Health experts: Consider cancelling your haircuts, facials, and pedicures as the coronavirus spreads

  • The CDC is recommending social distancing, which means cancelling big social events and keeping a distance of about six feet between sick people and healthy ones.
  • That means you should consider cancelling non-essential appointments, include haircuts, waxes, and manicures.
  • “It’s not just about you,” one expert told Insider. “This is bigger than that. What’s the worst thing that happens? You don’t get your haircut today, as opposed to the alternative, where you get sick or get others around you sick.”
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Mitchel Rosen, associate professor at the Department of Urban and Global Public Health, has never gotten a facial, but he imagines right now, having someone’s hands touching and massaging your face would be a very, very bad idea.

He says, if you have a haircut, manicure, or facial appointment booked in the coming days or weeks, now is the time to cancel – whether you’re high-risk or not.

“People should restrict non-essential appointments and activities,” Rosen told Insider. “That means things like haircut appointments and nails.”

In an attempt to contain the spread of the coronavirus, public health officials are recommending social distancing, which involves cancelling big gatherings and keeping at least six feet away from others who might be sick. The NBA has cancelled the rest of its season, most schools and colleges have closed, and many workplaces have shifted to telecommuting. Americans’ daily activities in America have slowed, and that means cancelling any appointments you were looking forward to.

“The primary way of cutting down the potential pathway of exposure and transmission is through social distancing,” he said. “Obviously someone doing your hair or nails is right on top of you.”

Coronavirus covid 19 spread healthcare system protective measures chart social distancing

According to Google Trends, the amount of people searching “coronavirus appointment cancel” online has sharply increased, and continues to rise.

It’s hard to know who’s infected and who isn’t. In fact, new research suggests most coronavirus infections have been spread by people who don’t show symptoms.

Still, there are some people who might think this is overkill. Rosen isn’t one of them.

“It’s not just about you,” Rosen says. “This is bigger than that. What’s the worst thing that happens? You don’t get your hair cut today, as opposed to the alternative, where you get sick or get others around you sick.”

Elizabeth Scott, an expert in home and community hygiene and a professor at Simmons University, told Insider that every healthy American likely knows somebody with a risk of severe illness, whether that’s an elderly person or an immunocompromised person, or even someone who already has coronavirus but doesn’t know it due to lack of testing.

“We need young, healthy Americans to make smart decisions and take the appropriate actions to reduce the spread to others who are at greater risk in their families and communities,” she told Insider. “This virus will slip through the weakest links, so we all have to ask ourselves, what are those links in our personal and working lives and what can we do about them.”

Some small businesses are taking precautions, but others aren’t

Three nail salons previously told Business Insider that they haven’t seen a dramatic decline in business. One store invested in face masks, which are not as helpful as people assume they are, and another has staff disinfecting surfaces every hour.

In China, hair stylists have taken on an unorthodox approach, using razors and combs strapped to the end of wooden sticks in order to give customers a long-distance haircut. But other barbershops are refusing customers. One pilot was surprised to discover that his barbershop would not cut his hair because he had been overseas, in Samoa.

“If people aren’t getting haircuts anymore, that’s a bad sign,” economist Tara Sinclair told the New York Times. Economists around the world are nervously watching as industries with no direct connection to the new coronavirus, like barbershops and nail salons, report that business is down.

But with diseases like the new coronavirus, one person’s behaviour can impact many others, as well as the resulting healthcare treatments.

“We don’t know enough about it to know exactly what’s going to happen, so why take the chance?” Rosen said.

Read more:

Coronavirus live updates: More than 127,000 people have been infected and over 4,700 have died. The US has reported 38 deaths. Here’s everything we know.

The coronavirus outbreak has been declared a pandemic – here’s how the world has handled global outbreaks in the past

A Survivor contestant and scarcity expert explains why you’re panic-buying