Selfies Spread LICE among Teens, Expert Says

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By Athena Yenko | February 26, 2014 3:34 PM EST

Aussie teens might consider an observation made by Marcy McQuillan, the owner of a California-based center treating lice.

According to Ms McQuillan, she had observed a disturbing 50 per cent increase of lice infection among teenagers since 2012. She concludes that the alarming increase was due to teenagers being addicted to taking selfies together with their heads too close.

"I've seen a huge increase of lice in teens this year. Typically, it's younger children I treat, because they're at higher risk for head-to-head contact. But now, teens are sticking their heads together every day to take cell phone pics," Ms McQuillan told SFist.

She compared teens' addiction to selfies to how teens are addicted to marijuana as shown in one of the episodes of a TV series.

"Every teen I've treated, I ask about selfies, and they admit that they are taking them every day...I think parents need to be aware, and teenagers need to be aware too. Selfies are fun, but the consequences are real."

However, Richard Pollack, an instructor at Harvard offered an opposing opinion. He told BuzzFeed that Ms McQuillan's claim "doesn't make any sense from a scientific standpoint."

Mr Pollack explained that it is prolonged head-to-head contact that will make it possible for lice to transfer from one head to another; prolonged head-to-head contact like while listening to music and sharing ear phones, while reading a book while lying in the grass or sleeping next to each other.

For those who are now concern whether they have lice, The Department of Health Victoria offered steps on how to find head lice. Head lice do not cause an itch sometimes so a thorough looking should be made.

1.       Comb any type of hair conditioner on to dry, brushed (detangled) hair. This stuns the lice and makes it difficult for them to grip the hair or crawl around.

2.       Now comb sections of the hair with a fine tooth, head lice comb.

3.       Wipe the conditioner from the comb onto a paper towel or tissue.

4.       Look on the tissue and on the comb for lice and eggs.

5.       Repeat the combing for every part of the head at least four or five times

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