Stop Panicking Parents – Selfies Are Not Spreading Head Lice

shutterstock_148728104No matter how many selfies your kids are posing for with their friends, they are probably not causing them to get infected with head lice. I sort of wish this story that went “viral” according to NBC News yesterday was true, because how awesome would it be to see a worldwide selfie shame epidemic (That wasn’t started by Jezebel) causing teens and parents to panic and put down their Instagram accounts? Hilarity would ensue.

“This is a marketing ploy, pure and simple,” Dr. Richard J. Pollack, who teaches at the Harvard School of Public Health and runs a pest identification business called IdentifyUS, told NBC News. “Wherever these louse salons open a new branch, there always seems to be an epidemic. It’s good for business. “


The story originated on SFist:

A Scotts Valley lice expert claims that selfies, the white-hot teen sensation sweeping the nation in 2010, are causing an uptick in lice infestations among the younger generation. Is your filthy teen at risk?

“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,” explains Marcy McQuillan of Scotts Valley’s Nitless Noggins.


Selfies only the a few seconds to take, and heads would have to be together a lot longer for the little lice friends to crawl from head to head. Plus, teens aren’t really the preferred host for head lice, because they don’t share combs and hair accessories as much as younger kids do.

This is all a shame though. I would sort of like it if this was a real thing. We could start calling the selfies where groups of kids have their heads together “Lice Selfies” and start tagging all the pics we see on social media with the word LICE. I guess we can still do that anyway.

So yeah, selfies do not cause head lice, but they do cause duck face and the widespread epidemic of goofiness on our Facebook accounts.

(Image: Syda Productions/shutterstock)

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  • Valerie

    Maybe this will bring back the golden age of the doo rag. And then little packs of suburban teens can look like 1970′s prison gangs.

  • chickadee

    I don’t expect that a group of people who still don’t always take on board the cause and effect aspect of naked penis+vagina–>baby/STI will immediately rush to avoid group selfies for fear of lice.

    • Bunny Lucia

      I have a friend who is convinced that STIs just happen from having sex.

      He was trying to explain it to me, how he thinks that people don’t wash themselves properly and that’s how they get STIs. I was like “… Oh Honey,”

  • radicalhw

    I wish there were bottles of toxic Duck Face Wash that you could slather all over the afflicted.

  • Bethany Ramos

    COME ON. So ridic. For the record, I had head lice twice in elementary school, so I may be biased. ;) I am the carrier!!

  • Kay_Sue

    I personally find duck face more offensive than head lice….at least head lice isn’t something you purposefully inflict on yourself…..

  • Jason Boyd

    Except that lice are transmitted by hair to hair contact, among other ways. If someone with lice held their head against someone else it is entirely possible and plausible that the lice could be transmitted, and yes all it takes is a second…lice are amazingly quick on a hair strand. Selfies certainly do not cause head lice but they can be a method of transmission.