No, you cannot kill head lice using a sauna. To kill head lice they must be exposed to a consistent temperature of 130°F or higher. It is not safe to raise the temperature of your skin to this temperature. Using a sauna to kill head lice is neither safe nor effective.
Can You Use a Sauna to Kill Lice & Nits?
Do not use a sauna to try to kill head lice. It is not a safe or effective method. Furthermore, if it is a shared sauna you risk passing the infection on to another person.
The temperature required to kill a head lice infection is 130°F. You should never try and raise your skin temperature to 130 °F – it’s just not safe.
While infrared saunas operate at a temperature between 110-130°F – you will not be raising your temperature to the level required to kill the lice. It is just not safe!
What Are Head Lice?
Head lice are small parasitic insects that feed on human blood. They measure just 3mm in size and can be difficult to spot because they are so small.
Lice spread from head to head contact and are most commonly found in young children. They are not a sign of dirty hair – and can live in both clean and dirty hair.
The main symptom caused by head lice is an itchy feeling on the scalp. They can also make you feel like something is moving in your hair.
What Do They Look Like?
Head lice are tiny six-legged insects that nest in human hair. They are roughly the same size as a sesame seed and their small size makes them difficult to see.
Despite their small size, they can be seen by the human eye if you look carefully. They are white, brown, or dark gray and usually nest in the hair on the back of the head or behind the ears.
Their eggs, called nits, are oval-shaped and sit on the hair nest to the scalp. The nit eggs can be yellow, brown, or white.
Can An Infrared Sauna Kill Head Lice?
No, do not use an infrared sauna to try to kill head lice. The temperatures required to kill the head lice would result in injury or burning of your skin.
Don’t use an infrared sauna or any other type of sauna to try and kill head lice. Instead, seek professional medical advice on how to deal with the little critters.
How Does Sauna Kill Lice & Nits?
A sauna does not kill head lice. Although heat treatment will kill the parasite, the level of heat required cannot be safely sustained by a human.
Even if you crank up the heat in the sauna to 130°F, your body will regulate the temperature of your scalp. Your natural skin cooling mechanism, sweating, will kick in to reduce and stabilize your scalp temperature.
And, if you did raise your temperature to 130°F, the lice will be the least of your concerns. You run the risk of serious injury or sickness.
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What Temperature Kills Lice?
To kill head lice they must be exposed to a temperature of 130°F or greater. This temperature will kill the lice and the nits. For our European cousins, 130°F is equal to 55° Celsius.
Should Pets Be Treated For Head Lice?
No, pets cannot get head lice so there is no need for them to be treated. Head lice only live on human heads, and feed on human blood.
Other Popular Lice Remedies – Do They Work?
First up, if you or someone you know has hair lice you should seek the professional advice of a doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider. That said, let’s take a look at some of the alternative treatments proving popular online.
Not sure it works, but it sounds like a lot of fun. Just blast the little devils with hot air. While you may not generate enough heat to kill the lice you might just blast a few of them around the room for good measure.
Exposing lice to hot water is a good way to sterilize your clothes and bedclothes. Washing in hot water at a temperature of 130°F or higher for 5 minutes will kill the lice and their eggs.
While a shower might feel great and leave you feeling cleansed and refreshed, it’s not going to resolve your lice infection. The water is just not hot enough to kill the lice. Try adding some anti-lice shampoo for better results.
Apple Cider Vinegar
While anecdotal evidence suggests apple cider vinegar is an effective treatment for head lice the results are not good. In fact, apple cider vinegar is one of the least effective home remedies.
Liquid Paraffin & Gasoline
The magical healing effects of liquid paraffin and even gasoline crop up regularly on online discussion groups. Are they great nit remedies? No, not only do they not work, they are a pretty unpleasant experience. These are definitely best avoided.
Seriously, does anyone really think rubbing onions in your hair is going to clear up a head lice infestation? Not only will you look silly, but you’ll also be stinking of onions and could lose some friends. Leave the onions in the kitchen.
Butter, Mayonnaise, Olive Oil, & Vaseline
The jury is out on this one. Anecdotal evidence suggests you can smother the insects by smearing them in butter, mayonnaise, olive oil, or Vaseline and depriving them of oxygen.
The CDC state there is no clear scientific evidence to determine if suffocation of head lice with home remedies is an effective form of treatment. You can add this one to the ‘maybe’ column.
What Should I Do?
If you spot head lice you should avoid the sauna and begin treating right away. The best treatment methods are wet combing and the application of medicated sprays and lotions. For further information you should speak to a healthcare professional.