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Selfies and Head Lice

selfie and lice

Updated on October 29, 2019

Is the trend of taking “selfies” especially among teenagers fueling an increase in the incidence of head lice? There are arguments to be made on both sides of this issue. We see that the incidence of head lice is rising and, certainly, that we are taking more “selfies” than ever before.  But does that mean that “selfies” are behind the rise in the incidence of head lice?

One Wisconsin pediatrician, Dr. Sharon Rink, said on a local tv show in support of a link between “selfies” and lice that, “People are doing selfies like every day, as opposed to going to photo booths years and years ago. So you’re probably having much more contact with other people’s heads”

The National Pediculosis Association, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts reports that there is no data to support that link. Some say that lice removal companies are raising a false alarm.

We fall somewhere in the middle of these positions. We do not attribute the rise that we see in lice infestations in any large part to the phenomenon of “selfies”.  The blame for that goes largely to the increasing resistance of head lice to chemical treatments (think “super lice”). Another factor may be the loosening of school lice policies which now are trending toward allowing students with live lice to remain in school until the end of the day and to dropping “no nit” policies. 

At LiceDoctors, we have certainly seen a rise in the incidence of lice, including among teenagers, and “selfies” likely play a small part in that increase.  When people place their heads together for a photo, the lice have the opportunity to crawl from head to head. The heads are together for a very short time for a “selfie” so we do not believe that this is a major factor behind the rise in incidence.

One thing seems certain, head lice have been around for many thousands of years and show no signs of going away! If you find yourself with a lice infestation, give LiceDoctors a call at 800-224-2537 and we can help you today!

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