Selfies Leading to More Lice

Selfies Leading to More Lice

There is a possibility that in their urge to take selfies with their friends, teenagers’ contact head-to-head may be leading to an increase in lice. Marcy McQuillan, who runs two lice-treatment centers in California called Nitless Noggins, says that there has been a substantial increase in lice among teenagers, and it’s because they are putting their heads together for the photos. McQuillan said, “Head lice are spread through head-to-head contact … Lice don’t jump or fly, so you actually have to touch heads. Every teen I’ve treated, I ask about selfies, and they admit that they are taking them every day.”

Vanessa Mor, supervisor at Lice Control in Oakland, Calif., agreed, telling CNET that there has been an increase in lice among young people where she lives. She said, “That makes a lot of sense. In order to get it, you have to be direct contact — sitting on the same towel, sharing headphones together, or using someone else’s hair curler, sharing hats, sweaters, and scarves.”

But Dr. Nick Celano, a resident at the Los Angeles + USC Medical Center, disagreed, commenting, “The way we’re taught is that it takes contact for an extended period of time, and 10 seconds is not what I’d consider an extended period of time. We’re in rooms with patients that have lice, and we don’t really worry about getting it transmitted from one person to the other while in the room.”