do is check everyone using a flashlight (the one on your phone is fine) and a comb. Lice are dark in color and the size of a poppyseed. Nits (eggs) are about ¼ inch from the scalp and white or yellowish-brown.
If you find signs of head lice, you’ll want to start treatment as soon as possible. You only need to apply treatment to those in your family who have head lice. Those who don’t should be closely monitored. You can also order a head lice repellent spray to prevent head lice from spreading to others in your group.
My Hair Helpers has a full selection of head lice removal and prevention products. You can order our products on Amazon, and if you’re visiting Southern California, you can schedule an appointment at one of our salons. Don’t let lice ruin your spring break!