Portland, OR – August 4, 2020 – Lice Clinics of America – Northwest, part of the Lice Clinics of America (LCA) 200 clinic network, saw increased lice activity of 111 percent in their Portland clinic, and 49 percent in the Salem clinic from April to May of this year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Infestations of lice affecting the entire family have been more severe during the pandemic, likely due to the fact that families have been isolating at home together.
“Early on in the pandemic, with most families coming in, almost all the family members had lice,” says Mark Meyer, co-owner of the Northwest clinics in Portland, Salem, Bend, and Clackamas, OR and Vancouver, WA. “Many families didn’t realize they had lice until school had been out for over a month. Recently, the pattern has changed, so now most families coming in have been treating with ineffective methods for a long time at home and have given up.”
In order to ensure the safety of staff and clients, each Northwest clinic pre-screens clients over the phone to ensure they are not sick before coming in. Each client must wear a face mask and only one client is treated at a time. Treatment areas are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized between clients.
“Each of our five clinics are open again, after Vancouver, WA was closed for six weeks due to the State of Washington requirements,” says Meyer. “Almost everyone who comes in has lice. Prior to COVID only 40 percent of the people coming in had lice.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Head-to-head contact with an already infested person is the most common way to get head lice. Head-to-head contact is common during play at school, at home and elsewhere, such as sports activities, the playground, slumber parties, and camps.” The CDC estimates 6-12 million infestations occur each year in the U.S. among children 3-11 years of age.
Dr. Krista Lauer, Medical Director of LCA, states, “If you have children who are elementary and middle-school ages, it’s important to take some immediate steps to either prevent your children from being infested or to properly treat and kill the lice before they spread to others in your family and social group.”