We received a call the other day from a mom in Buffalo who was concerned that her daughter was putting herself at risk for getting head lice from"selfies" or self portraits, often done with a friend or 2 in the photo, taken with a cell phone camera. Should she discourage her teenage daughter and her friends from engaging in this popular past-time as has been suggested in some recent press on the subject?
Basically, head lice are transmitted via head to head contact. The amount of time that heads are together for a "selfie" is fairly short so the answer is that the possibility exists but it is not a likelihood. Lice are more likely to be transferred when children are in physical contact for prolonged periods of time. Playing a video game or watching tv side by side on a sofa, wrestling or doing gymnastics, or sharing a bed at a sleepover are far more likely ways of passing on head lice than standing next to a friend for the 10 seconds it takes for a "selfie". If you are in the Buffalo area and have any questions on this subject or others, give LiceDoctors a call at 716-261-9560 or visit our Lice Education page.